Fraxel in depth
In today’s world, most skin gripes can be solved with some form of beauty treatment. From Botox to fillers, women and men now have the luxury to alter the way they look with simple, fast and effective procedures that don’t require going under the knife.
Fraxel is one such option, used by those dealing with acne scars or deep lines and wrinkles.
“The technical term is fractional non ablative laser,” Dr. Firas Al-Niaimi of Harley Street’s Sk:n clinic told Cover Media. “It generates columns of heat into the deeper layer of the skin and that heat will then improve the tightening of your collagen and stimulate the deeper layer of the skin. The heat kick starts an inflammatory response and switches on certain cells to produce better collagen.
“And when the collagen is better that’s basically the matrix of the parts of the skin we’re going to stretch.”
We tested it out on acne scarring, and found that skin was noticeably improved after just one treatment, of the recommended three.
Prior to having Fraxel I had a consultation with Dr. Al-Niaimi at Sk:n where he talked through the process, and what other options there are available. After discussing microneedling, we decided Fraxel was for me and I booked in for an appointment.
On the day of the procedure, a numbing cream is smoothed on to the area for an hour before the laser is applied to the skin - take a book with you for this.
I only have scarring on one cheek so had a relatively small area worked on, which meant the treatment was over in no more than 10 minutes. It may be fast, but boy does it sting. At first it was bearable but soon it began to feel like a needle was being dragged across my skin over and over again. I didn’t need to tell Dr. Al-Niaimi to stop, but it did get uncomfortable at times. My eyes definitely had a little stream!
As warned, my skin was really red – so red it was nearly purple. It was also really hot, and I could feel the burning for the whole train ride home. Seriously, people could have warmed their hands on my radiator of a left cheek. After about two hours the purple hue faded to red, which lasted about two days, dulling enough by the Monday when I was back at work. Makeup, which is fine to wear after a day or two, covered the redness for the next two weeks until it finally went down.
The days and weeks after
Fraxel can leave skin dry and scaly, which for me lasted about four weeks. Sk:n provide you with an aftercare kit, made up of an Avene cleanser, spring water spray and their own intensive moisturiser, and it’s important to apply them regularly. Do so religiously for the hours that follow, though it won’t fully stop skin from peeling but it does help.
Fraxel left my cheek feeling like sandpaper, and after three weeks I began to worry that this was for good, but seven days later it had all but disappeared. It’s important to note though that the dry skin generally looks OK, it’s just rough to touch, so this won’t stop you getting on with life. I also had a few whiteheads pop up, but this is common after the laser, and again after a few weeks these went.