The Fraxel Laser, also known as fractional photothermolysis, is a dermatological tool that has been proven safe an effective for the treatment of facial photodamage, acne scaring, hypopigmentation, and dyspigmentation. Fractional photothermolysis works by creating “spatially precise microscopic thermal wounds (using a 1550-nm erbium fiber laser) that targets water-containing tissue to effect the photocoagulation of narrow, sharply defined columns of skin known as microscopic thermal zones” (Tanzi, 2008). Treatment with the Fraxel Laser involves multiple sessions mainly because each session only treats a small portion of the skin. Typically, patients may return for additional sessions within a three to six-month course.
There are two different types of lasers that exist for fractional photothermolysis which include ablative and non-ablative therapy. Ablative lasers involve the use of carbon dioxide or erbium and are well tolerated for facial rejuvenation. However, over time, ablative lasers may cause loss of the cutaneous barrier function and prolonged recovery. Non-ablative systems, on the other hand, are a bit safer than ablative lasers, and have a reduced risk of skin cell damage. This technique involves the use of “1064- and 1320-nm Nd:YAG, intense pulsed light systems combined with epidermal surface cooling and infrared or near-infrared wavelengths” (Tanzi, 2008).
How to Take Care of your Skin After Fraxel Laser Treatment
After receiving a Fraxel Laser therapy session, it is important to stay hydrated and void smoking, alcohol consumption, heavy sweating, swimming, and sun exposure. The treated area needs to remain clean and free of makeup, alcohol-based products, and detergents. Post Fraxel Laser recovery tends to take about one full week and many patients may experience redness, burning, throbbing, and peeling of the skin within the first two days. Overall, the Fraxel Laser is a great technique that may rejuvenate the skin, remove acne scaring, and allow patients to feel confident about their appearance. The Fraxel laser was first introduced in 2003 and has become a very effective treatment for different types of facial conditions. The side effects of this procedure are typically mild and can result in erythema and a slight darkening of the skin. According to various Fraxel studies, severe complications are rare.
Tanzi EL, Wanitphakdeedecha R, Alster TS. Fraxel laser indications and long-term follow-up. Aesthet Surg J. 2008;28(6):675-680. doi:10.1016/j.asj.2008.09.006
Janik JP, Markus JL, Al-Dujaili Z, Markus RF. Laser resurfacing. Semin Plast Surg. 2007;21(3):139-146. doi:10.1055/s-2007-991182
Bertossi D, Giampaoli G, Lucchese A, et al. The skin rejuvenation associated treatment-Fraxel laser, Microbotox, and low G prime hyaluronic acid: preliminary results. Lasers Med Sci. 2019;34(7):1449-1455. doi:10.1007/s10103-019-02738-z