This week a patient asks, “Fraxel….is it a laser or a procedure? I want a one treatment improvement in my fine wrinkles and brown spots. Is this possible?”

Dr. Kulick’s ANSWER: Fraxel is a brand name, like Coca Cola or Pepsi. It was one of the first fractional lasers to become available. It provided very small spots of ablation compared to previous technology. Since then, many other companies have made devices that provide “micro-ablation.” Often, potential clients will call into our office asking if we provide Fraxel procedures, as they’ve seen fraxel terminology advertised, or pushed out across various forms of media.

What many people don’t realize is that many other fractional lasers are available, and MAY EVEN BE BETTER (more efficient, effective and safe) than the original Fraxel device. As always, it’s important to talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon first, before asking specifically for one brand of laser. It may be that another, better-fitting option is available to you. For sure, the original FRAXEL device is very effective.

In summary, fractional lasers are ablative, meaning that they vaporized the top layers of the skin, removing those layers to allow baby-smooth and clear skin to rise to the surface. This requires a recovery process. The more ablative the fraxel pattern/energy delivered, the longer the recovery and potential improvement. However, fractional lasers differ from other ablative lasers, in that they ablate the tissue in small areas, leaving the surrounding areas uninjured.

It is common for patients to receive laser treatment for their face, neck and chest areas, as these areas often receive the blunt effects of the environment, smoking, drinking and life in general. It’s important to keep in mind that the recovery process can be a difficult for even the bravest souls. For the first several days to several weeks after the procedure, patients often feel like they look like Carrie (post-humiliating-prom-prank). While the results can be GORGEOUS, I’d recommend coming into our office to discuss laser procedures, to determine what’s right for you!

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