We chat to Dr David Sharp on the benefits of Fraxel as a specialised skin treatment, and how it can work to fix and manage all your skin concerns.
Dr David Sharp’s practice was the first plastic surgeon led clinic in Brisbane to offer Fraxel. He shares why his team of skin experts at The Sharp Clinics chose the technology for his skin-savvy patients – and the range of improvements it offers, below the skin’s surface.
Rejuvenation and ‘age optimising’ fads come and go, but the power of high quality laser resurfacing has transcended all other skincare trends across the decades, to remain the gold standard in non-surgical skin therapies.
“The strong Australian sunshine, as well as lifestyle and genetic factors, mean that our skin typically ages in three visible ways: pigmentation, lines and overall skin condition.
Pigmentation is usually sun or hormone induced and manifests as brown spots, scaly patches and – for nearly two-thirds of us – skin cancer, at some time in our lives.
Lines and wrinkles are caused by volume and underlying structural depletion, as well as dwindling collagen and elastin levels in our thinning, ageing dermis.
Our overall the skin’s condition reflects in its pore size, luminosity and smoothness.
Fraxel laser because it addresses almost every single one of these signs. “
We use Fraxel to reduce pigmentation and plump out fine lines by stimulating the body’s own natural responses; inducing collagen, elastin production and cell turnover.
The only thing it does not do is rebuild lost bone structure and fat pads underneath the skin; we utilise dermal fillers of differing densities to achieve this.
Comfort and downtime are the two other reasons we use Fraxel.
Fraxel laser rejuvenation is known to be painful, and when we first tried Fraxel we were surprised by how tolerable the treatment is.
A topical anaesthetic cream is applied prior and a ‘Zimmer’ attachment blows cold air on the area during the treatment, confusing the nerves and making the treatment very manageable, even for the most pain sensitive patients.
To obtain the kind of medical grade resurfacing results that Fraxel achieves, traditional lasers used to obliterate the skin and require long downtime.
Our patients are predominantly busy women and cant afford to be away from work or stay indoors for several weeks after laser.
Fraxel is perfect for them, because we can obtain the same visible skin improvements with less downtime.
When used alongside our skincare program, it provides rapid healing and results.
Fraxel’s laser beams make microscopic injuries to the skin; they appear as little imprints which look like a tiny ‘stamp’ after the treatment. Thousands of these impressions are made in each treatment; they are about one tenth of the diameter of a shaft of hair.
We are able to adjust the intensity and depth to target certain skin priorities, be it pigmentation reduction, collagen and elastin production, lines or complexion issues.
One of the best aspects of Fraxel is its ‘dual’ function; allowing us to modify the therapy depending upon whether the patient’s skin is quite healthy, or requires extensive resurfacing – and how long they want their downtime to last.
A low intensity treatment helps remove superficial sun spots and pigmentation, with only a few days of coffee-grain like shedding. While a more intensive treatment will lift extensive sun damage and address lines, and will involve flaking skin for about 5-7 days.
Skin behaves differently depending on the area of the body that’s treated; for example, the face is quite sebaceous and sheds more quickly than other areas, like the chest, back or arms.
Related Story: Renae’s experience with Fraxel.
Post Fraxel skin is very easy to take care of, but how you take care of your skin after Fraxel is the largest determinate factor in how it will heal, so whether it’s cold, hot or you’re in air conditioning, it’s important to stay hydrated, use post treatment products and stay out of the sun.
During the first phase of healing, we want to keep the skin moist, hydrated and protect it from the sun. Patients apply Synergie Occlusiderm a few times each day and avoid any direct sun exposure on the treated area.
This works as a natural barrier alternative to petroleum – protecting, calming and hydrating damaged skin. It also contains antioxidant rich olive squalene and anti-inflammatory bisabolol which is great after laser. This ensures their skin is able to heal from the laser without the added trauma or damage of uncontrolled UV exposure.
Sun exposure can cause burns or more pigmentation, and allowing the skin to dry out can cause it to shed too early, hampering the healing process and impeding results. When heading outside, our patients apply sunscreen to the area, even if they’re just going outside to hang out the washing or go to their car.
Hydration is also very important and we recommend patient support their skin healing with antioxidant rich food and recommended nutritional supplements, if necessary, to ensure their skin is getting everything it needs during the recovery period. During this initial phase post treatment, the skin will initially appear to be sunburned.
Within 48 hours, it will have a brown grainy appearance and in the subsequent 24-48 hours it will start to flake and shed. It’s extremely important not to peel, rub or itch – our skin knows what to do, and it’s important to let nature take its course, in order to achieve the best results.
To maintain results, I recommend a very simple ongoing skincare plan, which often includes a pigment inhibitor as well as key optimal-ageing active ingredients. We love EnLighten by Synergie Skin for skin brightening and inhibiting pigmentation.
Each skin type needs different nutrition for optimal maintenance, but vitamin A, B and C should be part of every regime in some form. Our skin therapist, Diane, integrates nutrition into every skincare regime.
The stress caused by recent COVID challenges has left many of our patients with typical signs of stress, including acne, oiliness, skin hydration issues and eczema.
Once we have these active flare ups under control – sometimes with prescriptive products, supplements or just with good, rebalancing skincare – we often treat with Fraxel to improve and rebalance a dull complexion and lift off pigmentation caused by trauma to the skin.
It’s not all about beauty: Fraxel, scars and precancerous sun damage:
In many parts of Australia, our midday UV rate does not dip below damaging levels all year round, so it is no surprise that we have the world’s highest rates of skin cancer.
Sun damage is the precursor to many skin cancers, so many of our patients who have had surgery to remove skin cancers in the past, now use Fraxel as a preventative measure, reducing the sun damage that can lead to cancer down the track.
Fraxel is also a powerful scar optimisation treatment, we use it for new and aged scars – as well as stretch marks. Our facelift patients routinely have Fraxel as part of their second stage post-operative recovery process, to refine their skin and kick start their scar optimisation process, in the first 12-18 weeks after surgery.
Whether you want to reduce melasma and pigmentation or stimulate collagen, Fraxel is a safe, refined resurfacing therapy for all skin types and ages that offers our patients unprecedentedly shorter downtime than traditional lasers. When used alongside our prescriptive skin product program, it provides rapid healing and results.
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