If you have ever considered getting a laser treatment, chances are you have stumbled upon Fraxel New York, a brand of laser that performs fractional skin resurfacing. Dermatologists use this laser treatment to improve the appearance of dark spots, unwanted texture, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and acne or other scarring. Undergoing a laser treatment without knowing what to expect can be intimidating. The following information gives you more insight into Fraxel laser treatment.

How do I prepare for treatment?

As with most treatments, it is necessary to consult a certified medical professional before committing to the procedure. Doing so helps you understand the ins and outs of treatment and establish if the procedure is appropriate for your skin concerns. During the consultation, inform your laser specialist about your sun exposure and if you have a history of herpes virus. The laser heat and the epidermis disruption can result in an outbreak, but to prevent this, your doctor pre-treats you with antivirals. Therefore, being as honest as possible during the consultation is essential.

Once your dermatologist establishes that you are a good candidate for laser treatment, they will offer several instructions to ensure you get the best results. For example, limit sun exposure for at least four weeks before treatment to avoid making your skin more sensitive to heat. You also want to avoid treatments that irritate your skin; they include chemical peels and ingredients like retinol, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid. If you have active acne, your dermatologist will reschedule your treatment when the breakout clears.

What to expect during a Fraxel laser treatment

A Fraxel treatment usually takes place at your dermatologist’s office and takes about 20 minutes. Before applying the laser, your provider applies numbing cream on your skin at least 45 minutes before treatment. Numbing is essential so that you don’t experience pain during laser treatment. Once the topical cream takes effect, your provider runs a laser wand over your face for about 15 minutes and may perform several passes over areas like your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. You may feel warmth during the procedure, which intensifies with each additional pass. The cooling air hose at the tips of the laser device helps counter some of that heat.

Laser treatment can be uncomfortable, but it is tolerable, and the numbing cream also helps. It is important to know that people have different pain thresholds, meaning what feels like excruciating pain to someone may be mild discomfort to you.

What are the possible side effects?

Lasers can be dangerous in the wrong hands, so you must choose a board-certified dermatologist who understands the skin structure and laser mechanics. Working with an inexperienced provider puts you at risk of skin burns.

Common side effects of Fraxel laser include pain, swelling, and redness; these are short-lived and resolve quickly. Expect a rough and scab-like texture on your skin post-procedure due to peeling. Infection is a possible side effect since the laser treatment compromises your skin barrier. Your acne can also temporarily worsen if you had it at the time of treatment.

To learn more about Fraxel laser treatment, consult your dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology.

Christin Burton