How Fraxel Treatments Fade Lines, Wrinkles, and Scars

Fractional laser scar removal uses precision lasers to encourage the growth of new tissue. The process is mildly uncomfortable and allows you to get back to your everyday routine relatively quickly.

It may take more than one session to give you the best results, but many people have tremendous success fading scars, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines with this treatment.

Types of Scars Fractional Laser Can Treat

When used by a board-certified esthetician, dermatologist, or doctor, fractional laser is an effective treatment for not only fine lines and sun damage, but also acne scars, as well as scarring from surgery or trauma. 

Generally, significant progress is seen in scarring after two sessions. 

What to Expect

You will feel better about fractional laser treatment once you know what to expect. In the period leading up to treatment, minimize unprotected exposure to the sun. Of course, this should always be your goal, but it is particularly important as you prepare for treatment. 

Too much sun exposure in the period leading up to treatment may prevent you from getting the best results. If you are a smoker, cutting down or stopping before your appointment will also make it easier for your body to heal. 

Fractional laser therapy is an outpatient procedure and numbing cream may be applied upon request. 

During the treatment, which uses nonablative lasers, the beam of the laser is directed to your skin. The light destroys the epidermis and heats the underlying layer. The process stimulates the production of collagen in the treated areas. 

By stimulating the production of collagen, the texture and tone of the skin is improved. Depending on the size of the area treated, the entire process may take anywhere from a half an hour to two hours. 

Your treatment provider will recommend a series of sessions, basing the decision on the type of scarring being treated and how your skin responds to treatment. 

What to Expect After Your Session

Immediately after your treatment, expect your skin to feel irritated. It may itch, swell, or develop raw areas. Your provider may apply a thick layer of ointment to the affected area or recommend creams or serums for a speedy recovery.

You can treat any discomfort with over the counter pain relievers as well as cool compresses. Overall, discomfort should be minimal. The larger the treatment area, the more uncomfortable you may feel. 

What to Expect During the Healing Process

During the weeks following treatment, new skin will begin to grow. During this period you want to avoid any activities that may allow infection to develop, such as swimming. You also want to avoid applying products, such as cosmetics, that may irritate this new skin. 

Your provider may recommend a course of antiviral medication following treatment to minimize the risk of infection to your delicate skin during the healing process. 

Nonablative Laser

Nonablative lasers are less invasive and have a shorter recovery period than ablative lasers. Also known as Fraxel treatment,  it doesn't damage the upper layer of the skin. Because it is less invasive, you can quickly resume normal activities. 

It stimulates the growth of collagen and doesn’t include the longer downtime and abrasions of ablative lasers. With continuous treatments, Fraxel laser treatments are great for improving the appearance of scars and for stretch mark laser removal. It is also a great choice for fine lines and overall texture improvement. 

Safety of Laser Therapy

Treatment of fine lines, scars, stretch marks and other areas of imperfection with laser is remarkably safe. If you have existing conditions, such as rosacea or develop herpes infections around the mouth, please notify your aesthetician or other treatment providers so that special precautions are taken before treatment. 

Laser therapy isn't for everyone. If you are currently taking acne medications, are pregnant, or have an autoimmune disorder, you'll need to have to have a conversation with your treatment provider about whether you are a good candidate for this treatment at this particular time. 

Individuals with darker toned skin are often warned about the risks of laser treatment, but fractional lasers, when used by a skilled, board-certified dermatologist, can provide excellent results for those with higher levels of melanin. 

Scheduling Your Procedure

People often mistakenly believe that fractional laser treatment must be performed during the cold weather months to allow the skin to heal properly. While fall and winter are a great time for treatment if you live in an area with shorter days and weakened sun rays, treatment during the spring and summer have advantages as well. 

Regardless of what time of year you have this procedure, you will need to protect your skin from sun exposure for best results. While this is easier during the fall and winter, during the spring and summer the early morning and late evening hours are warm enough to get outside and exercise before the sun's rays hit. Getting some fresh air and movement in your day is great for not only your mental health but for healing as well. 

Maintaining Your Results 

Once you get the go-ahead from your provider to start using treatments on your skin, it is important to get serious about SPF protection. If you have been cavalier about this in the past, now is the time to make it a habit. Apply a minimum of SPF 30 daily, and if you are outside, reapply frequently. 

Undergoing laser treatment is an effective way to turn back the clock by smoothing fine lines and fading hyperpigmentation, but those benefits will quickly disappear without adequate sun protection. 

Interested in learning more about fractional laser scar removal? Curious if you are a good candidate for Fraxel treatment? Get in touch with Park Slope Laser Aesthetic Center for a consultation. 

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