Fractional Laser Skin Resurfacing

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Fractional skin resurfacing is used to treat many skin conditions with minimal downtime. Dr. Azzizadeh owns the Palomar StarLux-1540, which is a non-ablative laser that improves the appearance of the skin. The laser delivers fractioned light in an array of high precision microbeams that penetrate the skin and go into the dermis, creating narrow but deep columns of skin coagulation. Essentially, the laser treatment triggers the skin to repair itself by pushing out the old, damaged skin and replacing it with new skin that looks younger and healthier. Since the Palomar laser delivers fractioned light, the results are more consistent across the area being treated.

The Palomar Lux1540 delivers its microbeams in one short pulse at a time with active contact cooling, making the treatments significantly more comfortable than systems that deliver beams over longer periods of time. Since it delivers less painful pulses, minimal topical anesthesia is required.

Fractional Resurfacing

Fractional resurfacing is a much less invasive treatment compared to other laser procedures, and therefore results in a much quicker laser recovery time. Most patients have minimal downtime, experiencing some redness or swelling in the treated area for a couple of days. However, since fractional skin resurfacing is a less invasive procedure, it takes several sessions to see full results; generally 3-5 sessions, every 2-6 weeks are required. 

Our fractional resurfacing laser can be used to treat and improve many dermatological and cosmetic skin conditions. The following conditions can be treated with skin resurfacing lasers: 

  • Sun damage (wrinkles, crow’s feet, aging skin, etc.)
  • Melasma
  • Acne scars and surgical scars
  • Skin texture and tone issues
  • Skin irregularities any where on the body

Overall, the fractional skin resurfacing laser is much safer and avoids the side effects and complications that can be associated with non-fractioned lasers.

Fraxel Before and After Pictures

Fraxel before and after

Fractional resurfacing before and after

Fractional Resurfacing Laser History

The demand for laser skin resurfacing has prompted some incredibly creative solutions.  Previous resurfacing techniques meant long recovery times, skin that stayed red for months, often loss of natural skin color and sometimes irreversible scaring.  The first fractional laser was brought to the market in 2005 and has quickly become popular with doctors and patients looking for results similar to traditional resurfacing (like CO2 lasers), but without the downtime, pain or risks.

Watch Dr. Azizzadeh Perform Fractional Laser Resurfacing

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Pre-Treatment Guidelines: Fractional Resurfacing

Fractional Resurfacing is a non-invasive laser treatment for skin that treats wrinkles, scars, unwanted textural irregularities, and crow’s feet. Optimal results may require multiple treatments. It is important that you discontinue all medical skin care treatments 5 days before your laser treatment.

Cold Sores: If you have a history of cold sores, please tell us before your treatment so we can prescribe anti-viral medication.

Post-Laser Treatment Guidelines: Fractional Resurfacing

Fractional Resurfacing is a non-invasive procedure to treat wrinkles, scars, unwanted textural irregularities, and crow’s feet.  Optimal results may require multiple treatments and even complimentary procedures like facial fillers.

Laser Side Effects

The intensity and duration of your side effects depends on the treatment aggressiveness and your individual healing characteristics, but usually can last up to a week after treatment. 

  • Swelling: You will notice most of the swelling the first morning after treatment, particularly under the eyes.  Swelling usually lasts two to three days.  To minimize swelling:
    • Apply cold compresses to the treatment area for 10 minutes every hour.
    • Sleep elevated the first night.  Use as many pillows as you can tolerate.
  • Redness: Most redness resolves during the first week after treatment, but a rosy ‘glow’ can remain for several weeks.  If you wish, you can apply makeup immediately after treatment to minimize the redness.
  • Peeling/Flaking/Dry Skin: Your skin may feel dry, peel or flake.  You may notice a “sandpaper” texture a few days after treatment.  This is normal; it is the treated tissue working its way out of your body as new fresh skin is regenerated.
  • Bronzing, Crusting, and Dark Spots: These dark spots are a normal part of the healing process.  They will slough off on their own usually within 7 days after treatment.
  • Raw Skin: If you develop areas of raw skin after treatment, keep them moist with something like Aquaphor® or Bacitracin®.  You do not need to apply band-aids, but keep the areas moist and do not pick at them.  They will heal very rapidly on their own.
  • Grid-Like Pattern: The fractional laser may leave a grid-like pattern on your skin, which is completely normal. 
  • Papules/Pimples: Sometimes small papules can arise post treatment, if this occurs please call us for treatment advice.

After Treatment Skin Care

  • Avoid Excessive Heat: For 2 days post-treatment, avoid partaking in activities that will heat up your skin, such as going in a hot tub/Jacuzzi/sauna, or strenuous exercise.
  • Skin Care Products: All of your skin care products should be non-irritating and non-clogging for the first week.  Please do not use any scrubs, toners, glycolic acid, retinoids (RetinA or retinol), or bleaching creams (hydroquinoin) until your skin has healed. If in doubt, please use the post-procedure system available in our office. 
  • Sunscreen: Proper and frequent application of sunscreen is very important. The sunscreen should offer broadband protection (UVA and UVB) and have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. You should apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside, and again, immediately before. After that, reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours. If direct sun exposure is necessary, wear a hat and clothing that covers the treated area. Use this regimen during the healing period and always.

Learn more about fractional laser resurfacing


Contact Dr. Azizzadeh today if you live in the Beverly Hills or Los Angeles, California area and would like to schedule an initial consultation.  During your initial consultation plastic surgeon Dr. Azizzadeh will perform a throughout facial assessment and find the right fractional resurfacing laser treatment plan to fit your unique needs.

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