My First Fraxel Experience: A Giant Leap In Rehabilitating My Scarred Skin

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The first few months I was with my derma, Dr. Six Foronda, she recommended that I save up for  Fraxel sessions offered by the Belo Medical Group. She explains how cost-effective and efficient the treatment was for the type of acne scarring I have on my cheeks and temples. 

However, I was reluctant to see a different doctor knowing how my skin felt to be under the best care with Dr. Foronda. And so I told her I'd rather wait till she acquires a Fraxel machine.

During the first quarter of this year, she finally gets a fractionalized CO2 laser machine, Multixel. Let me share with you what happened during my first treatment session --- a giant leap for me in getting the best treatment for my acne scars! (I will be using the term "Fraxel" as we go along as it is a more popular term for and a shorter way to type out "fractionalized CO2 laser"). For the record, the procedure I'm getting is laser resurfacing via fractional CO2 laser using Multixel.

  • Prior to the big day, Doc Six requested I stop using tretinoin at least 5 days from the treatment date.
  • Topical anesthesia, Lidocaine, was applied on areas to be treated (pretty much the whole face). My chin area was breaking out that day and so it was spared.

  • Doc Six explains what to expect from the procedure while we wait for the anesthesia to numb my skin.


  • At this point, I am unable to take photos. But let me show you what came in contact with my face:
Dr. Foronda explains the pattern that the laser will create on my skin. Using a paper, the laser beam is applied (red light on left photo). Right photo shows the dots that will appear on my skin
  • Doc Six customizes my Fraxel treatment: skin resurfacing on the scars and large pore treatment on the rest of the unscarred skin. Oh the wonders of having a good doctor to work on my skin!

  • Despite my low pain threshold, I was able to tolerate the very uncomfortable heat form the machine. It just got painful when the light passed through my forehead, nose and temples. 
  • At the end of Fraxel, it was already very painful. I felt like fluids were oozing all throughout my face.
  • It is also noteworthy to include how it smelled burnt skin all throughout the procedure.

  • I silently prayed for strength from God to cope with the progressing pain. 
  • Doc Six handed me an ice roller to help subdue the pain. Answered prayer! (I pay attention to the littlest things like that)

  • I was instructed the following: (1) keep face off water until the evening of the next day, (2) resume tretinoin the next day (evening) to prevent any possible PIH, (3) cold compress & analgesics to soothe pain (4) protect skin form the sun at all times.
  • Immediately after Fraxel, I was so red. A day after treatment, the redness decreased a bit but my face looked so swollen.

Immediately after Fraxel as the pain continues to build up

I was less conscious of how my face looked like on the fifth day after treatment; it took six days for my skin to completely heal. A month after the treatment, I noticed that my skin further improved versus Day 7 post-treatment. I wrote a more detailed post about my Fraxel timeline, btw.

(N.B. Day 0- treatment day, Day 1 - day after treatment)
You may click to enlarge

Here's an old photo of my skin before laser skin resurfacing taken from this post

There was very little improvement after this first Fraxel experience. It made me think twice about going back for another painful round of skin cooking but waking up to less scarred cheeks (no matter how minute) has motivated me to be patient with my doctor's treatment plan.  I have had three treatments to date and I will post more about my adventures in fractional CO2 laser treatment in the next few weeks!


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