Fraxel Laser Treatment
Think of pixels in a photo when you think of Fraxel Laser Treatment (FLT). If you look at a newsprint photo up close, you'll see that the image is actually comprised of thousands of tiny spots of ink. Similarly, FLT produces thousands of tiny treatment zones on skin, known as MicroThermal Zones (MTZs), in the emerging science of Fractional Photothermolysis.
These MTZs penetrate deep into the dermis and eliminate old epidermal pigmented cells. Just as important, though, are the areas of skin the Fraxel laser leaves untouched. The Fraxel laser is so precise that it penetrates through the stratum corneum, as if it was a window, and leaves it completely intact. For every MicroThermal Zone the laser targets and treats intensively, it leaves the surrounding tissue unaffected and intact. This "fractional" treatment allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire area were treated at once, using the body's natural healing process to create new, healthy tissue to replace skin imperfections.
How Fraxel Laser Treatment Works
Fraxel Laser Treatment produces thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment in your skin, known as microthermal treatment zones. This treatment eliminates old epidermal pigmented cells. It also penetrates deep into the dermis. Just as important, though, are the areas of skin the Fraxel laser leaves untouched. For every microthermal zone the laser targets and treats intensively, it leaves the surrounding tissue unaffected and intact. This "fractional" treatment allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire area were treated at once, using the body's natural healing process to create new, healthy tighter tissue to replace skin imperfections.
At your initial consultation, a certified consultant will determine the best treatment plan for your desired results. By design, each Fraxel Laser Treatment targets between 20 and 25 percent of the skin's surface. Clinical studies suggest that on average, an effective treatment regimen is 3 to 5 sessions, spaced about 4 to 6 weeks apart. Depending upon your condition and schedule, you and the consultant may choose to space treatment sessions even further apart. Results are immediate and progressive. Optimal improvement is usually visible in about 2 to 3 months. Because Fraxel Laser Treatment spares healthy tissue, it is effective even on delicate skin areas, such as the neck, chest and hands.
Preparing for Treatment
Fraxel Laser Treatment can be performed right in your doctor's office using only topical anesthesia in most cases. If you are having a significant area of your skin treated, the nurse will develop a pain management approach to maximize your comfort during the procedure.
The treatment area will be thoroughly washed prior to the procedure. OptiGuide Blue, an FDA approved water soluble tint, is applied to the treatment area to highlight the contours of the skin. This tint is washed off after treatment.
What Happens After Treatment
You will experience a mild sunburn sensation for about an hour and then minimal discomfort. The skin will have a pinkish tone for 5 to 7 days. This is a normal sign that the skin is deeply healing. Swelling is minimal and generally resolves in 2 to 3 days.
New epidermal skin develops within 24 hours. This process of skin repair involves:
Bronzing: Your skin will have a bronze appearance that lasts anywhere from 3 to 14 days, depending on your treatment level.
Flaking: Your skin will naturally and vigorously exfoliate as new skin replaces dead tissue. Flaking is similar to that of minor sunburn, but without the associated pain. Use of a moisturizer will mask the appearance of flaking.
Sunscreen: Be sure to use sunscreen at least twice daily to protect your skin from sun exposure during both the healing phase and for several months after treatment. Apply a moisturizing sun block with an SPF of at least 30 plus.
For added protection, use wide-brimmed hats when in direct sunlight. Over the following weeks and months, the body repairs the deeper dermal tissues that have been affected by the
Fraxel treatment, producing longer beneficial changes associated with a healthy, youthful appearance.