Dr. Lorrie Klein answers some common questions regarding Fraxel Laser Treatments.
1. What is Fraxel Laser Treatment (FLT) and what does it do? The Fraxel laser treatment is a revolutionary way to reverse the signs of aging. It is the most powerful and effective no-down-time anti-aging laser ever developed. This non-surgical procedure smoothes wrinkles and erases scars brown spots, and stimulates the production of smoother, healthier looking skin with minimal to no down time. Skin tone, color and elasticity also improve. Any area of the body can be treated: face, chest, neck, hands and arms, even legs! Best of all, results can be seen immediately!
2. How is it different than other anti-aging treatments and how does it work? Fraxel is unlike any other rejuvenating skin treatment. Unlike old ablative lasers that remove the top layer of skin, the FLT procedure produces tiny microscopic wounds separated by areas of unaffected, healthy tissue. The spared healthy tissue between treatment zones contains living cells that promote rapid healing of the outer skin layers. At the same time, energy penetrates deep into the dermis to remodel collagen. Thus, FLT results approach the improvements obtained with CO2 laser resurfacing but without the associated side effects or downtime.
3. What is the difference between ablative and non-ablative treatments? Ablative techniques, such as CO2 laser resurfacing and deep chemical peels regenerate skin with dramatic results, but are associated with significant side effects, risks and prolonged healing and recovery times. Non-ablative techniques such as CoolTouch laser, carry fewer risks but require numerous treatments over several months, with results appearing slowly over time. FLT combines the benefits of an ablative procedure with the low risks and minimal to no down time of a non-ablative treatment.
4. How long does a treatment take and what will I look like afterwards? When will I see results? Treatments last 20-80 minutes. Side effects are minimal and typically involve mild-to-moderate swelling and redness which usually subsides within several days. Skin may also appear to have a bronzed appearance for several days. Routine activities can be resumed immediately after treatment. Many patients return to work the next day. Make-up can be worn the next day if desired. Results may be seen as early as one week, although additional improvement through collagen remodeling will continue for several months. Older models of the Fraxel laser require a blue dye to be used which discolored the face for 1-2 days. The newer, upgraded models no longer require blue dye. Make sure to ask if your doctor is using the newer upgrade.
5. How many treatments are needed and how often can I be treated? Although some results may be seen after just 1 treatment, at least 3 treatments are usually needed for optimal results. Four to five treatments may be needed for patients with significant sun damage. Treatments are usually performed 4 weeks apart. This helps achieve results much faster than with non-ablative treatments.
6. How can I maintain my results? Since your skin will continue to age naturally, we recommend maintaining your results. This helps slow down aging and keeps your skin younger looking, longer. Maintenance can be achieved using physician-strength rejuvenation products at home and having periodic non-ablative treatments in our office. Microdermabrasion, Vibradermabrasion and Vbeam treatments can be used individually or in combination to maintain your investment. Annual or semi-annual FLT's also helps maintain your results. And of course, always wear your hat and sunscreen when outdoors.
7. Are there any risks or side effects? Scabbing, blisters, and changes in skin color can occasionally occur. Scarring is extremely rare (less than 1%.) These side effects are unlikely to occur when treated in an experienced dermatology or plastic surgery office. Make sure the physician or nurse doing your treatment is very experienced. For example, we have performed over 1400 Fraxel treatments in our office over the last 2 years.
8. Can Fraxel treatments be combined with other rejuvenation treatments? Absolutely, V-Beam Laser can be used to remove redness and dilated blood vessels. Botox can be combined with FLT to relax deep wrinkles. Juvederm, Restylane and other fillers can be injected into deep furrows and used to plump lips.
Dr. Klein, a board-certified dermatologist, founder of Euro Day Spa, LK Dermatology & Laser, a trainer for Botox, Juvederm, Radiesse and Artefill and is one of the top BOTOX injectors in the US.