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fraxel laser

I think the downtime, even at aggressive settings, is more like 3 days depending how sensitive you are about having a red face. Several posters have commented about not seeing improvement when in fact there is some. I completely agree with this. We tend to forget how we looked before and we are very critical. That said, I am of the opinion that you have to have a major improvment to notice much change in harshly lit close ups of deeper scars. The analogy I draw is a hole in the ground. From a distance it is not noticeable but may become more so with shadows created by strong angled lighting. If you fill the hole 50%, it will still be just as noticealbe in those conditions, unless it is a very shallo hole. In which case, filling a shallow scar by 50% may get it close to imperceptable. A deeper scar may take 90% correction to get to this same state. As long as it is perecetible, we don't notice much change.

I have been a littled disapointed by fraxel efficacy for scarring and I think it is because of the above factors. Most people have had problems with CO2 or minimal improvement. In your case, I might be inclined to accept the larger downtime and go with CO2 because you know what to expect and had a great result last time. I would want to have the same Doc, etc to improve my chances of getting another good result. That said, just make sure it is ok to have 2 CO2s in a short duration. Clearly, I am not in posotion to give good advice, but I think there is merit in sticking with a procedure you know and had success with. I personally would not use CO2 for myself, but it might be appropriate for you given past success.

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Billyboy, thanks for sharing your point of view. You are right. CO2 helped my scars, but not the tone of my skin. I also suffered a long time from redness and milia after CO2 (2 months or so..) I do not have really deep holes. But they are stronger than some others here. But I do not have ice picks. Maybe I have got those rolling scars. But cannot translate that in German therefore I am not sure. I wanna try Fraxel also to improve the complexion of my skin. I want it to look smoother and more even. i also know that I cannot erase scars. I am blonde, green eyed, have got a pale face. Never had problems with hyperpigmentation after CO2, so I do not have to expect one with Fraxel, do I? Sorry for bothering, but there are so many thoughts and worries going round my head right now....

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me again ;) checked it out, I definately have got rolling scars on my cheeks, and a few boxcar scars on my temples, which did not improve quite good with the CO2. But mostly I am concerned about my cheeks....

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Fraxel should help pigment and the risk of a pigment problem is way, way lower than with CO2. I got a nice improvement in pigment and tone from fraxel. Skin looks younger, but still have lots of scars. Fortunately, they are shallow and small, but I make up for that with quantity.

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Hi all. I have never posted before, but have been reading your messages for weeks now on Fraxel. Today was my first treatment for acne scars. I asked the Dr to be aggressive and boy, what she aggressive..ouch!! :redface: It really hurt, but if it helps, then it's worth it. I signed up for 3 treatments for $2400.00. It's Fraxel 1 and she did 8 passes over the heavily scared areas on my cheeks. She started on level 10 and went up. She gave me 6 shots to numb the middle part of my face and then used the numbing cream. It still was pretty painful on the outer part of my face and around my eyes.

It's almost 3 hours later and I am very swollen and have some blisters forming. I have been icing my face and putting on the lotion they prescribed me. I will sleep upright tonight and hopefully be able to see in the morning.

Anyway, good luck to everyone and thanks for all your posts regarding your experiences.

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blisters forming?!?!?!

I think there are 2 blisters..they are just puffy areas now, so I may be wrong..I hope I am! :confused:

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I just had my third Pixel (works the same as Fraxel) Laser done on Friday, January 26, 2007. I have hypertrophic acne scars on my chest and shoulders and this is what my dermatologist recommends for treatment of same.

I have not noticed a difference in the reduction of my scars, however, through research and discussion with my dermatologist, it may take six or more treatments. I have noticed that my scars are not as shiny as they were, which is something good.

In my limited experience so far, the post treatment can be painful, akin to a very bad sunburn. And yes, I had to sleep sitting up the first night and could not stand anything laying against my skin. The only thing that I was allowed to apply to the skin was a mineral water gel that cools down the skin instantly. The product line is Eau Thermale Avene. It's also wonderful to use post chemical peels. Right now the skin is still tender and raw in spots, but is starting to peel. Tylenol (extra strength) is good to take for the pain and ice packs are also helpful.

Another thing: the dermatologist takes pictures each time before a treatment. He just invested in a digital camera/computer program that can take the photos and "merge" them for comparison. I don't know if I'm explaining that correctly, since I still use a regular 35mm camera, LOL, but maybe the more computer literate will understand.

I wish you all good luck in your quest for better looking skin. I have had these scars for 39 years and it would be great to see some improvement.

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I just had my third Pixel (works the same as Fraxel) Laser done on Friday, January 26, 2007. I have hypertrophic acne scars on my chest and shoulders and this is what my dermatologist recommends for treatment of same.

I have not noticed a difference in the reduction of my scars, however, through research and discussion with my dermatologist, it may take six or more treatments. I have noticed that my scars are not as shiny as they were, which is something good.

In my limited experience so far, the post treatment can be painful, akin to a very bad sunburn. And yes, I had to sleep sitting up the first night and could not stand anything laying against my skin. The only thing that I was allowed to apply to the skin was a mineral water gel that cools down the skin instantly. The product line is Eau Thermale Avene. It's also wonderful to use post chemical peels. Right now the skin is still tender and raw in spots, but is starting to peel. Tylenol (extra strength) is good to take for the pain and ice packs are also helpful.

Another thing: the dermatologist takes pictures each time before a treatment. He just invested in a digital camera/computer program that can take the photos and "merge" them for comparison. I don't know if I'm explaining that correctly, since I still use a regular 35mm camera, LOL, but maybe the more computer literate will understand.

I wish you all good luck in your quest for better looking skin. I have had these scars for 39 years and it would be great to see some improvement.

According to my doctor, Pixel is not as powerful as Fraxel. It's not exactly the same thing.

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Hi everyone. If anyone is interested, here are some up-close before an after pictures of my ice pick scars pre- and post- fraxel. It's not very encouraging as the pores are larger and the skin texture worse, but hopefully it's useful information. I posted them on another thread, but the thread didn't get many views, so I'm putting it here too.

03-07-2006 - Before Fraxel:

IcePicks_03-07-2006.JPG

04-10-2006 - Just after 4th and last Fraxel:

IcePicks_04-10-2006.JPG

06-17-2006 - Two months after last Fraxel:

IcePicks_06-17-2006.JPG

01-27-2007 - Nine months after last Fraxel:

IcePicks_01-27-2007.JPG

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Cameron. Have you done anything since fraxel (like peels or anything)?

I read you did needling before fraxel. Do you feel that helped or did damage?

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Cameron. Have you done anything since fraxel (like peels or anything)?

I read you did needling before fraxel. Do you feel that helped or did damage?

I did needling in 2003. You can check my journal for before and after pictures of that. Also, all I've been doing since Fraxel is using healing products like Revive EGF and eating well and taking a bunch of supplements--MSM, vitamin C, multivitamins, oils.

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For those of you who have had Fraxel, how long does the swelling last? It has been awful today (I had 1st treatment yesterday). I look very scary. I have tried to ice it, but with 2 kids running around, there isn't much time to sit. I need to find a way to attach bags of frozen peas to my face. :rolleyes: Do you all think icing really helps? I have some scabbing also, but the Derm said it would happen since she was aggressive.

Thanks for any feedback!

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Oh boy, now you've got me scared. I was considering getting Pixel (similar to Fraxel) laser resurfacing on my face. My doc said that it would help smoothen out my scars and would require very little downtime. I have similar ice pick scars on my cheeks and nose, with blackheads too. I don't want to make things worse.

I'm going to see a different derm next week so I'll ask him what he thinks.

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For those of you who have had Fraxel, how long does the swelling last? It has been awful today (I had 1st treatment yesterday). I look very scary. I have tried to ice it, but with 2 kids running around, there isn't much time to sit. I need to find a way to attach bags of frozen peas to my face. :rolleyes: Do you all think icing really helps? I have some scabbing also, but the Derm said it would happen since she was aggressive.

Thanks for any feedback!

I was swollen for 4-6 days, depending on how aggressive my doctor was with the laser. I bought this cold pack (headache band) from Walgreen's that you wrap under your chin and up your cheeks, then velcro at the top of your head. It helps keeps your hands free, and you can keep doing other things. Actually, I have 2, and then I keep switching off during the day. I also look very scary the first 3 or 4 days, so don't worry about that. :D

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For those of you who have had Fraxel, how long does the swelling last? It has been awful today (I had 1st treatment yesterday). I look very scary. I have tried to ice it, but with 2 kids running around, there isn't much time to sit. I need to find a way to attach bags of frozen peas to my face. :rolleyes: Do you all think icing really helps? I have some scabbing also, but the Derm said it would happen since she was aggressive.

Thanks for any feedback!

I was swollen for 4-6 days, depending on how aggressive my doctor was with the laser. I bought this cold pack (headache band) from Walgreen's that you wrap under your chin and up your cheeks, then velcro at the top of your head. It helps keeps your hands free, and you can keep doing other things. Actually, I have 2, and then I keep switching off during the day. I also look very scary the first 3 or 4 days, so don't worry about that. :D

Thanks cubsfan. I woke today even worse than yesterday! Totally swollen and scabby..very scary. I know I need to ice more.

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Hi everybody out there!

I am new here, coming from Vienna, (Austria - Europe), really interessted in your thread, spend 2 days reading all 171 pages (puh!) and am rather confused now. does it help or not? Fraxel is not that popular in Austria yet than in the USA. But I am open minded to all new possibilities fighting my damn acne scars, specially laser methods. I had a CO2 full face Oct 2004 and it improved my acne scars, I guess 50%. I often thought about doing it a second time, but the procedure/healing time was awful, therefore I am now interessted in Fraxel. I have an appointment for my 1st treatment on Feb 14. My doc said it will help my scars (she won´t use that blue die thing, is it therefore the new Fraxel 2?). I do not have ice picks, do not know how to describe my scars, I got a lot of them all over my face, mostly cheeks. I´ve seen some examples here in this thread and don´t find them bad at all. So I think I have got the deeper kind of... I´m also confused about the different downtimes.... Because the main reason why I don´t want a CO2 again is the long downtime, I could not go in public for 3 weeks! But some of you have a downtime of 5-7 days which is long,too, because my doc told me I can cover my skin with make up immediately after treatment. Cannot believe that! Also I am very concerned about the break outs. I am still suffering from little acne sometimes (before periode, yep I´m female) and hate it, can´t imagine to have worse break outs after each treatment, that would depress me very, very much.

I appreciate this thread, it is very interesting. Thanks to all who keep posting their experiences. :-)

If they are not using the blue dye, I would question whether it is actually Fraxel. The Fraxel that you hear a lot about (Reliant's Technology) uses the blue dye for both Fraxel 1 and Fraxel 2 (I've had treatments from both). The derm might have bought a less expensive machine and intends to market it as the Fraxel that most people on this thread is using. Question you dermatologist and ask if he is using the Reliant Fraxel or a different kind. It is probably a fractional resurfacing laser, but not the Reliant Fraxel.

Question for people who have had Fraxel or completed Fraxel:

Do you notice having a tan on the treated area? I had treatment on my cheeks and 3 weeks after my 5th one I still look like I have a tan on my face where I was treated. I can notice the difference between the color on my face and the color on my neck. Will this diminish on its own and how long will it take? Thank you for the help.

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becintx if your doctor went agressive don't worry, that kind of swelling is totally normal. My freaky swelling lasted 3 to 4 days. AFter my 2nd Fraxel I got used to the swelling and stopped worrying about it but after my first one I freaked out too. What you are going through sounds normal. For the next treatments buy this face mask NatraGel Facial Rejuvenation Mask this mask feels soooooooo good on your hot red face! Buy the enriched one with Aloe, Green Tea, Vitamin E! I used one after each treatment and it helped a lot. I took Ibuprofen every 6 hours, took a claritin and at night took a benadryl to help with the swelling, the benedryl also helped with sleeping. I got a wedge to sleep on to elevate myself to help reduce swelling, a night is when it gets worse when laying flat.

My redness lasts for a bit but since I did my full face I don't notice it as much. Every week it gets lighter. It should get better with time.

I'm one week past my 5th Fraxel and I have healed as usual. Now I just wait to see how much collegen my face produces.

Also Reliant is coming out with a new tip for the Fraxel 2 laser which won't require the blue dye any longer

:dance: My doctor hopes to have it by the end of Feb or March when I see him again for a checkup. That is going to help a lot. It was a mess taking that off of my face.

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becintx if your doctor went agressive don't worry, that kind of swelling is totally normal. My freaky swelling lasted 3 to 4 days. AFter my 2nd Fraxel I got used to the swelling and stopped worrying about it but after my first one I freaked out too. What you are going through sounds normal. For the next treatments buy this face mask NatraGel Facial Rejuvenation Mask this mask feels soooooooo good on your hot red face! Buy the enriched one with Aloe, Green Tea, Vitamin E! I used one after each treatment and it helped a lot. I took Ibuprofen every 6 hours, took a claritin and at night took a benadryl to help with the swelling, the benedryl also helped with sleeping. I got a wedge to sleep on to elevate myself to help reduce swelling, a night is when it gets worse when laying flat.

My redness lasts for a bit but since I did my full face I don't notice it as much. Every week it gets lighter. It should get better with time.

I'm one week past my 5th Fraxel and I have healed as usual. Now I just wait to see how much collegen my face produces.

Also Reliant is coming out with a new tip for the Fraxel 2 laser which won't require the blue dye any longer :dance: My doctor hopes to have it by the end of Feb or March when I see him again for a checkup. That is going to help a lot. It was a mess taking that off of my face.

Thanks JJP007! Now my face is starting to itch so bad! It's so dry and the prescription lotion is doing nothing. It's awful. So I am totally swollen AND have a face with the texture of a lizard. I'll try the mask.

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There is a new Fraxel called "Fraxel+" which will not use the blue dye (I think too many people complained and washing it off adds to irritation). It is more ablative than fractional, with a week or more of downtime. BUT it is still in clinical trials so I doubt this is the one you are using.

Like someone said above, the concept of "fractional laser resurfacing" has been copycated by Palomar and Pixel. They both have laser heads on the market. Note these are only laser heads, which attach to laser systems the doctors already own. Therefore it is much cheaper for the doctor as an investment, meanwhile they can charge the same to customers and call it Fraxel--which it is not.

This happened to one patient on here already. He went to Dr. Kovak in Chicago. Dr. Kovak even gave him a Fraxel brochure to read during the consultation! He complained and Kovak gave him a full refund. But not before the patient had already undergone a treatment with the imitation laser.

Both imitation lasers claim to penetrate the deepest out of any fractional laser and have other advantages over Fraxel, but I think this is largely bunk. The only thing they MIGHT have going for them is that they are not using scanning technology (because Fraxel would sue them!). This means the laser doesn't scan across your face like a paint brush. Rather the doctor puts it down on a spot, zaps you, picks it up, moves it over some, and repeats.

The only reason I think this MIGHT be better is that the spacing of the microthermal zones are more controlled and even. There is less potential to have MTZs being laid down on top of one another causing a Macroscopic Thermal Zone. Would be interested to know what others think about this.

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The only reason I think this MIGHT be better is that the spacing of the microthermal zones are more controlled and even. There is less potential to have MTZs being laid down on top of one another causing a Macroscopic Thermal Zone. Would be interested to know what others think about this.

Interesting question, and it seems you are more familiar with this technology than I am. I never really understood whether the Fraxels was a pulsed laser or more of a steady beam? If the fraxel's tip scans the area then why the need to roll it across the face?

I think your hypothesis on treating small sections at a time being more precise sounds good in theory. However I'd be inclined to believe in real world practice there would still be a lot of overlap. As an example, I've seen many videos of CO2 lasers. They emit a "swatch" light first to show the practicioner exactly where the laser is going to shoot. Then the target area gets blasted by small pulses of the CO2 laser much like a dot-matrix style printer head. On the surface it would seem precise enough to administer exactly one layer of laser burn over the entire face, but the doctor routinely goes over the same area a few times. I think the logic behind this is to have the laser burn less than the actual desired depth with each pass so the doctor can go slightly deeper in some areas and shallower in others thus making his role in the whole process more that of a skilled painter than a human scanner. :shrug:

Either way, i sure hope the cheaper lasers are just as effective as the current Fraxel so that future treatments won't take such a toll on my finances. If we're lucky, the different laser tips will even complement each other so that each one works better on different types of scars and we can do one course of laser after another to yield even better results.

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My doc has got the Palomar. I also was worrying about that, but then contacted my derm who did my CO2 treatment 2,5 years ago (he does not have any fractional laser yet, but attends congresses and is always informed about new lasers) He told me there is no difference in quality, he also told me that rolling scars could be treated much more better than icepicks with any laser method. I am also wonderng about that you guys don´t have any pretreatment. I have to cream aha acids every day prior to the fraxel....my first app is on Feb 14, so will see.....

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Well, it's day 5 after my first Fraxel treatment. Yes, my Derm was aggressive (per my request) and I am still paying for it. I am not as swollen as the first couple of days, but I can't go out with this skin. It's still so dark red and tan and it's peeling up a storm. It's so tight and itches like mad. I keep moisturizing it, but am afraid I am using too much? Is it doing more harm than good?

I can partly cover it with makeup, but it still looks like a dark peely scaly mask. I sure hope for this much down time, I get some results. I have 2 more scheduled a month apart.

From reading this whole thread twice, I see that this is mostly normal if it's an aggressive treatment. I just don't know what else to do to stop this itching and feeling like my face is cracking. My poor baby doesn't even recognize me. :confused:

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Well, it's day 5 after my first Fraxel treatment. Yes, my Derm was aggressive (per my request) and I am still paying for it. I am not as swollen as the first couple of days, but I can't go out with this skin. It's still so dark red and tan and it's peeling up a storm. It's so tight and itches like mad. I keep moisturizing it, but am afraid I am using too much? Is it doing more harm than good?

I can partly cover it with makeup, but it still looks like a dark peely scaly mask. I sure hope for this much down time, I get some results. I have 2 more scheduled a month apart.

From reading this whole thread twice, I see that this is mostly normal if it's an aggressive treatment. I just don't know what else to do to stop this itching and feeling like my face is cracking. My poor baby doesn't even recognize me. :confused:

Hmmmm, I didn't have a problem for as long as you seem to be. Take a benedryl at night for the itching (call and ask the doctor first of course, it will make you very sleepy) Have you taken a warm shower and let the water run of your face for a bit to let the skin flake off. That seems to help for me. I usually have my treatments on a Wed and by Saturday I take a warm shower and then I can put on foundation and go about my business, my face is still a little swollen but no one could notice but me and by Sunday I can go to work with makeup to cover the redness and no one even noticed the swelling.

I used Cetaphil moisturizer with spf this last time as my MD forte moisturizer was breaking me out (I think). Moisturizing is a good thing to help the skin heal, dry skin doesn't heal as well or as quickly.

My side effects seemed to lessen after each treatment so maybe the next one will be better for you. My skin was pretty bad after the first one too. Good luck and hang in there.

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