The Fraxel® DUAL (with 1550 and 1927 wavelengths) by Solta Medical is the newer, better upgrade to the popular Fraxel® laser that has been featured on T.V. shows and media for years. This brand-name laser is unlike its competition, and has the backing of over 50 clinical studies, with FDA approval in the United States. The brand has also filed for more than 17 patents for it’s one-of-a-kind technological advances, since it first came out in 2003.
Despite their similarities in name (and sometimes in application), the Fraxel® DUAL laser and Smartskin+ Fractional CO2 are not the same. Nor are they variations of each other. They are both fractional lasers, but they operate at different levels on the skin, and are used for different skin conditions. That said, they can be complementary lasers. At our skincare and laser clinic in Surrey, B.C., we may use a combination of both, plus more, in a single treatment plan. That way, we can better solve skin concerns for our patients.
Coming in for a consultation at our office is the first step in determining a course of treatment for any skin issues you’d like to resolve with fractional laser. Be it rosacea, visible veins, red and brown spots, wrinkles and lines, acne scars, moles and skin tags, or a host of other skin complaints, we are more than likely to be able to help. The Fraxel® DUAL is just one of the tools in our arsenal of modern, updated lasers.
What is there to love about this skin pigmentation and revitalization laser?
The Fraxel® DUAL offers us the option of treating skin discolouration problems by using two lasers at the same time. This gives patients a more effective, deeper treatment, without creating invasive wounds on the skin. That means quicker, longer-lasting results with less downtime, and less pain.
In addition, the Fraxel® laser can be used to heal scarring, and to smooth textured skin or minor wrinkles. We love its versatility. It avoids the old-fashioned necessity of using very strong, ablative lasers in all cases, when the patient doesn’t require it. We now have a mid-way option that is safer, and better for the job at hand.
The Fraxel® DUAL is also a brand-name offering. In short, that means it’s the best at what it claims to do. Buyers should be aware that there are copycats out there. By sticking to the Fraxel® brand, you get the assurance of quality and safety. In this case, the brand name is not just a label slapped onto a generic product; there is a lot of research and development that goes into this laser’s technology, and it’s not an easy thing to replicate.
What can Fraxel® DUAL be used for?
The Fraxel® DUAL is a mid-level, non-ablative skin resurfacing laser meant for improving skin tone, texture and fine lines. It can also be used for scarring.
Generally, at our laser clinic, Fraxel® DUAL is used for cases of:
- Sun damage, such as brown spots, age spots, sun spots and the like.
- Actinic Keratosis (AK) lesions from prolonged sun exposure.
- Scar removal, such as for acne scars on the face, chest or back.
- Minor wrinkles and anti-aging treatments, such as crow’s feet, atrophic wrinkles between the eyes, laugh or frown lines around the lips, etc.
However, depending on the case, we may use other machines that either go deeper, or more shallowly into the skin. For example, microdermabrasion for surface-level skin exfoliation may do the trick for one person. But for another person, a fractional CO2 laser that does a more comprehensive job may be needed. The pros and cons of each option must be balanced against the results desired, and the downtime that can ensue afterwards.
How does the Fraxel® DUAL work to correct redness, brown spots and skin tone?
The Fraxel® DUAL works by creating very tiny punctures in the skin. Actually, these are scientifically called “microthermal zones.” We are speaking of very tiny ‘holes’ being made in your skin by the Fraxel® laser. That is, about 1,000 – 2,000 microthermal zones per centimetre.
Instead, the lasered skin cells remain in the ‘holes’ that were created during treatment. After treatment, those cells die off. The body slowly, and naturally, ejects the dead skin cells, and replaces them with renewed skin and collagen. Thus, you are left with 15 – 20% new, healthy and supple-looking skin. This process takes about 4 – 8 weeks to complete. At that point, another treatment can ensue for better and better results.
The post-treatment effect on the skin is similar to the feeling of getting a sunburn (except it is safer, controlled and not designed to permanently damage your skin!). The healing time goes by much faster than with ablative lasers, like the Erbium YAG (Er:YAG) or the Smartskin+ fractional CO2 laser.
When you arrive for your appointment, we will cleanse your skin and apply a numbing cream on the area to be treated. About 1 hour later, we will remove the numbing cream and begin the Fraxel® laser treatment. We will go over the area, pulse-by-pulse, multiple times. Each pulse will cover about 1 cm in diameter.
The treatment will feel like pins and needles being poked into the skin. It may also feel hot. There will be cold air blown alongside the pulses to help reduce this sensation. Pain is described as mild to moderate by those who have undergone a Fraxel® laser treatment. However, each person’s pain tolerance is different.
Depending on how big of an area you would like treated, a single session can last between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. For example, a facial treatment could take 45 to 60 minutes. But the face, neck and chest together could take up to 1.5 hours.
How many treatments does the Fraxel® DUAL take to achieve permanent skin discolouration correction?
The number of treatments you’ll need for your specific condition can vary. For example, deep acne scarring and red colouring on the skin may require 6 or more treatments. But lighter coloured brown spots may take under 5 treatments.
To give a very general idea, most patients need around 3 to 5 treatments, every 2 to 4 weeks. The exact schedule for your condition is best determined after an in-person, professional consultation at our clinic.
You should start to see results as soon as one week after your first treatment. Your skin may appear noticeably smoother and less blotchy.
After about 2 – 3 months of going through a regular treatment schedule, you’ll start to see better and better results. Sometimes, people see results after 3 to 6 months. Remember, it takes time for your body to push out the dead skin cells, and make way for new ones.
During treatments and after, you should be taking very good care of your skin, in order to see long-lasting results. This means wearing high-SPF sunscreen, and not tanning.
The actual length of Fraxel® laser effectiveness will ultimately depend on your genetic aging process. That said, it is not impossible for results to last years after a course of treatments, with perhaps only an annual maintenance session required.
Is there downtime with Fraxel® DUAL for pigmentation correction? What about side effects?
There is not a lot of downtime with a Fraxel® laser treatment. However, that is not to say there is no downtime. The feeling after treatment can be likened to having a sunburn. But this sensation should subside within a few hours or less. Most people are comfortable enough to drive home after a treatment session. You can also apply makeup immediately after treatment, if redness is a concern.
Other redness, swelling and peeling can last for around 1 week on the face. On the neck and chest, these after effects can last 10 days to 2 weeks.
Our doctor is on staff to help you with any concerns you may have regarding side effects from a Fraxel® laser treatment.
What is the cost of pigmentation removal with Fraxel® DUAL at your skin clinic?
The cost for a Fraxel® laser treatment in Surrey can vary depending on the condition being treated. We will first take a look at the size of the area, and the depth of skin damage or discolouration. This will determine not only how long a single treatment can take, but also how many treatment cycles are required.
In general, a single treatment can cost between $900 – $2,000. But remember, this is only a guide. A consultation at our clinic can give you a better idea of cost. Consultations do have fees, however these can be credited towards treatments at our clinic.
Also, we may recommend another treatment path for your condition, if we feel the Fraxel® DUAL laser will not do the job effectively, or on its own. For example, some parts of your skin may be better treated with a CO2 laser, for faster results. Or, your condition may be so minor that we may recommend only a series of microdermabrasion sessions. These other solutions have different prices to them, which will affect the total cost of your treatment.
Remember the Fraxel® laser is only one solution for skin pigmentation or discolouration issues. A good doctor will be able to assess your skin carefully, and recommend a customized treatment plan.