I grew up in the sun. I was always outside, at the pool, or anything else that involved getting a better tan! To say I was obsessed with the sun was an understatement. From a very early age I loved everything about suntan oil, “laying out” on a towel, and later on the tanning beds (gasp!). I can still smell my Hawaiian Tropics suntan oil and feel the heat of the sun on my body.
Flash forward to now…. WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING??? Shortly after my wedding, I decided to be done permanently trying to “get color”. I looked at people around me still frying themselves in the sun and wondered why would they want to purposely do this. After all, we now know how dangerous the sun is with the ozone layer diminishing before our eyes. To each his own, BUT I’m done being careless in the sun.
For many years I’ve been buying creams, serums, lotions, and anything else that promises a more youthful appearance erasing fine lines and wrinkles. I’ve bought countless different brands, researched until I’m blue in the face, asked for samples, but in the end, its the same results. The appearance of my skin never really changes and I finally felt it was time to seek guidance from a doctor. .
My skin challenges are common enough. I have uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, leftover melasma spots from pregnancies (also known as hyper-pigmentation) old acne marks, and in general a dullness I’d like to brighten!
Aging: you can’t stop the process, but you “can” do things to make it better! This is what I learned recently when speaking to Dr. Julie Miller at Associates in Plastic Surgery. I was seeking a solution without drastic measures and went in for a consultation.
I immediately felt a trust with Dr. Julie who told me about a few different options. After listening to my needs and skin goals, we both decided “Fraxel” was my best option. Being a realist, I understand there is no magic button and I would need at least 3 treatments to see the maximum benefits of the Fraxel Laser. I was happy with the plan she customized for me and looked forward to my first procedure.
So many people have asked me “What is Fraxel?” Or, “I’ve heard about Fraxel, but I’m not sure what it does”. The Fraxel laser treats aging skin, melasma, sun damage, uneven skin tone, scars, age spots and more. The laser uses microscopic laser columns, which actually regenerate collagen growth and jump starts the body’s natural process of healing the skin and replacing damaged skin. Although Fraxel is completely safe, it can only be performed by a skincare professional.
I was a little nervous when I went in for my first treatment. First, a numbing cream was applied to my entire face which was left on for one hour. This part was completely painless and I actually enjoyed being in a room by myself for a solid 60 minutes! As a mom of three, when does this happen? ha
Once the numbing cream was set, I went to the procedure room and cleaned off my face. Dr. Julie was excellent at making me feel comfortable and walked me through each and every step alerting me of her next move. I’ve never had a laser on my face and the sensation was new but not painful. It was tolerable and my thinking was… “No Pain, No Gain”. The laser feels like microscopic pin pricks with cool air blasting (which helps). Dr. Julie moves around in sections working on the forehead, cheeks, chin, upper lip and nose. If needed, a patient could also use the Fraxel laser on their chest area and neck.
The procedure itself takes approximately 20 minutes. Afterward, an aloe vera gel is immediately applied. My face felt like I had a bad sunburn with little pulses and also a tingling sensation. The effects lasted for several hours but soon dissipated. I still picked my kids up from school, kept dinner plans, and went about my life as scheduled.
My entire life I always thought when people had a plastic surgery procedure they would go in hiding for days and then reappear looking picture perfect as if nothing happened! This is not the case anymore. Going “under the knife” is not really as popular with new less invasive technology. Sure, my face became red, and looked very “sunburned” but I didn’t cancel any plans and felt completely fine.
The morning after the procedure for me was always the worst. My face would become very swollen which luckily subsided quickly. I could see the transformation happening before my eyes which was really amazing. After a couple of days, I could visibly see the little track marks from the laser on my skin. All the brown spots on my face became enhanced and to put in terms that makes sense, they would “rise to the surface”.
Once the brown spots were ready to come off (usually day 3-4), they would literally flake off my skin revealing unblemished skin underneath. I simply wiped the spots away with a cotton pad. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had “new skin”. Because the Fraxel laser causes the skin to produce more collagen, I suppose I really do have new skin!
Once all the spots were gone, I could not stop touching my face. My skin felt as smooth as my 3 year’s olds and I vowed to never again take my skin for granted and be careless in the sun. It’s very important to always wear sunscreen, but especially important after a Fraxel laser treatment. It’s recommended to use an SPF 50 or above daily.
Results of Fraxel are both immediate and progressive. Because the pinpoint laser beams penetrate beneath the skin’s surface, the old damaged skin cells are eliminated. The treatment actually stimulates the body’s own natural healing process and you are left with glowing skin. Read all of the benefits of Fraxel Laser treatment here
Below are my before and after photos. As you can see the from the first photo, the top of my forehead has plenty of brown pigmentation as well as a dark sunspot on my lower cheek. The brown pigmentation was pretty much eliminated as well as the brown spot which is very faint now. Of course I will be layering on the sunscreen do they don’t come back.
This past year I’ve had 3 Fraxel Laser treatments performed by Dr. Julie Miller at the Edison, NJ offices at Associates in Plastic Surgery. I consider her to be the most knowledgeable and excellent doctor who truly understands what a busy mom is looking for. Dr. Julie is also a mom of three children. I felt more of a connection with her than some other doctors I’ve visited in the past and ultimately decided against a procedure with.
Associates in Plastic Surgery offers all types of procedures in their offices using state of the art technology. The staff is truly wonderful and helpful and I can’t say enough good things. I live in the city but have easily traveled to their location in Edison without any issues “and” made it back to the city in time to pick my kids up from school.
The Fraxel treatment offers a significant change that you cannot receive from using just lotions and creams. I’m happy I took this next step and found the right doctor to do it!