Fractional Laser Resurfacing Introduction

Fractional laser resurfacing covers a few types of treatments. We use a Palomar Icon 1540 machine that has 3 attachments. One attachment is the Fraxel® laser which is used for resurfacing of the face and eye areas for wrinkles, skin tightening and texture. There are the other 2 attachments that are Intense Pulse Light(IPL) is used for hair reduction, vascular lesions and hyperpigmentation (brown and red spots).

What It Treats

Fraxel® is the gold standard for quickly rejuvenating your skin and correcting acne scars and other imperfections, all with very little impact to your daily routine. Fraxel® is FDA approved and treats the following areas *:

Wrinkles around the eyes
Acne scars and surgical scars
Age spots/sunspots
Melasma (irregular patches of brown skin on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and nose)
Actinic Keratoses (precancerous lesions)
Skin resurfacing

Intense Pulse Light
Fraxel Treatment Areas

What Is IPL

Intense Pulsed Light is a technology where light is converted into heat energy. Treatments are like a very powerful camera flash lamp being held against your skin. The selected light waves target chromophores (colour pigments) such as melanin in brown spots and freckles; and such as haemoglobin in broken or diffused blood vessels. The light waves can also target specific protein molecules in acne bacteria and in collagen. IPL treats all conditions without disruption to the skin’s surface.

How Does Fractional Laser Resurfacing Work?

Fractional Laser Resurfacing What To Expect


IPL systems work on the same principles as lasers in that light energy is absorbed into particular target cells with color (chromophores) in the skin. The light energy is converted to heat energy, which causes damage to the specific target area. IPL systems are different to lasers in that they deliver many wavelengths (or colors) in each pulse of light instead of just one wavelength. Most IPL systems use filters to refine the energy output for the treatment of certain areas. This enhances penetration without using excessive energy levels and enables targeting of specific chromophores (these are skin components that absorb light).

IPL therapy is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique, which means that it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The results are not as dramatic as ablative resurfacing where both the dermis and epidermis are injured to produce a much more noticeable overall outcome. The advantage of IPL therapy is its minimal downtime – a patient can often have the procedure done in their lunch break and return to work immediately afterwards.


Fraxel® is best suited for patients who wish to tighten moderate skin laxity and improve relatively deeper lines and wrinkles on the face. It can be used to treat the entire face or it may be used to treat smaller areas such as the upper lip and eyelids. When the upper lip or eyelids are treated, the result is typically a much smoother upper lip and less wrinkled lower and upper eyelids. Fraxel® treatment can also improve skin texture, brown pigmentation, fine lines, broken vessels, freckles, and facial redness. In addition to its uses on the face, the Fraxel® may also be used to treat the neck and chest. In these non-facial locations, the laser treatment can again result in skin tightening, improved skin texture, reduction of freckles, reduction of wrinkling, and overall improved skin tone.

The Fraxel® is FDA approved for the treatment of wrinkles, furrows, fine lines, textural irregularities, pigmented skin lesions, and vascular dyschromia (the medical term for broken capillaries and diffuse redness).


Fractional Laser Resurfacing Before and After

What to Expect


60 to 90 minutes prior to treatment, your skin will be cleansed and a topical numbing cream will be applied to the treatment area. We may also numb the skin with anesthetic facial injections for additional comfort as well as, giving medication to relax you and lessen any discomfort. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes for a full facial procedure. Unlike the skin sensation with other CO2 laser treatments, one advantage of the Fraxel® is that the patients feel quite comfortable and pain-free after a Fraxel® treatment. Most patients report no need for pain medications after the treatment.

vascular lesions
Fraxel Scottsboro

Intense Pulsed Light

When you come to a laser center, you will be shown to a laser room. Dr. Tuesday will put special glasses or eyepads over your eyes to protect them. A cool gel is then placed on the skin being treated. The smooth glass surface of the handpiece is gently applied to your skin and pulses of light flash. You may feel a very slight sting, like the snapping of a small rubber band.

At the end of the treatment, the nurse wipes off the gel, cleans the area with a warm cloth, and applies a moisturizer with sunscreen. If there is any mild swelling, you might be given a cold pack to apply for five or ten minutes. Most centers will let you reapply foundation or concealer immediately after a treatment.

Fractional Laser Resurfacing FAQs

What is Fractional Laser Resurfacing?

Fractional Laser Resurfacing is a treatment that produces thousands of deep, tiny columns in your skin, called microthermal treatment zones. It is “fractional” in that it intensively treats old epidermal pigment cells without affecting any of the surrounding tissue, which reduces healing time and promotes the skin’s natural process for creating new, healthier tissue to replace the damaged cells.

What is the difference between IPL and Laser?

Lasers have been used in surgery for years. The IPL is an adaptation of the laser, more suited to the beauty industry. The biggest difference between laser and IPL, as far as treatment is concerned, is the coverage. The laser beam is very narrow, only covering a small spot at a time, while IPL coverage is several times the area, and therefore treatments are much quicker. The surface area of the Chromolite IPL applicator head is 7.5 square cm – one of the largest on the market.
Lasers produce light from one specific wavelength, or color, for a very specific target. The light emitted from the IPL is composed of a spectrum of colors from different wavelengths, enabling selective photo-absorption (light absorption) to different targets. In other words, using the IPL is like using a group of lasers in a single treatment.

How long do the results last?

It depends on your particular condition and how you care for your skin. Once your skin is treated, continue to
protect the surface as directed. For conditions such as melasma, it is very important to avoid direct sun exposure. Dr. Tuesday will give you specific advice based on your individual needs.

How often will I need treatments?

A course of 5 to 10 treatments is usually required to treat hairs at all stages of the hair growth cycle, at 3 to 6 week intervals; which varies depending on hair type and colour, and the location being treated. Fair hairs will require extra treatments. White hairs can not be treated.
A maintenance session may be necessary from time to time, due to the development of new hair growth appearing, as our hormonal balance continues to change with age, or due to the influence of stress, illness, disease and drugs i.e; steroids or contraceptive pills.
It is difficult to predict the number of sessions required, as it depends on the nature of the lesions to be treated and their size, plus the client’s skin type, condition and colour. Some conditions may require maintenance treatments from time to time. This will be discussed during your consultation. Different types of skin rejuvenation require different numbers of treatments.
The following is a guide only:
Fine lines & wrinkles, enlarged pores, minor pitting & scarring,etc
2 to 4 treatments usually recommended, at 4 to 6 week intervals.
Facial redness, broken capillaries, spider veins, etc
2 to 6 treatments usually recommended, at 2 to 6 week intervals.
Freckles, sun spots, flat birthmarks, etc,
2 to 8 treatments usually recommended, at 4 to 6 week intervals.
Results are profound, but these hormonal conditions may return.
2 to 6 treatments usually recommended, at 1 to 3 week intervals.

What are the benefits of Fraxel®?

Healing time is significantly accelerated so there is minimal downtime. Because the Fraxel® Laser penetrates the non-living out layer of skin leaving it completely untreated, make-up can be worn immediately following the procedure. Some patients are able to return to routine activities, including work and social obligations, the same day of treatment. Others require a little more time, depending upon their skin condition and treatment. Please consult your physician to understand how Fraxel® will fit into your schedule.

What will my skin feel like after the procedure?

After the procedure, you will have some degree of redness, swelling or a sunburn sensation, which are signs that your body’s natural healing process is building new skin from the inside out.

What are the risks doing Fractional Laser Resurfacing?

Swelling and redness are the most common side effects from treatment. If swelling does occur, it is minimal and will subside within a day or two. Redness may occur and will fade within a few days. There is a very limited risk of infection or scarring.

Is it painful?

Most patients describe the treatment as having a “prickling” sensation. The topical anesthetic ointment and air cooling alleviates most discomfort.

How does Fraxel® differ from other laser treatments?

There were two types of available laser treatments. Ablative laser treatment, which literally means to vaporize at very high temperature, is very effective but has significant side effects and requires a lengthy healing period. The other available laser treatment, being non-ablative, has little or no side effects and almost no healing time, but requires numerous treatments over many months and has limited results at best. Fraxel®ablative treatments with the benefits of the gentler, non-ablative lasers.

Dr Tuesday

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* Medical Disclaimer

The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only. It is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual and is not to be used or relied upon for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. More information


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