How Does a Fraxel Laser Tighten Skin?

Aging is something that we all dread, but with modern laser skin resurfacing treatments, it is possible to reverse many of the unwanted signs of aging and bring your skin back to life. At Beverly Hills Sculptress, located right in Beverly Hills, CA, you can take advantage of the latest benefits the Fraxel laser has to offer. It only takes a few treatments to have brighter, tighter skin.

How Does a Fraxel Laser Tighten Skin?

Before you can understand how Fraxel works, you first need to understand that this unique laser treatment is non-invasive and non-surgical, and it is designed to help your skin tighten naturally over time. This treatment relies on your body’s natural healing mechanisms to jump-start your skin’s rejuvenation and create lasting results. You will often hear this treatment referred to as laser skin resurfacing because it focuses on helping improve the surface of skin using only lasers.

Breaking Through Dead Skin

The first step of the Fraxel treatment process is breaking through the layers of dead and damaged skin that have accumulated over the years. The laser creates tiny channels through the old skin cells to access the new layers of skin hidden beneath them. These tiny laser pathways help activate your body’s healing process, kickstarting it so that it can get to work producing new collagen right away.

Fractional Isolation

Another important thing to know about laser skin resurfacing is that it doesn’t treat the entire skin surface at once. Instead, it only treats about 15-20% of the skin’s surface in each session, breaking it down into tiny isolated areas similar to a matrix, called microthermal zones. The laser light pulses in alternating squares, targeting specific damaged cells in one area at a time. This is why it might take multiple treatments to achieve the results you desire.

However, it is this fractional process that makes the Fraxel treatment so painless and easy to recover from. Each microthermal zone is targeted by the laser, breaking up the damaged cell so that your body will know to flush it away. In the meantime, the area directly around the targeted cell is cooled by the Fraxel system to prevent heat damage to surrounding cells.

Flushing Out the Old Cells

Once your body notices that the damaged cells have been broken down by the laser, it begins a natural process of forcing these old cells out to be replaced by new cells. Flushing out the old cells can take a few days to complete, which is why your results will continue to improve between sessions and for several weeks following your final treatment.

Hello, New Skin

The final phase of the Fraxel laser process is the growth of new skin cells. These new skin cells replace the outer layer with the benefit of added collagen, which is responsible for keeping your skin tight and elastic. The more elasticity you have in your skin, the easier it is for your skin to tighten up naturally, and retain a smooth texture.

Those are the four basic steps that occur during a Fraxel treatment, which leads to healthier, younger-looking skin.

How Many Fraxel Sessions Are Needed for Tighter Skin?

The answer to this question depends largely on what type of skin damage is being treated and the size of the affected area. While many people seek laser skin resurfacing to reduce fine lines and age spots on the face, it can also be applied to the hands, shoulders, back, and other areas. Larger areas will require additional treatments, and the more severe the damage, the more sessions you may need. However, most patients are satisfied in three to five treatment sessions.

You will begin to see results after your first session, and your skin will continue to heal in the weeks in between as it works behind the scenes to replace the laser targeted cells.

How Long is Each Session? 

In general, you should plan to spend 2-3 hours at the treatment center for each treatment. During this time, you will receive a numbing cream that will help prepare your skin for treatment. Depending on which Fraxel laser is being used, you may or may not receive additional gel or dye to be applied to the skin. These additional treatments are not always required, but they can make the laser equipment function smoother and move over your skin easier.

It will take up to an hour for the numbing cream to take effect before your treatment can begin. The actual treatment with the laser usually only lasts one hour, depending on the size of the treatment area.

How Far Apart Will Sessions be Scheduled?

As mentioned above, much of the skin rejuvenation process actually happens after you leave your treatment. In order to see the real results of your Fraxel treatment, you will need to give your skin at least 3-6 weeks to heal between sessions. This will give your body plenty of time to flush out the old cells, build new cells, and reduce any redness or swelling that may have resulted from the previous treatment.

Once your skin has settled, your skin care specialist will be able to assess your progress and verify that your treatment plan is still on track. A three-week break between sessions will give your body ample time to produce new skin cells and make good progress before you undergo another session. For younger patients with more active collagen production, your doctor may opt for longer breaks between sessions, giving your body time to do as much work as possible on its own before reapplying the laser.

What Happens After the Final Treatment? 

Whether your treatment plan involves three treatments, five treatments, or more, your skin will continue to improve for several months after your last session. By about three weeks after your final treatment, you will have a good idea of what your final results will be, but that doesn’t mean your body has stopped working.

Since the Fraxel process activates your body’s collagen production, it stands to reason that this accelerates collagen production will continue for some time. In fact, you may continue to see small improvements for up to six months afterward.

What Does Recovery Look Like? 

Fraxel is a non-invasive procedure that requires very little recovery time for the patient. Nevertheless, your skin may show some redness or swelling for the first day or two after your treatment. This is caused by your skin’s natural reaction to the laser breaking down the damaged cells. Your skin may also feel warm to the touch, but it should not feel painful.

Your doctor will advise you to apply ice to cool the skin for a few minutes every few hours. This will help reduce swelling immediately and assist your skin with making a rapid recovery.

During this time, you should also avoid rubbing your face and applying any chemical skincare treatments that are not approved by your doctor. Common skincare chemicals like retinol could be harmful until your skin has recovered sufficiently. You should also avoid microdermabrasion and skin peels that could irritate the skin.

Your doctor will also advise you to avoid lengthy outdoor activities, and strenuous exercise that could cause sweating and strain for at least a few days after your treatment. Once the swelling and redness have gone down, you may be ready to return to normal activity.

What Can Fraxel Be Used to Treat? 

While many people look to Fraxel to achieve tighter skin around the face, neck, jawline, and chest, Fraxel is also used to treat a number of other skin conditions. Most notably, it can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen production, which will fill those lines with healthy, hydrated new cells.

Fraxel has also been shown effective when treating dark spots, acne scars, surgical scars, and other areas of irregular pigmentation. In this process, the laser specifically targets the darkened and damaged skin cells to be eliminated and replaced with undamaged cells for a more even complexion.

Are You a Candidate? 

If you struggle with any of the above skin conditions, you may be a candidate for Fraxel. Your doctor may also recommend additional treatment options such as fillers to help treat areas that cannot be effectively treated with Fraxel alone. This is common for deep wrinkles and dark circles around the eyes. Your doctor will be able to assess the current condition of your skin during a consultation and let you know if Fraxel is a good fit for you and your goals.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you are taking certain prescriptions, you may not be eligible for treatment right away. Your doctor will consult with you about your medical history and help you adjust or stop certain medications before your treatment to ensure proper healing.

How Long Do Results Last?

While Fraxel laser skin resurfacing is not a permanent procedure, it does produce long term results. Your skin will continue to rejuvenate itself for up to six months after your final treatment, and then you can expect your results to last for two to three years.

Protecting Your Skin

After your treatments are complete, the results you see long term will depend on how well you protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Your doctor will provide you with aftercare instructions for the weeks and months immediately following your treatment, but you will need to continue with regular use of sunscreen and skin protectants if you want your results to last.

It is important to use a quality sunscreen with at least 10% zinc or titanium content. The higher the SPF, the more protection the sunscreen will offer, and you should opt for at least 35 SPF whenever possible. In addition, you should reapply sunscreen every few hours to ensure that it continues working. Finally, you should wear a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside to reduce as much direct sunlight as possible from your face.

Other Tips for Extending Your Results

Aside from proper skincare, you can also prolong the results of your Fraxel treatment by taking good care of your body in other ways. Proper hydration goes a long way toward helping your skin keep its elasticity and smoothness. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables that provide your body with micronutrients is another good way to maintain younger-looking skin. You should also avoid washing your face with hot water, and make sure you have an approved skin care routine to use after your skin has healed completely.

Call us today at Beverly Hills Sculptress in Beverly Hills, CA. You could be on your way to tighter skin in no time. Our team is here to help you get the skin you love in as few as three simple treatments with the Fraxel laser.