If you've ever been a teenager then you're likely familiar with the embarrassment an acne breakout can cause. Many people suffer scars from their breakouts though, and the embarrassment can last longer than just a week. Among its many benefits, the Fraxel restore fractional resurfacing device can greatly reduce the appearance of acne scars, as well as rejuvenate the skin.
"We've been getting pretty good results with Fraxel, just doing the re:store for acne scaring," says Dr. Louis Cole, a plastic surgeon in Duluth, GA. Fractional resurfacing devices work by sending columns of light to the epidermis, damaging the outer layer and stimulating collagen growth. Because there are many columns of light that leave areas of skin between them undamaged, healing is greatly improved over older technologies that sent a solid beam of light.
The Fraxel device can be used on not only acne scars, but other scars and stretch marks as well. The acne scarring on the face though is often a focus for patients, because it can't easily be hidden under clothes. Patients who have been dealing with their acne scars for years can now see an improvement after just a few treatments. As Dr. Cole describes, "The Fraxel laser is excellent for treating the acne scars. The Fraxel re:store, which is the laser we have, is used on old acne scars that are 20-30 years old."
Dr. Cole says it is important that the patient not have any current acne breakouts, because there's a slight chance that the treatment could cause more acne in those patients. "As long as you don't have active acne when you have the consultation because there's about a 10% chance that doing the Fraxel can actually trigger acne, so you want to make sure you screen your patients properly and have the right patient population or person."
Patients can see results in only a couple of months. "It works very well and it usually takes anywhere from 3-5 treatments. It's a non-ablative type treatment, meaning that you're back to work in a day or two with a little redness and sunburned kind of a look. You need the treatments about every 3-4 weeks and you can expect at least a 50% improvement in your acne scarring," says Dr. Cole. Also, patients of any skin color can be treated. "You can do it on white skin, Asian skin, Hispanic skin or black skin and as long as you don't increase the area treated and trigger post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or dark spots, you can get away with helping their acne scarring and make them feel good in the process."