Fractional resurfacing treatments are a great solution for resolving uneven skin tone and texture. Several devices are currently available, one of them being the Fraxel re:pair, one of a family of Fraxel devices. Many regard Fraxel as the gold standard of fractional resurfacing and it is very popular among both patients and physicians.
Dr. Christopher Zachary, a dermatologist in Irvine, CA, explains how fractional resurfacing works, "The fractionated carbon dioxide ablative laser drills millions of tiny holes into the skin. These holes can go down to a millimeter or so, but they're very narrow." He says that each of these narrow cylinders of damage are surrounded by healthy skin which helps them heal much quicker than in traditional resurfacing, which did not leave these areas of undamaged skin.
Actual Fraxel re:pair Results, 3 months after treatment
Following treatment, patients can expect to see damage in the form of redness and even oozing at first. According to Dr. Zachary, "It's definitely a downtime procedure, probably 4 or 5 days. If these patients catch their reflection in the mirror, they're gonna see that they've got some serious injury going on, but they feel fine." He says that it's fine to go to work, but patients will want to limit social interaction.
Fractional treatments can be performed on different parts of the body, but most often they're done on the face because it tends to suffer the most sun damage. "Traditionally you're treating the face because that has lots of adnexia - hair follicles, sebaceous glands, sweat glands - but with Fraxel re:pair you can actually treat off the face." He says it's useful on the chest and the neck which both have adnexial structures.
Treatment is fast, only about 35-40 minutes for the whole face. Typically, patients will come in an hour or so earlier so that a topical anesthetic can be applied and allowed to take effect.
The speed of healing is also a benefit of the Fraxel re:pair. "I'm impressed with these fractionated systems," says Dr. Zachary. "After 4 or 5 days it's completely healed up and the patients have very little discomfort." To see full results takes some time as new collagen growth continues. "We get continued improvement for 3-6 months, up to about a year."
Dr. Zachary says treatment for the full face costs about $5000 and $6000 for the face and neck at his office in California. Treatment prices will vary greatly depending on your location.