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Fractional Laser - FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions about Fractional Laser

Q: What is Pixel Skin resurfacing?

A. Fractional laser treatments create micro-thermal tunnels deep into the skin. The laser ablates (or vaporizes) the microscopic columns of skin while leaving the surrounding tissue untreated. The body's natural healing process creates new, healthy collagen to replace the columns of affected tissue. Once healed, skin texture improves and lines soften. The results are gradual and people can continue to see improvements in their skin for several months after their last fractional laser treatment.

Q: Who's a good candidate?

A. Men or women who have mild to moderate signs of skin aging, fine lines and wrinkles, and mildly lax skin tone. Non-uniform skin tone and color can be corrected as well as textural problems such as scars from acne or other skin injuries. Areas that can be treated include the face, neck, and chest, as well as hands and forearms.

Q: Is it safe?

A. Pixel Perfect™ resurfacing treatments have been performed all over the world and continue to be a safe and effective way of rejuvenating your skin. Some skin conditions can interfere with any treatment of this nature, so consult your provider to be sure.

More Frequently Asked Questions about Fractional Laser

Q: Are there any complications?


  • Milia, which are small white bumps, may appear in the laser-treated areas during healing. These may be removed by opening and draining the individual lesions.
  • Hyperpigmentation (increased pigmentation) and hypopigmentation (decreased skin pigmentation) may result in the laser-treated areas. In general, the hyperpigmented areas may be treated with bleaching cream to speed fading of the pigment, although this may be a very slow process.
  • Reappearance of a cold sore may occur, especially after laser skin resurfacing around the mouth. You can prevent this by asking your doctor for an antiviral medication, which you can begin taking before your treatment and continue taking seven to 10 days after laser resurfacing.
  • You should expect swelling after laser skin resurfacing. Ask us about what you can do to lessen this effect.
  • Patients are encouraged to sleep on an extra pillow at night to help reduce the swelling after laser resurfacing. Cold compress application is also helpful in the first 24-48 hours.
  • Scarring after laser skin resurfacing, although unusual, may occur in laser-treated areas.
  • Cessation of smoking is highly recommended, because smoking is known to have harmful effects on the healing process.

Q: What are the benefits of fractional laser resurfacing?

A. Fractional laser skin resurfacing has three significant benefits compared to the traditional laser skin resurfacing:

  • Increased Comfort: The fractional array of microbeams does not cause bulk damage as traditional ablative skin resurfacing. As a result, the procedure is much gentler.
  • Increased Safety: Following a fractional ablative procedure, each tiny microbeam re-epithelializes (i.e. regrows the missing tissue and closes over) typically within 24 hours. This minimizes the risk of scarring, infection or long-term pigmentation changes.
  • Decreased Downtime: Depending on the type of treatment, most fractional laser patients can return to normal activities within a matter of days.

Q: Can I do Botox or Dermal Fillers at the same time as the Laser treatment?

A. These treatments are extremely useful adjuncts to Laser and usually complement them very well. We usually recommend having Botox treatment a couple weeks prior to the Laser and we have most people hold off on Dermal Fillers until after the Laser so that they can be more sparingly used to fill any residual trouble spots after Laser treatment.

Q: Does it hurt?

A. Fractional Skin Resurfacing can feel like sunburn. It may be slightly uncomfortable varying on each patient's pain tolerance. There is minimal downtime with Fractional Skin Resurfacing. You can experience redness and swelling to treated areas for up to 5 days.

Q: What can I expect after a treatment?

A. Immediately following the treatment, the skin will be red, swollen and patients will experience a warm, stinging sensation. Some patients may also experience pin-point areas of bleeding. These effects are normal and indicate a successful treatment. Any swelling and redness will dissipate within several days. As the micro-tunnels heal, the skin will feel dry and begin to slough or peel.

You may also experience a bronzed look once the redness subsides for approximately 3-14 days and the bronzed skin may peel off revealing fresh new skin. Ask us about our post laser skin regimen to reduce redness and swelling, and help with the healing process.

Q: What does "social downtime" mean?

A. Downtime refers to the period of time following a laser treatment where patients may choose not to appear in public while their skin is still red or swollen. One of the key benefits of fractional laser treatments is that downtime is significantly minimized. Downtime can be as short as 4 days as compared to traditional full-surface resurfacing which can result in weeks to months of downtime while producing the same cosmetic results.

Q: How often should I do a laser resurfacing?

A. Depending on the skin condition being treated, most patients will require 3-5 treatments spaced 6-8 weeks apart.

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