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What is Fraxel?

Fraxel is a non-invasive, microscopic laser that changes the surface of your face by penetrating your skin to encourage new collagen and elastin growth. Fraxel only targets a fraction of the skin at a time, which is why it’s also known as a fractional skin resurfacing treatment. Fraxel smooths wrinkles and scars, fades brown spots and hyperpigmentation, and basically resurfaces your entire skin tone. Fraxel is one of the more aggressive lasers offered at most dermatologist offices, which is how it’s able to get rid of things like pockmarks (aka those pitted, indented acne scars known as ice pick, boxcar, and rolling scars).

Before my Fraxel appointment.

This treatment is low-maintenance—at least, beforehand. You’ll need to stop using any product that can cause skin sensitivities a full 10 days before your treatment, along with 10 days after (that includes retinol, exfoliants, and acids, like glycolic acid or salicylic acid). Note: If you’re breaking out, your dermatologist may want to postpone until your zits have calmed down, so let the office know ahead of time if you find yourself in an acne showdown.

How painful is Fraxel laser?

The treatment is about 15 to 25 minutes, plus another 45 minutes for the topical anesthesia (numbing cream) to kick in before getting started. Many people consider the ablative type of Fraxel to be quite intense and painful (some describe it as being stung by bees or feeling like your face is straight-up burning), even with the numbing cream.

How long is your face red after Fraxel?

The downtime to ablative Fraxel (so Fraxe