Going High-Tech: Acne Scar Removal With Fraxel Technology
When I had persistent acne, my dream was just to get rid of it and I thought I’d be happy. Today, I still find myself dreaming of smooth skin, but in a totally different way.
My years of battling with acne have left me with scarred skin that is textured and hyperpigmented. Sometimes, it’s as if I haven’t gotten rid of the acne at all. Or at least, I haven’t gotten rid of the self-consciousness surrounding the issue of my skin.
Of course I’ve tried all the natural remedies I promote on this site, however they are only able to help me out with acne marks, not the actual scars. Deep scarring can only be helped naturally in the form of prevention and for me it’s too late.
Laser treatment seems to be my only option given the results I want to achieve- smooth skin. If you have the kind of acne scars that would prompt you to keep up with new advances in skin care technology, you may have come across Fraxel Laser Treatment.
In the following post, I will describe exactly what Fraxel laser treatment is, how it works, what it can do for your skin, and how much it costs (… still saving).
What is Fraxel Laser Treatment?
Fraxel is a non-ablative (does not remove the skin surface), fractional resurfacing laser that delivers pixalated energy of varying wavelengths to your skin. The Fraxel laser uses hundreds of microscopic pulsers to produce controlled zones of damage to skin, thus tricking it into producing new skin to replace it.
Although I’m not one to promote cosmetic anything, I’m going to justify my interest in Fraxel laser technology based on the fact that over 55 peer-reviewed papers have been written on the subject and there are accessible clinical trial studies I can look into for research. Additionally, you can easily find video demonstrations of the whole procedure.
… In other words, looks pretty legit.
Fraxel vs Carbon Dioxide Lasers
As opposed to the traditional CO2 laser, the fractional technology used in Fraxel laser treatment means that only part of the skin is exposed to the laser, leaving equal amounts of lasered skin to untouched skin. Although all of your skin will be covered in tiny little laser dots, the normal skin between them will allow for a much quicker recovery.
Additionally, Fraxel laser treatment is much less risky than using a CO2 laser and provides better results. The CO2 laser removes the surface of the skin which in addition to hurting a lot more, can also leave the skin highly suceptible to infection.
If you have acne-prone skin (yes, you are still considered ‘acne-prone’ even if you’ve only got the scars to deal with), the inflammation caused by exposed raw skin can and will trigger a breakout.
If you are considering going the laser way to remove your acne scars, I recommend looking into Fraxel laser treatment rather than the CO2 alternative. Of course these aren’t the only two options out there, but according to my research, people with acne scars have traditionally turned to CO2 lasers and as for the Fraxel laser- It’s the best treatment of its kind I’ve come accross.
What to Expect During a Treatment
The Fraxel treatment will generally require you to show up to the appointment an hour early so that a cocktail of certain numbing substances (usually a mixture of betacaine lidocaine tetracaine) can be applied to the face.
It usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour for the face to become fully numb. Some practitioners will do the treatment with just the numbing cream, but others will give you a pain killer such as a 5mg Valium or two tablets of Tylenol.
If the practitioner doing your treatment is a professional and well-trained in doing the treatment, you should have little to no pain during the procedure and medication shouldn’t be necessary.
These are also things to take hints from while you are consulting. If your doctor starts saying that you’ll need to be drugged, that’s a warning sign that he/she is perhaps not using actual Fraxel technology.
After your face has numbed for a full hour and your eye shields are in place, you’re ready to go. The Fraxel laser is hot, so many machines come with a zimmer that may be used simultaneously with the laser, by an assistant, or attached to the actual laser beam.
If you are being treated for acne scars, your doctor will most likely use a 15/50 nm wavelength and will give your skin a total of eight passes, switching between diagonal and straight lines.
The whole procedure should take about 15-20 minutes.
What to Expect After Treatment
Immediately after the treatment, your doctor will put some restorative cream on your face and indicate that you continue applying it twice a day during your time of recovery.
Your down-time will last from 2-4 days. The day following your treatment, your skin will feel tight as the Fraxel laser takes water out of skin cells. In the days following, you should experience a sunburned sensation and peeling.
If you are receiving multiple treatments, the period between treatments will be from 2-4 weeks.
Do Your Research
Many practitioners will say that they are using Fraxel, but since we consumers are hardly ever well-educated about the technology being used, we can easily be fooled by someone using a competing fractional laser.
To ensure that you get the best results and the highest quality treatment, make sure that your doctor is using (in order of oldest to newest) Fraxel Restore, Fraxel Repair, or Fraxel Dual by Solta Medical.
If using actual Fraxel technology, your pain should be minimal during treatment, your skin should feel mildly sunburned after treatment, and the downtime should be only about 2-4 days (a week tops).
Additionally, you should get really good results with just one treatment, depending on how updated your doctor’s laser is. If using the Fraxel Restore, you’ll need from 3-5 treatments to see full results.
This is the only thing keeping me from getting a Fraxel laser treatment. As I’ve mentioned before, getting rid of my scars is on my wish list because unfortunately, my acne was severe enough that it left deep scarring.
For a full-face Fraxel laser resurfacing, you’ll pay around $1000-1400. However, the price will vary depending on the size of the area to be treated, where you go to get the treatment, and the skill and experience of your doctor.
So… I have my work cut out for me.
I would love to hear whether any of you have benefitted from Fraxel laser treatments for acne scar removal. Please comment below with your experience/ questions.
1. “Fractional Laser Treatment for Pigmentation and Texture Improvement.” Fractional Laser Treatment for Pigmentation and Texture Improvement. N.p., n.d. Web. Nov. 2013.
2. “Home | Fraxel® – Fractional Laser Skin Treatments.” Home | Fraxel® – Fractional Laser Skin Treatments. N.p., n.d. Web. Nov. 2013.
3. Alster, Tina, and L. A. R. I. S. S. A. ZAULYANOV‐SCANLON. “Laser scar revision: a review.” Dermatologic surgery 33.2 (2007): 131-140.