Fraxel Restore Dual (Multipurpose Rejuvenation Laser)
Fraxel is the original fractional laser treatment that works below the skin’s surface from the top down, treating imperfections such as fine lines and wrinkles, surface scarring including acne scars, discoloration of the skin such as age spots and melasma, sun damage, and precancerous lesions (actinic keratosis). Fraxel’s light energy stimulates your skin’s natural collagen to smooth the creases and pockets that cause wrinkles and scars. Fraxel only treats targeted problem areas so the results are focused and effective. The technology of Fraxel is considered one of the gold standards for laser rejuvenation of the skin. High patient satisfaction rates and excellent results make Fraxel the ideal choice for turning back the clock.
What is Fraxel Dual?
The Fraxel Dual system is actually two lasers in one. There is a 1927nm wavelength that is used for pigmentation problems, such as sun spots. And there is the 1550nm wavelength that is used to improve skin texture, such as acne scarring and lines and wrinkles.
At Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center, we use Fraxel Dual with both wavelengths or separately depending on the needs of the individual patient.
- Fraxel 1927nm — Sun spots, age spots, freckles, melasma, or actinic keratoses. No one likes these pigmentation issues, and that’s what this aspect of the Fraxel Dual system targets with its thulium fiber component.
- Fraxel 1550nm — This wavelength is in effect an erbium laser. It penetrates deeper into the dermis layer of the skin to initiate higher levels of collagen and elastin production. This improves the appearance of acne scars, wrinkles, overall skin texture and tone.
How is a Fraxel Dual procedure performed?
No matter if we’re using one or both wavelengths, the procedure is the same. The wavelength applied is the difference. First, we clean the skin across the treatment areas. Then we apply topical numbing anesthetic to the treatment areas. This needs about one hour to fully take effect.
For the actual Fraxel procedure, the small laser handpiece delivers the laser energy down onto the treatment areas. The laser energy creates microscopic channels down through the skin (Fraxel was the originator of “fractional laser resurfacing”). These penetrate the epidermis and enter the dermis layer of the skin. When the body senses heat in the dermis, it assumes a wound has occurred and it initiates a “wound-healing response,” which involves instant remodeling of the collagen at the treatment sites and increased production of collagen and elastin moving forward for the next 12 weeks or so.
By creating only fractional wounds, surrounded by untouched skin, the body heals the microscopic channels within just an hour or two. This instantly begins the production of new, healthier surface skin cells, improving pigmentation problems. From there, the deeper energy of the 1550nm laser stimulates collagen and elastin production for widespread texture improvement.
What are the risks with Fraxel Dual treatments? Is Fraxel Dual safe?
The FDA has cleared Fraxel Dual for these uses: periorbital wrinkles, acne scars, surgical scars, age spots, sun spots, melasma, actinic keratoses, and skin resurfacing. That means these procedures had to pass rigorous safety testing prior to receiving approval.
Swelling and redness are the most common side effects from a Fraxel treatment. Swelling is minimal and usually only lasts a day or two. Redness fades within a few days. Pigmentation spots become darker initially, which can be disconcerting, but that is a sign they’re on the way out. You may have some minor itching, dry feeling skin, slight peeling or flaking, and some bronzing of the skin, but these are all temporary effects.
Is a Fraxel Dual treatment painful?
Remember that we apply topical numbing cream 60 minutes before your Fraxel Dual treatment. You’ll sense some warmth and heat, but it isn’t unpleasant. When the laser energy is pulsed, you’ll feel a slight prickling sensation. That’s about it.
What will happen immediately after my Fraxel Dual treatment?
For the first day after your session your skin will feel as though it has a mild sunburn. It will appear pink, possibly even red. Your skin will bronze as the first sign the pigmented spots have received the laser energy and are about to peel away. This can all be effectively covered with makeup.
When will I see results?
Your results are immediate and then progressive. You’ll see the response to the laser energy as your pigmented spots darken. That is the beginning of the end for them, as your body has started to replace those cells with excess melanin with new, healthier skin cells. The collagen and elastin increases take some time, showing their peak somewhere between 2-3 months. This is the healing mechanism where new collagen production ramps up and damaged tissue is replaced.
How many Fraxel Dual treatments will I need to achieve the results I want?
At Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center, we find our patients achieve the results they seek with between 3 to 5 sessions spaced between 2-4 weeks apart.
How can I maintain and protect my Fraxel results?
For three months after these treatments, you’ll need to wear broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. You’ll need to avoid direct sun exposure and wear protective clothing. You need to remember that most of your pigmentation issues have their root in UV exposure, so limiting this exposure moving forward is the best way to maintain your improved skin tone and texture for the long haul.