Fraxel treatment uses a fractional laser to activate collagen production in the skin. The laser heat stimulates new collagen and tissue growth in the deeper layer of facial skin. It is a non-ablative treatment, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2005.
Fraxel treatment was originally approved for use on facial lines and wrinkles, but is now also used to treat other facial cosmetic areas.
The 4 Fraxel Treatments
There are four different Fraxel treatments:
• Fraxel re:fine
• Fraxel re:store
• Fraxel re:pair
• Fraxel re:store Dual
Each treatment addresses a different type of facial imperfection. Fraxel treatment is often seen as a complementary treatment to Thermage skin tightening.
How Fraxel Treatment Works
Fraxel is a brand of laser skin treatments from Solta Medical. The fractional laser treatments vary in intensity. Each treatment works on the same principle, but on differing skin-resurfacing problem areas. The principle is to stimulate new collagen growth in the lower layer of skin. When new collagen is produced, the facial skin becomes firmer, making wrinkles and lines less visible.
The laser light penetrates the epidermis (outer layer of skin), into the dermal layer of skin, where a network of collagen and elastin are located. The fractional, hand-held, computerized laser makes microscopic wounds to the tissue with its heat, in a checkerboard pattern. A fractional laser delivers laser heat to small portions of the skin at a time. Because only tiny portions of the tissue in the dermal layer of skin are affected during one treatment, the surrounding tissue is left unaffected. The microscopic injuries made by the laser, alert the body to heal the very small wounds in the dermal tissue, producing new tissue and collagen.
Fraxel Personalized Skin Treatment
There are four different types of treatment which can be used, depending on the type of cosmetic results that you prefer. The type of cosmetic skin correction should always be discussed with your doctor, before any treatment.
The four types of Fraxel treatments and examples of cosmetic problems that they target, are outlined below.
Fraxel re:fine – treats fine lines around the eyes, sun spots, age spots, pigment inconsistencies, and smooths uneven skin tone. An erbium laser is used for this treatment.
Fraxel re:store – treats more prominent eye creases, surgical scars, acne scarring, sun spots, and age spots. An erbium laser is used for this treatment.
Fraxel re:pair- treats wrinkles, and irregular texture of skin. A CO2 laser is used in this treatment.
Fraxel re:store Dual – treats melasma and age spots. A combination of erbium and thulium lasers are used for this treatment.
The type of laser used is important to the results expected. Different lasers have varying strengths of heat delivered to the skin layer. The erbium laser does not deliver as much heat as it penetrates the skin. The thulium and CO2 laser heat is stronger. The stronger, deeper penetrating heat lasers are considered ablative lasers.
Ablative procedures involve removing layers of skin to achieve desired results. The greater the heat burst to the dermal area, the greater the effect will be, but it also involves more healing time. Erbium lasers are non-ablative, and do not remove the epidermal layer of skin. The extent of correction of the cosmetic problem will determine which type of laser will need to be used in treatment.
Fraxel Treatment Procedure, Results, And Side Effects
Fraxel treatments have no age restrictions. You should consult with a certified dermatologist trained using the Fraxel treatment procedure to ensure that it is suitable for you. After facial skin evaluation, the doctor can tell you which type of treatment is needed to achieve the desired results. The Fraxel treatments usually last between 15-45 minutes, depending on the area of facial skin treated. Because Fraxel is used on only 20-30 percent of the facial area at once, further treatments may be necessary.
Patients may feel a sunburn sensation following treatment. The patient may see improvement in skin firmness within days, continuing for the next few months. Treatments usually last approximately 6 months. There may be redness, swelling, and discomfort for up to a week after treatment. If the more ablative lasers are used for treatment, the potential side effects may include: swelling, prolonged redness, oozing, delayed healing, scarring, hyperpigmentation, acne flare-up, or infection.
Fraxel Cost And Results
Fraxel laser treatments can cost from $500-$1,000 per treatment. The patient may need from 1-5 treatments to achieve desired effect. Fraxel re:pair is the highest-priced at $3,000-$5,000 per treatment. If you choose a treatment requiring several visits, the treatments must be spaced one to two weeks apart. This gives the previous tissue time to heal properly, before beginning another phase of treatment.
Fraxel resurfaces facial skin from the inside out. The procedure may cause discomfort, but treatments stimulate collagen growth in the dermal layer for many months to come. It is important that you consult with a licensed doctor or dermatologist who is certified in using the Fraxel treatment procedure for best results. Fraxel has an excellent safety record, with extensive clinical and tissue research. It is safe for most skin types, for both men and women.