I Tried Fraxel to Remove Pigmentation and The Results Are Incredible
I'm Irish, I'm pale, I have freckles - actually scratch that, I have 'pigmentation'. I do not have the cute sprinkling of sun kisses that bless the noses of supermodels and six-year-olds alike; I have tea coloured stains lurking across the entire surface of my skin, just visible enough to make my foundation look uneven and like I'm really bad at applying bronzer.
A few years ago I tried IPL to reduce the appearance of said pigmentation and I made a series of videos about it if you're curious. It worked well and there was a definite reduction, but that was three years ago and with my skin type and lifestyle (living in Australia), it's virtually impossible to keep the pigmentation away. So when Dr Gavin Chan of the Victorian Cosmetic Institute reached out to see if I would like to try Fraxel a try, I was intrigued.
Fraxel is a 'Fractionated Laser' meaning it doesn't blast the entire surface of the skin, it instead creates microchannels or tiny little pixel-like dots that heat up the skin, essentially damaging it, which triggers the body's natural healing response. This action pushes out the old damaged skin and replaces it with smooth new baby skin. Fraxel can be used to target fine lines, uneven texture, acne scarring and can even help to regenerate new collagen, but most importantly in my case, it's amazing at getting rid of unwanted pigmentation.
After a fairly lengthy consultation with Dr Chan, he recommended we use quite a strong setting (my stomach dropped at this point) and I hopped on the chair to have numbing cream applied. This was left on my face for about an hour so it could properly take effect.
The Fraxel device itself almost looks like an electric lady shaver with a big hose attached. It's rolled across the surface of the skin in sections and then rolled in the opposite direction in a cross-hatch pattern. This is to cover as much of the skin as possible (remember, the laser is delivered in tiny dots). This is repeated for a total of four passes on each section - at least that was the case for me.
Jenny, the nurse who did my treatment, started on my forehead and I barely felt the first pass. The second felt a little more prickly and by the fourth, I could feel a hot scratchy sensation. The hose attached to the device blows really cold air to the area and that helps immensely with the discomfort. It took about 20 minutes to do my whole face, the most painful bit was under my nose - that was eye watering - but overall I'd rate the discomfort a 4/10. I had happy gas too, did I mention that? Happy gas makes everything better.
Immediately after the treatment my skin felt hot and was throbbing like an intensely bad sunburn, but it looked OK, just a bit red. The surface felt like sandpaper and on closer inspection, I could see the pattern that the laser had left behind. My skin looked like linen with tiny cross-hatch marks all over it. I was told to let my skin breath and cool down for a few hours, but I could wear makeup that night if I wanted to, just be very gentle when removing it.
Over the coming days the pigmentation got deeper and deeper, and by day 2 the surface of my skin started to crack and peel off in large chunks - it was quite the look. I would recommend getting this treatment done on a Friday and taking Monday off work too; I needed 4 days of downtime before all the face dandruff was gone. Once that layer of old skin had sloughed off I looked radiant! A little pink, but still, radiant! There was a remarkable improvement in my visible pigmentation and the overall tone of my skin looked fresher and more youthful. I could be imagining it but I think my pores look smaller now too. The redness subsided after about a week but was very easy to cover with makeup. My bare skin right now looks like my pre-treatment skin with tinted moisturiser - more even and smooth.
I am absolutely delighted with my results and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who hates their pigmentation. The cost for my treatment is $1350 but this will vary from clinic to clinic and what setting they use. Jenny used the 1927 setting on me which is optimal for pigmentation removal, but this will vary depending on your own skin and concerns. Unfortunately, the results are not permanent and my pigmentation will eventually return. It's recommended to have it done once a year or so and of course, you can prolong your results by taking care to protect your skin from the sun so dig out those hats and wear high SPF every day!
Watch the video above to see exactly how the treatment is administered and my day by day recovery.
Thank you to the team at The Victorian Cosmetic Institute for providing me with the treatment.