What is a Fraxel Laser? How It Works and What to Expect
Have you heard of Fraxel lasers? This skin resurfacing treatment has been making noise because of its promise to restore your youthful glow. Aside from that, Fraxel laser treatments clinics here in Singapore can treat a multitude of skin woes. From hyperpigmentation, acne, scars, and dullness, it has everything you need to treat your imperfections for good.
But what does the whole treatment entail? Sit back and relax – because we have all the answers right below.
Fraxel laser treatment
In a nutshell, Fraxel laser treatment is a do-it-all fractional laser for your skin. It uses non-invasive, microscopic laser beams to transform the surface of your skin and boost collagen and elastin production. And if you’re wondering what Fraxel means, well, it’s short for fractional, since it targets a fraction of your skin. As such, it’s also known as a fractional laser treatment.
Fraxel laser smooths out wrinkles & scars, eliminates dark spots & hyperpigmentation, and resurfaces younger skin. Worth noting, however, is that it’s one of the harsher laser treatments today (which we’ll discuss in a few!). Still, we can look at it as a perk! While it is more aggressive, it’s why it can remove even the deepest, most indented scars on your face.
How Fraxel lasers work
Before delving into how Fraxel laser works, we have to discuss the two types of laser treatments: ablative and non-ablative.
Ablative lasers resurface your skin by wounding it or peeling off the outer layer and heating the tissues underneath. This technique pushes your skin to create new collagen and grow new skin as it heals itself. However, it comes with serious downtime – your skin will literally peel off and become red as a chilli. But after that, your face becomes smoother, tighter, younger, and fresher!
On the other hand, non-ablative lasers only heat the tissues beneath the surface so they won’t wound your skin. It also helps stimulate collagen growth, but without removing the top layer of your skin. This laser treatment can soothe redness, fade wrinkles, scars and dark spots, and treat acne.
Now that’s out of the way, the question persists: is Fraxel laser ablative or non-ablative? Well, the answer is both. Fraxel laser treatments Singapore clinics offer are customisable, depending on the results you want to achieve. It depends on what type of treatment you want!
But no matter the type of treatment you choose, Fraxel or fractional lasers work the same. Essentially, its mechanism speeds up your body’s natural healing process to take advantage of the collagen boost and cell renewal. The heat from the lasers creates layers of microscopic damage in your skin and tissues. It removes all of your old, damaged cells to make way for newer, younger, and healthier ones. It’s as if you’re getting a brand-new layer of skin! Moreover, your skin produces more collagen when it goes into healing mode, giving you a smoother, plumper complexion.
If you’ve finally decided to join the Fraxel laser treatment bandwagon, allow us to walk you through it.
Fractional lasers are pretty much low-maintenance, at least when it comes to preparation. First, stop using any product that can trigger your skin sensitivity ten days before your appointment. This includes retinol, exfoliants, and skincare acids like glycolic, salicylic, lactic, and more. Additionally, avoid sun exposure for four weeks before your Fraxel laser treatment. You should also avoid getting chemical peels and other exfoliating treatments two weeks before the procedure. Your doctor might also not push through with the treatment if you’re currently breaking out. So, if you’re having an acne flare-up, inform your doctors beforehand so they can reschedule once your zits calm down.
Once you have the go signal and it’s the day of the treatment, you’ll be numbed topically for 45 minutes. It prevents you from feeling any discomfort from the heat of the laser. The entire process will not take more than an hour – 30 minutes at best. However, it also depends on which part of the face you will be treated.
During your treatment, a laser wand will run over your face, doing at least two passes on every area. Since this is a fractional laser treatment, it only targets a fraction of your skin at a time. It will go over your forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose multiple times before it gets to work. It’s almost as if filling a grid –you must go over it several times to get the ideal results. Expect to feel the laser’s heat as it goes through your skin as well. It’s not as uncomfortable and painful thanks to the numbing cream, but you will still feel it. It’ll be manageable, anyway, since the wand also emits cold air to soothe the treated areas. After the procedure, your doctor may apply soothing serums and sunscreen to protect and calm your skin.
At SW1, Fraxel lasers start from $1000. It can be a bit expensive, especially since these are the prices per session. But once you see its results, it’ll be all worth it!
Although this is non-invasive, you’ll have to spend three to five days of downtime because of the peeling and redness. Make sure to wear plenty of sun protection after getting Fraxel laser treatment. You should also avoid using harsh or prescription acne products on your skin for up to a week. Most importantly, do not exfoliate or pick your skin at all costs. It will peel off on its own, so leave it be to avoid worsening your already red skin. Use a gentle cleanser and moisturise twice daily to soothe the skin and prevent irritations.
Risks and side effects
Having red, irritated, and extra-sensitive skin is normal, especially after your Fraxel laser treatment. Because of the fast cell turnover, you may experience a purging of sorts with a breakout of whiteheads. Also, Fraxel lasers may not be ideal for patients suffering from melasma, a complex type of hyperpigmentation. Of course, your dermatologist will tell you if your skin is suitable for laser treatment, so make an appointment regardless.
Fraxel laser treatment at SW1
Considering a full skin rejuvenating treatment? The Fraxel Laser treatment at SW1 will help smoothen fine lines, fade pigmentation and give you that glow of a full re-jig. You can also look forward to managing mild acne scarring and minimise the appearance of acne pit scars from the past. But remember, as with other cosmetic procedures, the results from Fraxel laser treatments vary based on your skin type, and the extent of pigmentation or scarring. A few sessions, as planned with your doctor will help to progressively enhance your skin, and bring it back to its youthful, pre-spot glory!
About the Author – Dr Michelle Lim
Dr Michelle Lim obtained her medical degree at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2009. After this, she completed her Ophthalmology apprenticeship at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne where she also undertook her postgraduate clinical research fellowship in retinal vascular disease.
Dr Lim trained intensively as an eye surgeon at the Singapore National Eye Centre and has a special interest in microsurgery and general ophthalmic procedures including cataract, refractive, glaucoma, cornea, retina, neuro-ophthalmology and oculoplastic.
With this specialised background in Ophthalmology, Dr Lim brings attention to detail and key surgical finesse to aesthetic procedures: from rejuvenating lasers to anti-wrinkle injections to periorbital fillers. Her sense of aesthetics also extends to other parts of the face and body as she has a keen eye for detail and an appreciation for the artistry of facial aesthetics.