So you’ve scheduled your first fractional laser treatment. You’re excited and prepared for the end result; better texture, improved sun damage, smaller pores, fewer wrinkles, maybe even some tightening. But are you prepared for the healing process?
Fraxel laser, FX laser, and the Icon laser systems use pinpoint microscopic columns of laser energy to resurface the skin in fractional increments. The method allows for faster healing since bridges of healthy untouched skin help speed the regeneration of the treated areas. Although considered to have minimal down-time, you may be shocked at your appearance following treatment. Here’s what to expect and how to cope.
How you will look:
Feeling as if you have had a very bad sunburn is common no matter which fractional laser you undergo, and it is normal to have dark pinpoint spots or scabs as well as blotchy redness and swelling following the treatment. In 24 to 48 hours the redness will turn to brown just like a sunburn turns to tan. As small areas of pigment come to the surface and darken the skin takes on the appearance of being flecked with “coffee grounds”.
What to do:
- Apply aloe or a gentle moisturizer following your procedure. The skin will feel rough to the touch as it begins to slough the treated skin. Use the aloe or moisturizer until all the peeling and flaking has stopped. Don’t use heavy moisturizers such as Aquaphor or Vaseline as it may contribute to acne breakouts.
- You may experience intense itching as the skin heals. Apply hydrocortisone 1% twice a day to help decrease swelling and itching. Taking an oral allergy medicine such as Benedryl can also help relieve the itching sensation.
- Although you may not feel like you’re presentable to the public, you may resume normal activities the day after treatment. Sunscreen is an absolute must as fresh skin is extremely prone to hyperpigmentation.
Making it through the healing process is easy when you know what to expect. From treatment to full recovery can take anywhere from 5 days for a moderate treatment to 7-10 days for aggressive treatment. Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa offers FX, Fraxel and Icon lasers for skin renewal. Your particular skin type will dictate which laser is appropriate for you.
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