ProFractional Laser

Posted on January 15th, by Helen in Blog, I tried it!, Treatments. 14 comments

ProFractional Laser

My face feels hot as I type this into an email to a girlfriend who I have dinner plans with, “Forgive me if I look a little flushed in the face tonight. Just got back from zapping my acne scars.”

The treatment: ProFractional at DLK on Avenue with their nurse Diana Phillips.

This laser works to deeply restore skin. Over a series of treatments, deep acne scars and wrinkles will plump up and diminish in appearance.

“Controlled damage,” is how Phillips describes laser resurfacing. That might sound scary, but in many ways, laser resurfacing is a holistic approach to aging, she asserts.

It’s all about how lasers work.

The ProFractional laser targets damaged tissue (in my case, tough scar tissue) by creating tiny microchannels beneath the skin’s surface. This stimulates the skin’s natural healing process to form skin-renewing collagen. As damaged cells are replaced with new and healthy tissue, your skin appears fresher and younger with improved tone and texture.

It’s deep skin restoration from the inside out. You need to create a bit of damage to see real results. And I’ve seen impressive results so far, albeit I’m not quite ready to show you my after photos. Give me some more time.

My experience

I’ve had three sessions so far, spaced a month apart. There is a about a week of downtime when you look a little “messy”, as you can see from my photos above. The redness looks much worse than it really feels! After two days, you can cover up the scabs with concealer. After a week, your skin looks visible plumped and restored significantly. Scars look less deep, and tone is supernaturally even-looking.

What does it feel like? I’m not going to lie, at first it was painful, even with numbing cream. But it gets easier.

Each zap lasts about ten seconds and feels like a tiny construction worker drilling a deep hole into the skin.

When I told Nurse Diana this, she laughed and said “Think of the little guy as a ‘reconstruction’ worker!” So that’s what pops in my head now: a little dude in a yellow construction hat reconstructing my acne scars.

Visuals help take away the pain sensation. My pain tolerance grew with each successive session. The second and third sessions felt much more tolerable and quick. Now I just summon up the image of the little re-constructor worker and before I know it, the treatment is over, and I’m that much closer to radiant clear skin. If I had to rate the feeling on my Pain-O-Meter, it would be high, but keep in mind that it is quick and worth it.

~ Pain-O-Meter ~

Cost per treatment is $900, for more information and before and after pics click here.

ProFractional Vs. Fraxel

When I tell people I do laser treatments, I seem to always get the question “is it Fraxel that you do?”

Fraxel is a non-ablative laser that is very popular in medi-spas, and it’s used for the same purpose of restoring and repairing damage skin. I have not tried it yet, but would like to for comparison.

From my conversation with Phillips this morning, this is how I understand the difference:

ProFractional is a new generation ablative laser. It creates tiny micro channels beneath the skin’s surface, than ablates it or evaporates the damaged tissue completely. It removes this debris and unnecessary heat. The micro channel is now empty. This allows the good tissue around it (new skin) to fill the empty channel.

Fraxel doesn’t ablate or evaporate tissue. It does go in the skin and heats it, but it leaves old treated tissue and heat behind in the channels. The theory may be is that the surrounding skin must now break down this trapped debris before rebuilding new tissue. That may be the crux of why ProFractional works better than Fraxel. It’s a cleaner treatment, says Phillips.

So because the ProFractional instantly removes debris and unnecessary heat, providing the same degree of collagen renewal as the Fraxel (without the irritation, sloughing, and prolonged swelling), it’s thought to be superior.

Have you tried the the Fraxel or ProFractional laser? If so, let me know about your experience below.


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  • Agnie B.

    I can’t help but notice the 0 comments here so I decided to share my Fraxel experience here :)

    I had 4 Fraxel treatments done at age 19 over 2 years. I had Fraxel repair once and Fraxel dual 3 times. The results are beyond amazing especially for individuals like me who has large pores and many severe acne scars. The procedure took me about 1 hour from putting numbing cream on until the Fraxel treatment is done. Prior numbing cream, I had to take two pills which I forgot what they are for (I haven’t done Fraxel for 2 years now) The procedure of course is uncomfortable. I considered myself to have high endurance for pain but still, I couldn’t help to get panic when the doctor was about to go over my upper lip (most sensitive and painful area) which she always did it in the last.

    Fraxel repair is the most uncomfortable laser I have ever done. It was actually very uncomfortable during the procedure (painful than Fraxel dual). Right after the treatment, there were pin-point blood spots all over my face. Kinda scary. The downtime was longer, my face was swollen like a ballon for 3 days and red for 5 days. It took me about more than a week to completely recover. Both Fraxel treatments made my skin very sensitive for about a month and for 2 months straight, after shower I could rub off dead skin easily after using facial wash. My skin glowed and shined for at least 6 months, even though sunscreen is needed every day 2-3 times but it is worth it. I paid average $1200 for each procedure but I would only recommend to individuals who have severe acne scars. If you have small pores but little acne scars, there are cheaper laser options with minimal downtime that are better for you.

    I was told by my dermatologist that this procedure should be performed only by certified physicians. My advise would be if you are considering to get it done in a spa, please consult thoroughly who will perform the procedure. I consulted one spa in Ontario and apparently it is performed by a “well-trained staff” without supervision of physician. I would not recommend you to go to those. The consequences can be huge so I would strongly recommend you to go to a dermatologist or a cosmetic surgery clinic.

    • Helen Vong

      Thank you Agnie for sharing your story!

      Fraxel repair sounds painful yet very promising. I’ve heard only great things about it. I agree with you on the point about seeing only a certified physician. There are some shady places that have staff calling themselves “laserologists.” Just crazy.

  • Suzy

    Hi Helen,

    I just got profractional done on a couple of scars on my face and my face looks similar to yours (the super dark red marks on your forehead). I’m just wondering how long it took for those dark marks to fade? Mine is still sort of bleeding and leaking fluid and I just look really gross and feel super insecure right now.

    Best Regards,

    • Helen Vong

      Hi Suzy, I totally get it! Downtime can make you feel pretty insecure, but hang in there, in about a week you’ll have new fresh skin and you’ll be on your way to clearer skin. I like to schedule my profract appointments on a Friday, and spend the weekends at home. This is when I finally get around to organizing my closet and catching up on books and t.v. shows! You might find comfort in this post about how Allure magazine editor’s spends her time during “laser lockdown”

  • Daniela

    Hi Helen, did you do ProFractional for scarring? Did it work? What kind of scarring do you have? Thank you!

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  • Olga

    Hi Helen. I already did 21 times on my face a very old scar with the Fraxel, but it’s still there, and just realise that in the market we also have pro fractional laser, which looks better.

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