What is a Fraxel® Laser and What Does It Do?

Have you ever heard of a Fraxel® laser? If you don’t know what it is, it sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. However, Fraxel® lasers are actually a great new treatment device that is used to help with a variety of different skin care concerns!

For those who are really struggling with loving their skin, and/or who may be increasingly concerned about age related issues, laser choices become a valid option. But what does the Fraxel® laser actually do?

Miami Skin Institute has done the research for you, and we’d love to share what we’ve learned to help you make the most educated decision for yourself possible.

Fraxel® Laser Basics

The Fraxel® Laser is an officially trademarked treatment option created by Solta Medical, a leading skin care company, in 2004.

It promises the user “a noticeably younger look without surgery,” which is a large part of its allure. The laser was designed for people who are looking to reveal a younger appearance without having to go through extended downtime. However, the flipside of that is that Fraxel® Lasers also do not create “dramatic” changes, which makes it somewhat of a middle ground between a normal skin care routine and plastic surgery options like face lifts.

The benefits of using the Fraxel® Laser include improved tone, texture, and radiance in skin that is exhibiting age-related issues, scarring, brown spots, or sun-damage. Results can be seen as soon as after just a single treatment which, when compared to other options like skin tightening with radiofrequency (which may require multiple sessions to show a big result), makes it very attractive. However, multiple treatments are often recommended for optimal results. The average is 3-5 sessions every 4-8 weeks.

The major concerns that Fraxel® Laser is FDA approved to treat are:

● Fine lines and wrinkles (crow’s feet, brow lines, etc.)
● Surface scarring (acne and surgical scars)
● Pigmentation (age spots)
● Sun damage
● Actinic keratosis (a common skin condition where rough, scaly patches appear on the skin, often a result of sun damage)
● Melasma (irregular patches of brown skin color on the face)

How Does The Fraxel® Laser Work?

fraxel laser handpiece

The Fraxel® Laser is known as the “first non-ablative fractional skin resurfacing treatment,” but what exactly does that mean?

First and foremost, the Fraxel® Laser is non-invasive, meaning it requires absolutely no cutting or needles. In a culture that is so used to the dramatic effects of major plastic surgery, the idea that something can improve the appearance without all of that work can be very hard to believe.

It can provide those benefits by using microscopic laser columns. The laser is directed into the skin and is able to penetrate deep enough to be able to expedite the remodeling of collagen by the body. Because the laser columns used are so small, it is able to impact very specific areas without affecting any of the surrounding tissue. That also means that the healing process is much quicker, because the results are literally happening from the inside out and not the other way around.

While there is some heat involved with the use of the laser, the Fraxel® also includes an integrated cooling technique that helps the patient be as comfortable as possible during the treatment. Some practices also include use of a topical anesthesia cream.

The entire process takes around 15 to 20 minutes in total, with a full facial cleansing beforehand. If the facility uses topical anesthesia, that will also be applied around 15-20 minutes beforehand. It should always be performed by a trained professional, because it requires precise application to avoid damaging the rest of the skin, or cause scarring.

What Happens After a Fraxel® Laser Treatment?

thinking woman

Once your treatment is done and you head home, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

For instance, because of how the laser impacts your skin, it is important to remember to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 (which you’re hopefully already doing). In addition, avoiding direct sunlight and wearing a wide-brimmed hat whenever possible can also help keep your skin safe while it’s healing.

You should expect your skin to feel like you’ve gotten a sunburn for a few hours after your treatment is complete. Results will be visible within about a week of the first treatment, and those results get better after 3-4 weeks, and the more treatments that you have done. Just keep in mind that there will likely be some swelling, redness, itching, and rarely, crusting initially. Don’t let this discourage you, because it is a normal part of the process. However, make sure that you let your provider know if it seems to last too long or be more intense than expected.

We recommend that you do not lay out in the sun, visit the beach, or go on a boat or in a pool for 7 days after any laser treatment.

In Summary

Fraxel® Lasers have a definite part to play in improving skin without relying on invasive medical treatments. Miami Skin Institute understands that and believes that everyone deserves an opportunity to improve their skin without having to bear the uncomfortable side effects of outdated techniques and unwanted results. We offer various cosmetic laser procedures including Fraxel® Laser to restore your overall look in a natural and unobvious way.