My Fraxel Journey
by Jodie Eisenhardt
My journey to Fraxel began with time in the sun as a child, including plenty of days at the community swimming pool during the Summer. While attending college, I worked at a tanning salon (I cringe as I write these words!). My generation didn’t use sunscreen. Not only were the products not readily available (except for the white stuff lifeguards wore on their noses), we wanted to be tan.
Now in my early 50’s, in spite of taking good care of my skin at this point, the damage is done. Brown spots, fine lines, textural issues and a loss of elasticity are all significant concerns for me.
Skincare has evolved so much, but in my 20’s and 30’s, I was still so afraid of break-outs that I did very little, other than washing my face at night, to take care of my skin. In my 40’s, I began using all kinds of products to try and correct the issues I was becoming concerned about. I also did quite a few IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) laser treatments to address sun damage and brown spots, in particular.
At first, it seemed that the IPL helped with the brown spots, but they returned. I also had an unfortunate incident at a salon where I was burned by the IPL laser and had a nasty blister that took nearly three weeks to heal. I have tried numerous “brightening” serums and creams, among a drawer-full of various products that made lots of promises, but never delivered the results I desired. During my 40’s, I also did virtually every type of facial, including microdermabrasion, light peels, etc. I think the facials were a good thing to do but again, nothing delivered significant results.
Due to the incident with the burn and a separate unfortunate Botox experience, I now feel strongly about doing cosmetic procedures only with experienced medical professionals. The more I learned about Fraxel treatments, from board-certified dermatologists at Kelsey-Seybold, the more I came to understand that this procedure was truly what I needed to begin rejuvenating my skin in a real, clinical way. I decided to do my whole face, neck and chest and also my hands, which had begun to really show the signs of aging.
Unfortunately, my “before” pics weren’t taken in the right lighting. I really hate that we don’t have good, “side by side” photos from before and after my initial Fraxel treatment, because my expectations were truly exceeded! I’d like to walk you through how the experience was for me.
After a prior consult with Dr. Mohsin Mir and his awesome patient coordinator Mandy, I had the treatment on a Monday afternoon. The nurse applied a numbing cream about an hour before the procedure. Just before he began, Dr. Mir did some “nerve block” injections that were not painful, which made a huge difference in my ability to tolerate the laser.
Utilizing the Fraxel “Dual” laser, Dr. Mir did a combination of the two wavelengths – with half the passes using the “deeper” wavelength to address deeper wrinkles and to stimulate new collagen along with half the passes using the “shorter” wavelength, to work on the brown spots and surface issues of my skin. Dr. Mir did a total of eight passes on my face and then worked his way to my neck and chest for the same number of passes, and finally to my hands. The actual procedure took less than an hour.
I immediately applied SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic antioxidant serum to stimulate healing and then when I got home, I applied frozen peas to decrease the intense heat sensation and swelling. I would say that within a couple of hours, the intense heat had diminished significantly.
There was some redness and swelling (mostly on my neck but also beneath my eyes). By day two, I had the “bronze” look, and a subtle “sandpaper” feeling to the skin on my face, as expected.
I believe that the SkinCeuticals skincare protocol I used contributed greatly to the healing and ultimate ongoing success with my Fraxel treatment. I had already been using SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic antioxidant serum and several other SkinCeuticals products, including the gentle cleanser since last Fall so I just added a few new items to my arsenal, based upon Mandy’s recommendations. All products were purchased at Kelsey-Seybold pharmacy (thus guaranteeing their authenticity!).
My protocol included the following (all products by SkinCeuticals):
- Gentle Cleanser – lovely, creamy formula (also my daily cleanser before Fraxel)
- CE Ferulic antioxidant serum - each morning after cleansing.
- Phyto-Corrective Mask – a wonderful, soothing mask I used each evening
- Epidermal Repair - applied several times a day
- Hydrabalm - somewhat heavy balm, but extremely helpful on my chest and hands during healing
- Physical Matte, UV Defense SPF 50 – also my go-to sunscreen before Fraxel. I’m obsessed with this product.
Days 4-5 had the most peeling, as far as my face. I was careful not to pick at it but it came off as it was meant to though not at all in “sheets”. My neck and chest definitely peeled at a slower pace. I would say it took about two weeks until my chest had peeled completely and then about another week for my hands.
Day 8…and Beyond
By day 8 of my process, I was excited to be able to wear BB Cream (on top of my SPF, of course) and really could not get over the difference in my skin, just one week after my Fraxel treatment.
There was still just a bit of swelling beneath my eyes that took a few more days to dissipate and my skin was definitely quite sensitive for several weeks after the treatment as it continued to improve overall.
The biggest things I noticed immediately were that my skin had a natural “glow” and that I could wear a light-weight foundation or even just BB cream and have all the coverage I needed. The texture of my skin was completely different – makeup glided on. Fine lines were definitely minimized, as were brown spots.
I am really glad that I began my SkinCeuticals protocol last Fall. These products have had a big impact on my skin, particularly after the Fraxel treatment, as I can tell they were really able to penetrate once the dull/lifeless skin was gone.
I continue to use the daily cleanser and CE Ferulic but I have also added the .5 Retinol at night along with the A.G.E. Complex (for eyes and face) and the Triple Lipid moisturizer. The Physical Matte SPF 50 remains my go-to sunscreen, even more important to use now after my Fraxel treatment (and yes, I use it on my neck, chest and hands, too!). It also serves as a great makeup primer!
It’s been a few months and I know the new collagen process is continuing. I plan on two more rounds for my face, neck and chest for a total of three and am just so grateful for the expertise of the medical professionals at Kelsey-Seybold to help me achieve real results for these issues I’ve struggled with for so long!
We all want to look as young as we feel and this procedure, combined with the significant improvements in my skin due to the products I’m using have really made a difference for me.
How to Schedule a Fraxel Consultation
Call 713-442-1111, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. There’s no need to have a physician referral. However, the first appointment may only result in a consultation.