Over the years, many laser technologies have been developed to address the needs of the cosmetic patient, including hair removal and “resurfacing” or “dye” lasers, but the recent development of the Fraxel® laser has been met with widespread acceptance for many of our patient’s complaints about their skin. And the best thing about this laser technology is that it rejuvenates aged and damaged skin without burning the surface (like the CO2 laser does), and that it can be done on virtually any body area; also, the Fraxel® treatments are done in the office, using topical anesthesia and surface “cooling”.
The Fraxel® laser has three variations, and the version available in our practice is the “Restore” type, which uses a 1550 nanometer light wavelength. This laser transfers light energy to the treated body area, without “burning” the skin, but it penetrates deeper into the dermis (the layer of skin just beneath the outer epidermis layer) than any other laser, thus changing the deeper elements of the skin–often where the damage begins, as with excessive sun damage, or acne (or surgical) scarring. For the baby-boomers, who didn’t think to use sunblock when they were at the pool or beach, or for people who grew up outdoors, especially in the West or in Florida (on in the country here in the Midwest), the face, neck and chest (and occasionally even the arms and legs) have begun to show the evidence of the extreme damage to the skin that all that sun exposure caused. And the Fraxel® laser addresses the blotchy pigmentation, the loss of textural “smoothness”, the dilated pores and fine vessel pattern (and even the areas of skin breakdown, which in many cases are pre-cancerous) and the fine wrinkle lines that have resulted from too much sun.
Since the laser penetrates deep into the skin, there is a lot of thermal damage (but no blistering of the skin, because the treatment is “spread out” over 4 sessions to minimize skin damage); the good thing about the deep penetration is that this laser gives us improvement in deep damage that was not available with previous lasers, to address deep acne scarring, and deep-seated changes in the cellular base of the skin (like pre-cancerous changes) by virtue of coagulating the tissues in the laser beam “tracts”, and then from the new collagen that the body deposits into these “tracts”, which not only eradicates the imperfections (like “mini” biopsies), but then rejuvenates the skin with brand new collagen, to give the skin a fresh start, from the “bottom up”. The final “bloom” of the collagen takes several months following the final Fraxel® laser treatment, but the results can be exhilarating.
Dr. Scheu does the Fraxel® laser treatments himself in our office, and the time to perform each treatment varies, depending upon how many areas are treated (as does the cost), and, as with all cosmetic treatments, insurance does not pay for Fraxel® laser treatments.
Since the laser contact with the skin causes discomfort, a powerful topical anesthetic is applied to the skin to be treated, and this is left in place for an hour, for maximal comfort with the treatments (which is helped even more by the use of ultra-cold air directed onto the skin during the treatment), and some patients even take a “pain pill” beforehand. For examples of pre-and post-treatment results, please go to the Fraxel® website–or make an appointment to come in for a consultation with Dr. Scheu about what the Fraxel® laser could do for you.
Have additional questions about the Fraxel® Laser? Contact us today.