With acne affecting 80% of people ages 11 to 30 years, millions end up dealing with at least some degree of scarring. While acne scars aren’t dangerous for your health, they tend to cause tremendous discomfort due to their appearance.
People of all ages struggle to find an efficient solution to the problem. From peels and microneedling to fillers and microsurgery, the variety of treatments is impressive. Unfortunately, only a few of them can provide the desired result.
One of the latest solutions to the acne scar problem is Fraxel laser. Let’s take a closer look at how effective it might be.
What Is Fraxel Laser?
Fraxel is a trademark name for a skin-resurfacing tool that uses fractional laser technology. The Fraxel device makes microscopic injuries to the skin in specific areas. The skin reacts by producing new healthy cells to heal the damage and replace the old tissue.
In short, Fraxel laser damages the skin gently to stimulate the body’s natural healing process and boost collagen production.
This technique works for a variety of skin issues, from unwanted pigmentation (sunspots, brown spots, age spots) to such imperfections as scars (acne, post-op, etc.). Some patients take advantage of this laser treatment to shrink pores and improve the skin tone.
The major advantage of Fraxel laser over other efficient acne scar solutions is that it’s minimally invasive. Without surgery, it’s possible to achieve both skin repair and rejuvenation effects.
Fraxel laser is FDA-approved for treating acne scars.
3 Types of Fraxel Laser
If you decide to take advantage of Fraxel laser for acne scar treatment, you have a choice of three different laser types.
Fraxel Repair (also called Fraxel Re:pair) is the most aggressive of all Fraxel laser options. This ablative laser delivers an intense stream of light to the scarred area and vaporizes columns of skin, so they can be replaced with healthy cells.
Fraxel Repair works well on acne scars but can also be used for sun damage, deep wrinkles, and other skin texture issues.
For five to seven days after the treatment, you can experience redness, swelling, bleeding, oozing, and crusting. This usually means taking at least a week off work.
Fraxel Restore (or Re:store) is much gentler than Re:pair. It uses a non-ablative laser to heat the skin and stimulate collagen production. It doesn’t work on deep acne scars or severe skin damage. However, it may be efficient for slight scarring, pigmentation, and moderate texture issues.
While you may experience some swelling and redness after the treatment, the total downtime usually doesn’t exceed a couple of days.
Fraxel Dual is the new generation Fraxel laser that’s a combination of the above two types. It generates two different wavelengths (1550 and 1927) — one for superficial scarring and pigmentation, the other for deeper scars and wrinkles.
The recovery time after using Fraxel Dual is about three days. While the treated areas can become red or swollen, there isn’t any bleeding. In some cases, the downtime may last up to a week.
How Many Fraxel Laser Treatments Do I Need?
Many acne sufferers are turning to laser treatments because they hope for an immediate effect. However, when it comes to acne scars, it’s impossible to remove them quickly.
Unless the issue is truly minor, you need to get ready for at least three Fraxel laser sessions. Patients with deep acne scars require as many as six to eight visits to achieve optimal results. The time between treatments is usually 4 to 6 weeks.
One Fraxel laser session lasts from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the area you want to cover.
Are the Results of Fraxel Laser Permanent?
When it comes to removing acne scars, the effect of Fraxel laser treatments is long-lasting but not permanent. Depending on the depth and severity of initial scars, the effect can last for several years.
While Fraxel is far from being a miracle treatment, it can address acne scar issues that other treatments can’t handle. Follow-up sessions spaced 3 to 7 years apart may be necessary.
Younger patients can expect to enjoy better outcomes than people older than 50. The fresher acne scars are, the easier they are to defeat. For long-established and extremely deep acne scars, you may want to consider a fractional CO2 laser.
How Do I Prepare for a Fraxel Laster Treatment?
While the Fraxel treatment doesn’t require any serious preparations, there are a few important steps to take:
Stop all other skin and acne treatments several weeks before the first Fraxel session (you can continue with other cosmetic treatments a couple of weeks after the procedure).
Don’t use any active products (Retinols, abrasive scrubs, peels, etc.) for at least a week before the treatment.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol on the day of the treatment.
Eat a healthy meal two hours before the treatment.
Your dermatologist will go over the preparation steps once you schedule the first Fraxel session. It’s important to share all information about acne scar treatments you are currently doing or have done in the past.
What Are the Side Effects of Fraxel Treatment for Acne Scarring?
Since the damage to your skin is minor, Fraxel laser treatment has minimal side effects. After the session, you are likely to experience swelling, redness, and crusting. If you choose the aggressive Re:pair option, some bleeding and oozing are possible.
The Takeaway: Is Fraxel Laser Effective for Acne Scars?
The Fraxel laser technology is based on the body’s ability to heal itself, producing healthy skin tissue to replace damaged cells. Studies show that Fraxel laser is an effective treatment for mild to medium-depth acne scars. While the procedure damages the skin, injuries are minor, and so is the downtime.
If you are unhappy with your acne scars, Fraxel could become an excellent solution. With its high efficiency and minimal side effects, this laser treatment can make a significant difference in your appearance.
For more information, please give us a call. One of our experienced dermatologists is ready to consult you about acne scar solutions at any convenient time
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