Fraxel® Re:pair (CO2)
Dr Farrell is among the first dermatologists in the UK to have the Fraxel® Re:pair and has trained with some of the earliest expert users of this laser in the USA.
What are the benefits of Fraxel® Re:pair?
As you age, your skin loses its elasticity and collagen, becoming more prone to wrinkles, sagging, and broken thread veins. These changes are in part due to natural aging but are worsened by environmental factors such as sun damage. Fraxel® Re:pair can soften fine lines, give a smoother complexion, close pores, reduce thread veins, and tighten the skin.
The treatment is designed to give your skin significant improvement, transforming its appearance and making you look younger. Furthermore, you can achieve dramatic results in a single treatment with faster recovery than earlier lasers or peels.
Fraxel® Re:pair can be used to treat:
- Irregular texture
- Age spots/sunspots
- Dilated pores
- Acne scars
- Surgical scars
- Stretch marks
What is Fraxel® Re:pair?
Fraxel® Re:pair treatment, which was launched in the UK in April 2008, can correct some of the most severe skin damage and scarring without the risks, complications, and prolonged recovery time of other ablative procedures or peels.
Like some of the earlier powerful ablative laser resurfacing procedures, Fraxel® Re:pair laser treatment uses a high-intensity carbon dioxide (CO2) laser to vaporise unwanted tissue. However, unlike other ablative procedures, Fraxel® Re:pair treatment uses fractional technology to treat a fraction of the skin (10-50% of each treatment session). As a result, noticeable results can be achieved with dramatically faster recovery time in a single treatment. Because only a fraction of the skin is being treated, problems that could sometimes occur with the earlier full ablative treatments (i.e. prolonged redness, scars, and patchy loss of skin pigment) are avoided, typically making this a much safer and reliable treatment.
Fraxel® Re:pair treatment uses thousands of microscopic laser beams to penetrate deep into the skin and remove old, damaged skin cells. Each area of laser-treated skin is surrounded by a large region of undamaged skin cells that serve to help replenish cells as the skin heals. Over about a week, the body’s own natural healing process gradually replaces the damaged tissue with refreshed, healthy skin. Furthermore, because the technology is so precise, Frzaxel® Re:pair treatment can work not only on the face, but also on delicate skin areas like the neck, chest, and hands.
How is Fraxel® Re:pair treatment different from Fraxel® Re:store treatment?
Fraxel® Re:pair (launched in 2008), Fraxel® Re:store, and Fraxel® Re:fine lasers (which were launched in 2003) use fractional technology, but in different ways.
Fraxel® Re:pair treatment uses an ablative laser wavelength called carbon dioxide (CO2) (10,600nm) to vaporize tiny (microscopic) sections of tissue located deep within the skin. This process actually removes skin cells, therefore reducing wrinkles, tightening the skin, and remoulding scars. In addition, the removal of the tiny islands of skin plus the temporary heating created by the powerful CO2 laser cause extra, immediate tightening of the skin that can actually be seen during the Fraxel® Re:pair treatment. This tightening continues over several months as new collagen is produced.
Fraxel® Re:pair can treat the most severe skin damage and scars and noticeable results can be achieved in a single treatment.
As the Fraxel® Re:pair is an ablative laser, the recovery time is slightly longer than the non-ablative Fraxel® Re:store laser, which does not break the outer layer of the skin. As a result, the Fraxel® Re:store laser typically has a shorter healing time, but the improvements are more gradual than the Fraxel® Re:pair, so that most patients who have Fraxel® Re:store need several treatment sessions to achieve their goals compared with one session with the Fraxel® Re:pair laser.
What are the benefits of Fraxel® Re:pair treatment?
- Significant results in a single treatment
- A pre-emptive strike against a facelift through skin tightening
- Improved skin tone and texture
- Softening of frown lines and wrinkles
- Tightening of pores
- Improvement of acne scars, surgical scars, and stretch marks
How many treatments will I need and how quickly will I see results?
Clinical studies suggest that for many patients, significant results can be achieved in a single treatment. The Fraxel® Re:pair treatment can be adjusted for the clinical need of the skin. Individuals with severe wrinkles or acne scars may need more than one treatment.
How is Fraxel® Re:pair treatment performed and does the treatment hurt?
First, your skin will be cleansed. About 60 to 90 minutes before treatment, a numbing (local anaesthetic) cream will be applied to the treatment area and pain relief medication given. You may also choose to take another medication to relax you. If the areas around the eyes are to be treated, lubricated eye shields (similar to contact lenses) are used to protect the eyes. Local anaesthetic injections are also used for additional temporary pain relief. Most patients describe the feeling during treatment as a sensation of heat, and there may be a small amount of discomfort. However, unlike the experience in traditional CO2 treatments, you should feel quite comfortable as soon as the Fraxel® Re:pair treatment is over, although your skin will feel warm. The procedure takes approximately 30-40 minutes for the full face and 15 minutes for the area around the eyes.
What precautions do I have to take before the Fraxel® Re:pair treatment?
You will be given antiviral tablets and antibiotic tablets to start the night before the treatment and these are continued for up to 10 days to reduce the chance of infection.
What should I expect after Fraxel® Re:pair treatment and what are the risks?
Depending upon the strength of your treatment, there might be some pinpoint bleeding and weeping for up to 48 hours until the tiny wounds close up. The most common side effects are redness and swelling, which should subside after a few days to a week.
Most of the redness settles in one week, although patients with very fair skin may be pink or flush easily for a few weeks, and this effect can be covered with make-up. Some other short-term side effects may include mild itching, dry skin, peeling or flaking, and a sunburned appearance as the skin heals. Some of these skin reactions may not occur with all patients.
The new skin becomes visible as the swelling and redness subsides, and the tightening and improvement should continue over the next six months.
Can this treatment be used with wrinkle reducing injections and fillers?
Fraxel® Re:pair can be used as an alternative to wrinkle reducing injections (which relax the underlying muscles) and dermal fillers (which replace lost volume). Many patients, however, find it beneficial to use all three of these together, as they complement each other.
Who should not have Fraxel® Re:pair treatments?
Fraxel® Re:pair treatment should be avoided during pregnancy and by people who have been prescribed Roaccutane® during the last six months. There is little data at present on its use in very dark skin, so it is best avoided by individuals with this skin type. Fraxel® Re:pair should be approached carefully in people with a tendency to form thick scars (keloid scars), have recurrent cold-sores, or take photosensitising drugs.
Who is an ideal candidate for Fraxel® Re:pair?
If you want to have smoother, tighter, younger-looking skin, you may be a good candidate. For patients who are 40-50 years old this procedure can delay the need for a facelift. For those over 50 years, it can achieve many of the benefits of a facelift without a general anaesthetic and can be repeated if necessary. It can also significantly improve scars.
What precautions should I take after treatment?
It is very important that you keep your skin well moisturised in the first few days after the procedure. You will be given healing ointment to use regularly. In the first few days, you will also need to soak the treated skin with dilute vinegar every couple of hours to keep the skin clean of potential infection.
Once the skin has healed you should use a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and avoid direct sun exposure for at least three months to protect your new skin.
How long do the positive effects of Fraxel® Re:pair treatment last?
The results of Fraxel® Re:pair treatment typically will be instantaneous and progressive. Shortly after the procedure your skin’s surface should feel softer, appear more radiant, and reveal more even tone. Over the next three to six months there will be further improvement as the deeper layers of the skin continue to heal.
To find out more about this exciting technology, contact us and book a consultation to find out which treatment is appropriate for you.