Gym for your skin
Hailed as ‘gym for your skin’, Fraxel Restore Dual® - the latest in laser technology – has finally hit our shores, and we wouldn’t be the beauty experts we claim to be if we didn’t find out exactly what it was all about.
Here, we chat to Dr Jeremy Cumpston, aesthetic physician and Director of Ageless Clinics, to get the lowdown on the treatment said to be curing skin concerns worldwide…
BH: What is the Fraxel Restore Dual® laser and how does it work?
JC: Fraxel Restore Dual® is to skin rejuvenation what gymnasiums are to improved muscular physique. Just like your muscles, your skin needs a workout in order to maintain its vitality and youthful appearance. It needs to be stimulated to improve blood supply and increase the formation of collagen and elastin.
Fraxel Restore Dual® is a platinum standard, medical-grade, non-invasive, fractionated laser (a laser that sends heat energy in columns one tenth the diameter of a needle), that penetrates to the dermis of your skin. It rolls over your complexion, sending microscopic points of laser across your skin. As the laser penetrates your skin, it causes heating, which stimulates your cells to produce collagen and elastin.
BH: How does it differ from the more widely available laser facial treatments?
JC: The more widely available lasers work to ‘vaporise’ your skin – it sends little beams over your complexion and that entire layer of skin literally disappears. While the results can be great, people are often left looking severely burnt, with a recovery time of up to six – eight weeks. Other laser treatments are also very deep treatment and, if too much aggressive energy is released into the skin it can cause hyper-pigmentation, which is often exactly what patients are trying to get rid of in the first place.
The dual nature of the Fraxel Restore Dual® allows us to choose between using a superficial energy wavelength, or a deeper energy wavelength, depending on the patients concerns. It is also used in smaller doses, which works to remove the dead upper layers of skin, without also destroying the normal, functioning tissue within the deeper layers.
BH: What skin conditions can it treat?
JC: Fraxel can be used to treat many skin concerns, including fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage and age spots, pigmentation, and acne scarring.
BH: How long does each session take?
JC: Each session will take no more than 1.5 hours – we apply a topical anaesthetic to the skin for 45 minutes, and then the treatment itself takes about 20 minutes.
BH: Wow, 45 minutes for the topical anaesthetic! Does that mean the procedure really hurts?
JC: If you didn’t have the anaesthetic (something I’ve tried and wouldn’t recommend!), yes, there will be pain. But you do need to understand that any treatment involving energy penetrating the skin is going to feel slightly sore.
However, in saying that, we always use the anaesthetic, and 99 per cent of patients experience no problems. It may feel slightly uncomfortable, but overall it’s a manageable feeling, and you can generally go straight back to work after the procedure.
BH: What should you expect after a Fraxel treatment in terms of pain and discomfort, and immediate skin condition?
JC: Straight after a treatment you can expect to look and feel like you’ve gone skiing and have some windburn. Your skin will be red, and slightly inflamed, but the redness should only last for a few hours.
The next day, it will look and feel a bit more like sunburn – slightly puffy at first, before becoming dark bronze in colour, and then flaking or peeling off. Your skin will peel for three to four days, after which new, fresh, ‘baby’ skin emerges.
As this skin has never been exposed to the elements, it’s imperative that you protect it from the sun or you’ll risk extensive damage.
BH: So what sort of long-term results can Fraxel produce, and how long does it take before you start to see them?
JC: As previously mentioned, you’ll start to see the first great results after about three to four days. After a series of treatments your skin will be free of pigment, its plumpness restored, and it will have an overall baby soft smoothness. You’ll have clear, glowing, youthful-looking skin that lasts.
BH: Is there any after-care required, post treatment?
JC: The treatments aren’t cheap, and so to ensure you make the most out of your results you really need to reduce excess oxidative stress (which depletes your natural collagen and elastin), to your skin. This means being pedantic about using an SPF 30+, and staying out of the sun as much as possible.
It’s also a good idea to have an intense vitamin C facial every six to 10 weeks, as it really helps to restore your skin and improve its ability to reduce oxidative stress.
BH: How much is each treatment, and how many do you recommend?
JC: Treatments start from $750 - $1000 per area, per treatment. The number of treatments you’ll need may vary according to your skin type and degree of ageing, but most people have excellent results after two to four treatments. If you’re young, you could have two or three treatments, then one a year as maintenance.
BH: Why would you choose Fraxel over regular anti-ageing products?
JC: No matter how many anti-ageing creams and lotions you use, they can only work to improve the outer layer of your skin. The only way to properly re-form collagen and elastin is to cause some sort of ‘stress’ within the dermal layer of your skin, which will then stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.
Dying to try this treatment? We’re giving one lucky member the chance to win a Fraxel Restore Dual® treatment at the Sydney-based Ageless Clinic, valued at over $700! Click here to enter.