Fractional Laser Treatment in Review

Fractional laser treatment is a non-invasive procedure. This treatment was designed to deliver a laser beam that has been divided up into thousands of microscopic treatment zones. It is used to treat facial wrinkles and lines, and skin pigmentation. It will also help to firm up the skin. It can be used anywhere on the body, but it responds well on the face, hands and chest. It may also be used for stretch marks and poikiloderma of Civatte. This procedure can be done for those that wish to relieve scarring, improve the tone and texture of the skin, and to reduce noncancerous lesions by replacing sun damaged skin with fresh new skin. A treatment of fraxel usually costs between $900 to $1200.


With fractional laser treatments, a patient is getting the best of two worlds. There are currently two kinds of laser treatments on the market, ablative treatments, which use a high temperature to vaporize any unwanted tissue, and non-ablative treatments, which require multiple treatments. Ablative treatments can cause many side effects that are unwanted and require downtime. With fractional laser treatments, one can get great results with no downtime and limited side effects will be seen. 


Fractional laser treatments work by getting deep down under the skin's surface. Imperfections such as fine lines and wrinkles will be addressed. The skin's collagen is stimulated so skin cells are rejuvenated to smooth the skin out. Results are very effective as fractional laser treatment is only used on targeted areas that have issues. 


When having a fractional laser treatment done, one can expect the dermatologist to look for problem areas on the skin. Next a tailored treatment program will be mapped out. Pre-treatment photos will be taken and all jewelry and makeup will need to be removed. The face will need to be washed well with soap and water. An anesthetic cream will be applied, which will take up to an hour to kick in. The cream is then removed and the gliding gel will be applied to the face where treatment will take place. This gel will allow the device to move freely across the face. The treatment process is fast, usually about 30 minutes for a full face. A Zimmer machine will be used to reduce any pain. The Zimmer machine will cool the face down, which feels similar to a sunburn. After the treatment is done the gliding gel is washed off the face. 


For about 3 to 5 days after the treatment, the skin will have a pink tone to it. Any swelling will be resolved in 48 to 72 hours. Skin can have a bronzed appearance for up to 14 days. As new skin is being replaced, flaking may also occur. One can treat with a moisturizing cream. After the treatment, one will be advised to wear a sunblock of at least SPF 30 and protect themselves from the sun with sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat. 

There are some side effects that take place with fractional laser treatments. These can include swelling where treatment took place. Ice packs can help to relive this if applied for the first 24 hours. Post-inflammatory pigmentation may also occur. This usually happens only with those that have a history of melasma and in those that have darker skin types. Crusting, scaling and peeling are also common side effects. 


Four to five treatments will most likely be needed to see the best results. These treatments are spaced out a month apart. Slowly results will begin to form and will become fully visible in three or four months.