Fraxel® laser treatment: What you need to know
Fraxel® laser treatment: What you need to know
Fraxel® laser treatment is fast becoming a celebrity skin go-to with Courteney Cox expressing an interest and Kim Kardashian an outspoken fan.
If Kim Kardashian's flawless skin is anything to go by then it's not hard to see why Fraxel® is fast becoming the most popular laser treatment in some clinics.
It's best known for its ability to diminish pigmentation and brown spots, firm skin, improve skin tone and texture, reduce the appearance of scarring and reduce wrinkles around the eye area.
We wanted to find out more about Fraxel®, so we spoke to two leading experts in the field, Knightsbridge Cosmetic Doctor, Dr. Rita Rakus and Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, a Harley Street plastic surgeon specializing in facial reconstructive surgery.
What is Fraxel® laser treatment?
When it comes to understanding non-invasive cosmetic treatments all too often things can get overcomplicated, but Fraxel® is pretty easy to understand if described in the right way.
Dr. Alexandrides explains it like this: "Fraxel® is a fractional laser treatment which passes through the top layer of skin like light through glass, reaching into the dermis below to create thousands of tiny, microscopic areas of thermal damage.
This stimulates the body’s wound healing response, notably new collagen production and replacing damaged skin surfaces with new epidermal skin."
Essentially that means the laser creates tiny areas or columns of damage in the skin structure which provokes the skin to start healing itself - and therefore creating new cells and new collagen - resulting in a fresher-faced appearance.
The result is natural stimulation of new collagen without the fear of downtime.
How does it work?
By making lots of tiny areas of thermal damage in the skin (not visible to the naked eye) the skin is stimulated in such a way that the healing process is sped up.
Dr. Rakus explains: "This unique “fractional” (or pixel-by-pixel) process allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire area were treated at once, utilizing the body’s natural healing process to create new, healthy and tighter tissue to replace skin imperfections."
What happens during the treatment?
Treatment procedures do vary from clinic to clinic but a typical treatment should begin with an in-depth consultation about your skin and expectations.
During treatment the laser is applied to the surface of the skin using a hand-held device which works on repairing damaged skin by treating only a small fraction of skin at a time. This means that the surrounding area is unaffected, healthy tissue.
Dr. Alexandrides says: "Most patients describe an increased sensation of heat during the treatment. To minimize discomfort, topical anaesthesia is applied before the procedure and cooling is built directly into the hand piece for improved patient comfort.
After the treatment, most patients feel like they have experienced sunburn that usually subsides in 1 to 3 hours."
What kind of results can you expect?
A minimum of three Fraxel® laser treatments is usually recommended for optimum results (at least two weeks apart) but Dr. Rakus says even after your very first Fraxel® laser treatment session you will begin to feel the difference in your skin as it gradually becomes softer, smoother, tighter and fresher.
She says: "Fine lines around your eyes, uneven colouring and the bronze spots caused by aging and sun exposure will gradually fade. After several treatments, your skin will have a much more youthful and healthy glow with results that you can really see and feel."
Kim Kardashian complexion perfection here you come!
How does it differ to other treatments?
Traditionally, two kinds of laser treatment have been available for cosmetic skin treatment: ablative and non-ablative. Typical ablative treatments use a high temperature to vaporize unwanted tissue. Ablative laser treatments can be effective but the side effects aren't for the faint-hearted and recovery time can be quite long.
Non-ablative treatments, meanwhile, have very few side effects and low downtime, but they commonly require numerous treatments to produce more modest results. Dr. Alexandrides says: "Fraxel® laser treatment delivers the potency of ablative treatments with the gentle safety of non-ablative lasers. So you get the best of both worlds: dramatic results and less downtime."
In fact in terms of downtime Dr. Rakus says most patients should be able to return to work within 24 hours.
What are the risks?
Dr. Rakus says: "Due to the unique delivery of the Fraxel® laser system there are very few risks associated with the treatment. However, the skin can be highly sensitive and care must be taken to minimize any adverse reactions. Ensure that you complete your medical and skin history forms in full and discuss any skin problems you may have with your practitioner.
The most frequently associated risks normally disappear within a few days or weeks of treatment and can include swelling, redness, blanching, burns, blisters, scabbing, hyper or hypo-pigmentation changes, bruising, mild to moderate discomfort, itching, cold sores or infection."
Fraxel® costs from between $750 - $2000 per treatment session.
To find out more about fractional laser treatments visit www.fraxel.com.
Fraxel is a registered trademark of Solta Medical, Inc., or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and other countries.
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