All that aside, week two is looking up. My skin is healing and looking less red. The scabs and dry patches are going away, as are the brown spots and whiteheads. I’m still trying hard to stay out of the sun (not entirely possible) and wear lots of moisturiser and a sunscreen of at least SPF 30. The best part is that even with just this one treatment, I can see a visible difference.
Last week I blogged about my first Fraxel experience. Fraxel sounds like it could be a board game, but it is something a lot more serious that that: Fraxel Laser Treatments can literally resurface skin and make it look smoother and more toned. The treatment is called “fractional” because only a small part of the skin is treated, leaving the remainder of the skin to speed the healing process. The laser is cleared for skin resurfacing by the FDA for a number of dermatological procedures such as the removal of reduction of acne scars, sun/age spots, wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, melasma, and off-face skin resurfacing such as hands and chest.
So last Monday I found myself in the elegant offices of board certified dermatologists Dr. Gervaise Gerstener, and Dr. Amy Wechsler. I’d been given the opportunity to try this high-tech treatment myself. If you want to know more about what the Fraxel treatment can do, and how it works, click here.
I was informed that my skin would look less gorgeous, before it looked better. Good information is essential when you are doing something new, because then you can keep your expectations, realistic. The first few days after the treatment skin was really red and somewhat irritated,although I didn’t notice that much swelling. As it began to heal, I discovered that I had some other, not so glamorous side effects: some tiny scabs, very dry patches of skin, itching, small brown dots on my skin, especially around my temples (these occur because brown pigment in the skin is being eliminated). I had to use even more moisturizer and sun screen than I usually do, and the combination made me break out in whiteheads, I made an investment in a very large brimmed hat (more suitable to the Kentucky Derby than my daily life, but it is a head turner). I tired of having to explain that I didn’t just come from a week in the sun, but instead, a few minutes with a laser.
The photo on the left was taken the day of my first treatment, by Dr. Gerstner’s assistant, Joanna. But the photo on the right is one I took msyelf, with my blackberry, just a few minutes ago! The color is off (it’s a Blackberry and I’m pointing it at myself, after all) but you can see that the fine lines (hate to call them crows feet) around my eyes are already much less. With additional Fraxel treatments and one specifically for brown spots, perhaps it is possible that the Fraxel really is a time machine and can turn back the hands of time!
My skin needs more time to heal, but thanks to Dr. Gerstner and Fraxel, I will be continuing the treatments — hopefully I will have the next one in about four weeks.
*FYI: Fraxel may be a modern miracle, but it isn’t a cheap one. Fraxel treatment can range between $750 and $1250 depending upon where you are in the United States, and of course, your doctor’s fees. A chart I found online at Real Simple gives an idea of what Fraxel Treatments cost, by state (and they say the average cost is $2, 287). You can also read comments about Fraxel there as well. But I caution you: people tend to put comments online when they are very happy with something, or very unhappy with it. Those in the middle rarely do. And, as I’m reading through the comments, I personally get from them that ediucation about the treatement, and realistic expectations about what you can acheive, are a huge part of whether you’ll be satisfied or not. It also depends upon the reputation and skill of the doctor. If you find someone offering you Fraxel for a fraction of the cost: beware! You don’t always get what you pay for in this world, but you always pay for what you get. Fraxel may not be for the frugal, but if you want it, save up and go somewhere safe.
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