In the first part of my report on the Fraxel Laser, I described what a laser is, and more specifically, what the Fraxel laser is, and how it can re-surface skin to literally, turn back the hands of time. In this post, I’m going to describe my actual first experience with the Fraxel laser, at the office of board certified dermatologist Dr. Gervaise Gerstener (East 69th Street, NYC).
When Is the Best Time to Have A Fraxel Laser Treatment?
I’d like to say that any time is a good time, but before Dr. Gerstner was ready to begin the process of removing things from my face that have been damaged, along my life’s path, I had to actually consider the timing of treatment. Unlike more agressive laser peels, most people undergoing Fraxel treatments will do it in a series of less intensive sessions that offer great results, but with less side effects. This is very appealing to busy men and women who just don’t have time for “down time.” But, even though the side effects are mild, the best time to schedule Fraxel is when you’re planning to be out of the sun, and not sunbathing or at the beach. You also need to schedule treatment in advance of your “closeups” because it takes time for your skin to heal and look it’s best, after the treatments.
The Fraxel 1550 laser used on my skin to remove sun damage, utilizes a scanning device to apply highly concentrated, tiny laser pulses that create microscopic “wounds” all over your face through which new skin will form. While you won’t see any actual cuts on your face, it is going to irritate your complexion, so you’re not going to want to have Fraxel treatments close to the timing of a special event. You’ll probably need 3-4 weeks between treatments to allow your skin to heal. The Fraxel laser is a marvel, but it’s not an instant miracle worker. All good things take time.
Side Effects of the Fraxel Laser:
Once you have a Fraxel treatment, depending upon your skin, it will look pink to red, as if you’ve had a sunburn, and your skin will feel hot to the touch. There may also be swelling, and your skin may feel and look dry. You can’t see the tiny, microscopic wounds in your skin that the laser creates, but you can feel them a little bit. When I rubbed my hands over my face a few hours after treatment, it actually felt a bit rough. This, of course, will go away as my skin heals.
The Fraxel Laser in Dr. Gervais Gerstner’s treatment room
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AFTER A FRAXEL LASER TREATMENT:
Once the treatment was completed, a full face ice pack was immediately applied to my face for about 20 minutes. Under the mask, my face felt hot and it throbbed for a while. I was advised that the Fraxel-treated areas of my skin would be red, irrated, and swollen right after the treatment, and that these symptoms could last for several days, with the remainder of the swelling gradually disappearing over the next 1-2 weeks. Some people may also experience tenderness and itching and well as dry patches of skin. In rare cases, there may be some blitering and crusting (this is rare). A bronzed skin appearance may occur, and occasionally, small brown dots will be visible on the skin surface. These occur because brown pigment in the skin is being eliminated, This also ceases to be an issue within 1-2 weeks.
Is the Fraxel laser for you?
Check out the Fraxel Web Site and you’ll see dramatic before & after photos and learn more about the process. And, follow this blog as I report on what is happening with my skin! You can learn more about Dr. Gerstner and what treatments she can offer you. FYI: Dr. Gerstner earned her M.D. degree from Mount Sinai Medical Center. She helps people of all ages not just with cosmetic dermatology but those with a variety of skin issues, and even skin cancer. She has done research on a wide range of topics from chemical peels to melanoma. Her work has been published in several dermatologic journals and she has served as book editor for Clinics in Dermatology.
Dr.Gerstner utilizes a range of lasers as well as serves as preceptor and lecturer for Fraxel. Currently, she serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai where she volunteers in clinical and academic settings and interviews for the medical school admission. Dr. Gerstner is also an associate member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatologic Surgeons. She is a member of the Dermatology Foundation and the Skin Cancer Foundation. Dr. Gerstner has been featured and quoted in numerous fashion and high end publications,