Summary: Many people wonder, how does Fraxel work? The question is a natural one, as any laser system seems at once a bit scary and more than a little futuristic. But Fraxel is actually designed with your skin firmly in mind. Rather than being a science fiction invention, it’s more like a tried and true example of a non surgical treatment that leaves most patients incredibly happy with the way their results turn out. Fraxel has quite a few advantages over surgical procedures, and yet, so many people are still interested simply in how they work.

how does fraxel work?

The Reputation of Laser Systems

These days, there are a wide variety of non surgical options available to patients who would rather not go under the knife. This non surgical revolution started with procedures such as Botox injections and non surgical rhinoplasty procedures. But these days, non surgical procedures also encompass laser systems, such as the ever-popular Fraxel. There’s certainly an argument to be made that Fraxel is among the premiere laser systems in the United States, if not the world, because it’s reliable and because it gets great results for what it sets out to do. That said, there does seem to be a certain stigma attached to laser procedures.

Largely, this stigma is unwarranted and undeserved. Modern laser systems, in the right hands, are quite safe and can be exceptionally effective. To a large degree, the problems that can occur with laser systems can be attributed to two separate factors. First, there’s the issue of patient expectations. Laser systems are by no means a substitute for a substantive plastic surgery experience—but no non surgical procedure is. Laser treatments are designed to produce subtle but noticeable results, not change your entire face. Additionally, the popularity of laser procedures spurred growth of bargain laser cosmetic chains, many of which used undertrained employees to operate their laser systems.

Both of these issues can be solved by getting your treatment from a reputable and experienced cosmetic surgeon. Even if your laser treatment is administered by a nurse or practitioner at the cosmetic surgery clinic, those treatments are carried out under the supervision of that cosmetic surgeon, and that’s a big difference. But I think another reason why patients are maybe a little hesitant to undergo laser treatments is because they aren’t quite sure of how they work. It seems a little bit too much like magic. How does Fraxel work, after all?

So How Does Fraxel Work?

To understand how laser systems such as Fraxel work, you have to understand the skin. Most people think of the skin as one big unit. (It makes sense… people think of themselves as one big unit, rather than as a bunch of moving pieces.) But your skin is more like an onion—it has layers! What Fraxel does is basically use a laser to shave off that very top layer of skin. It does so by using a very specific wavelength of energy that’s designed for exactly that purpose. Much more energy and you might burn, much less and it wouldn’t do anything. That’s why the energy calibration of any laser system is quite important.

Once the very top layer of skin has been shaved off, it reveals another, smoother, more youthful beneath. This is, essentially, what would happen normally over a longer period of time. The laser system simply exposes that newer layer of skin a little bit sooner. In this way, Fraxel laser systems can address some of the following issues:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Acne and acne scars
  • Sun damage and sun spots
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Bags under the eyes
  • Other skin issues

What Can Fraxel Do?

However, Fraxel is not designed to give you a full facelift. That’s something that only surgery can accomplish. So why would anyone choose Fraxel? Well, there are a couple of distinct advantages. First and foremost, Fraxel does not require a significant recovery period that’s measured in months (as is the case with some surgical procedures). Indeed, Fraxel is relatively low on the discomfort scale, with most patients reporting feelings not that different from a sunburn. Compared to the pain and discomfort associated with surgery, this registers as only a slight discomfort.

It’s also important to note that Fraxel can, essentially, be used anywhere. There’s a week of redness and peeling after the procedure, but after that, results will be visible. This is a much quicker way to experience results than with surgery, which often takes months to reach the stage where final results are visible. For many patients, being able to get excellent results while still avoiding surgery makes Fraxel and incredibly enticing option when it comes to looking more youthful.

To be sure, laser procedures may not be for everyone. There will definitely be patients that want bolder results. And for those patients, plastic surgery may be the answer. However, for patients looking for non surgical alternatives, Fraxel might be the way to go. For many Fraxel patients, whether they’re getting Fraxel in New York or Fraxel in LA, knowing the answer to that question, how does Fraxel work, definitely helps them make the choice.


  • Home | Fraxel Fractional Laser Skin Treatments. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2015, from
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