Years after acne has resolved, many men and women have to deal with the scars which the acne caused. One of the most popular treatments for acne scars and general scar treatment is via the Fraxel Laser, also known as Fractional laser treatment or Fractional resurfacing.
NYC based board certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green recommends the Fraxel laser for various types of acne scars, whether for small deep scars that resemble a puncture known as “Ice Pick” acne scars, “Boxcar” scars that tend to be broader in nature, for treating poorly healed wounds known as “Hypertrophic” scars or shallow indented scars often referred to as “Rolling acne scars.” She uses both the Fraxel Dual and Fraxel Repair lasers, as these stimulate new collagen growth within the skin.
How do Acne Scars Form?
Acne scars often occur when the skin heals from existing pimples or blackheads. Acne is formed when oil, bacteria and/or dead skin cells are stuck below the skin surface. When acne is left untreated or improperly treated, acne scars may form. In most cases, the scars are slightly raised or indented. Scars can also occur via surgery, for example, as the skin heals from an incision.
How often is Fraxel needed for Acne?
Fraxel treatments for acne generally require 4 to 6 sessions, once per month. As it is a laser skin treatment, the session focuses on the target areas, meaning that skin around the scar is not touched, and overall is much quicker. This is the main advantage of laser skin resurfacing and Fraxel in general, as it involves precisely attacking the location of the scar.
The Fraxel laser is not just used for Acne, as it (in this case the “Fraxel Dual” laser) can also be used for improving overall skin pigmentation, removing brown spots, sun damage, wrinkles and fine lines too. The Fraxel Dual may also be referred to by its previous name, the Fraxel Re:store.
How is Fraxel used for Acne Scar treatment?
The Fraxel Dual laser utilizes the 1550 wavelength for acne scars. It is the first non-ablative laser and can be used with minimal downtime. The laser stimulates new collagen production by going deep into each pore to help rebuild your skin. Many people say it feels like a rubber band doing quick snaps against your skin, while each of the microscopic laser beams may also provide a little bit of warmth to the skin area being treated. Numbing cream is applied one hour prior to the procedure so that there is little if any discomfort. The procedure takes about 20 minutes, which means it can be performed during your lunch break.
What should I look out for after Fraxel?
Along with some redness and swelling in the first day or two, you should stay out of the sun for one week. Regular use of sunscreen to protect the skin is essential. Smokers may also have limitations in how the skin heals, therefore smoking and smoky areas should be avoided. You should also stop using certain skin care products such as Retin-A and Hydroquinone in the days before and after your treatment. Dr. Green can discuss all options with you and plan things before and after each procedure accordingly.
Fraxel Before & After Pictures
*Disclaimer: Results may vary with each patient.