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Fraxel for Wrinkles

About Fraxel® Laser Treatment at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta

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Just as a damaged painting is delicately restored one small area at a time or a photographic image is altered pixel by pixel, Fraxel® Laser Treatment (FLT) improves your appearance by affecting only a fraction of your skin at a time with thousands of tiny microscopic laser spots.

Fraxel® Laser Treatment produces thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment in your skin, known as microscopic treatment zones.  This treatment penetrates deep into the dermis to eliminate old epidermal pigmented cells.  Just as important, though, are the areas of skin the Fraxel® laser leaves untouched.  For every microscopic zone the laser targets and treats intensively, it leaves the surrounding tissue unaffected and intact.  This “fractional” treatment allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire area were treated at once, using the body’s natural healing process to create new, healthy tighter tissue to replace skin imperfections.

 

Fraxel® Treatment

 

At your initial consultation, your physician will determine the best treatment plan for your desired results.  Clinical studies suggest that on average, an effective treatment regimen is three to five sessions, spaced about two to four weeks apart.  Depending upon your condition and schedule, you and your physician may choose to space treatment sessions even further apart.  Results are immediate and progressive.  Optimal improvement is usually visible in about two to three months.  Because Fraxel® Laser Treatment spares healthy tissue, it is effective even on delicate skin areas, such as the neck, chest and hands.

Fraxel® Laser Treatment can be performed right in your dermatologist’s office using only topical anesthesia in most cases.  If you are having a significant area of your skin treated, your doctor will develop a pain management approach to maximize your comfort during the procedure.

The treatment area will be thoroughly washed prior to the procedure.  A topical anesthetic ointment is applied to the treatment area approximately 60 minutes prior to treatment in order for the anesthetic to take full effect.  The procedure takes between 20 to 25 minutes for a full face.  The anesthetic ointment is washed off immediately after the treatment.

You will experience a mild sunburn sensation for about an hour and then minimal discomfort.  The skin will have a pinkish tone for five to seven days.  This is a normal sign that the skin is healing.  Swelling is minimal and generally resolves in two to three days.

Immediately after treatment and removal of any residual topically-applied ointment, we will cleanse skin with the Fraxel® foaming cleanser and water.  Your doctor will apply the Antioxidant Infusion Serum and position the Deep Hydration Mask on your face after peeling off the protective plastic.  The mask is in place for 15 minutes and afterward a thin layer of Fraxel® Daily Moisturizer (SPF 30) is applied. Ask your physician about Fraxel® treatment and the complete line of Fraxel® Skin Ecology products.

You may apply makeup or shave soon after treatment.  Some patients are able to return to routine activities, including work and social obligations, the same day of treatment.  Others require a little more time, depending upon their skin condition and treatment.  Please consult your physician to understand how Fraxel® Laser Treatment will fit into your schedule.

New epidermal skin develops within 24 hours.  The process of skin repair involves:

  • • Bronzing: Your skin will have a bronze appearance that lasts anywhere from 3 to 14 days, depending on your treatment level.
  • • Flaking: Your skin will naturally and vigorously exfoliate as new skin replaces dead tissue.  Flaking is similar to that of minor sunburn, but without the associated pain.  Use of a moisturizer will mask the appearance of flaking.
  • • Sunscreen: Be sure to use sunscreen at least twice daily to protect your skin from sun exposure during both the healing phase and for several months after treatment.  Apply a moisturizing, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.  For added protection, use wide-brimmed hats when in direct sunlight.

Over the following weeks and months, the body repairs the deeper dermal tissues that have been affected by the Fraxel® treatment, producing longer beneficial changes associated with a healthy, youthful appearance.

Fraxel® Laser Treatment FAQs

 

What is Fraxel® Laser Treatment (FLT)?
Fraxel® Laser Treatment (FLT) is a “fractional” treatment that produces thousands of deep, tiny columns in your skin, called microscopic treatment zones.  FLT is “fractional” in that it intensively treats old epidermal pigment cells without affecting any of the surrounding tissue, which reduces healing time and promotes the skin’s natural process for creating new, healthier tissue to replace the damaged cells.

How is Fraxel® laser different from other laser treatments?
Before Fraxel® laser treatment, there were two types of available laser treatments.  Bulk ablative laser treatment involves vaporization of entire layers of skin cells at a very high temperature.  This treatment is very effective but is associated with a high incidence of side effects and typically requires a lengthy healing period.  The other previously available laser treatment, bulk non-ablative laser treatment, can have a lower incidence of side effects and little healing time, but requires numerous treatments over many months and has widely variable results.  Fraxel® treatments strive to offer the effectiveness of ablative lasers with the benefits of the gentler, non-ablative lasers.

How does Fraxel® laser work?
FLT is designed to target aging and sun damaged skin by targeting portions of specific damaged tissue.  By creating microscopic “wounds” within the targeted areas well beneath the outermost epidermal layer of skin, Fraxel® Laser treatments trigger the body’s natural healing process, accelerating the production of collagen and new, healthy skin cells.

What are the benefits of Fraxel® Laser Treatments?
FLT has the impact of ablative lasers but the gentler benefits of the non-ablative treatments.  Healing time is significantly accelerated so there is minimal downtime.  Because the Fraxel® Laser penetrates the non-living outer layer of skin leaving it completely intact, makeup can be worn immediately following the procedure.  Some patients are able to return to routine activities, including work and social obligations, the same day of treatment.  Others require a little more time, depending upon their skin condition and treatment.  Please consult your physician to understand how Fraxel® Laser Treatment will fit into your schedule.

What are the risks of Fraxel® Laser Treatments?
Swelling and redness are the most common side effects from treatment.  If swelling does occur, it is minimal and will subside within a day or two.  Redness may occur and will fade within a few days.  There is a very limited risk of infection or scarring.

How many treatments will I need?
Clinical studies suggest that, on average, an effective treatment regimen is three to five sessions, spaced about two to four weeks apart.  Depending upon your condition and schedule, you and your physician may choose to space treatment sessions even further apart. Results are immediate and progressive.  Optimal improvement is usually visible in about two to three months.  This time frame and treatment structure allows for complete healing and replacement of damaged tissue with new collagen and elastin, and viable healthy skin cell growth.

How are Fraxel® Laser Treatments performed?
To prepare your skin for treatment, it will be cleansed.  A topical anesthetic ointment is applied to the treatment area approximately 60 minutes prior to treatment in order for the anesthetic to take full effect. The procedure takes between 20 to 25 minutes for a full face.  The anesthetic ointment is washed off immediately after the treatment.

Is Fraxel® Laser Treatment painful?
Most patients describe the treatment as having a “prickling” sensation.  The topical anesthetic ointment and air cooling alleviates most discomfort.

What should I expect after Fraxel® Laser Treatment?
During the first 24 hours after treatment, your skin may feel as though it is sunburned, and it will appear pink or red.  Makeup can be worn to reduce the sunburned appearance.  Your skin will naturally bronze over the next week or two.  As you continue treatment, the sunburned to bronze conditions will repeat. Your skin will flake and exfoliate normally.  Using a moisturizer will help reduce the appearance of dry flakes.

What precautions should I take after treatment?
Wearing sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher twice a day is especially important.  Avoid direct sun exposure during the healing process and for at least 3 months after treatment.  Wearing wide brimmed hats is highly recommended when out in the elements.

What is the Fraxel® Skin Ecology System and where can I purchase it?
The Fraxel® Skin Ecology System is a unique line of skincare products designed specifically to enhance and extend the benefits of Fraxel® treatment.  Made with natural healing ingredients, this comprehensive regimen moisturizes, soothes and protects your skin – immediately following the procedure and long after.  This is available exclusively from Fraxel® physicians.

What does it mean to say that Fraxel(r) uses a “fractionated” laser technique?