Non-surgical Procedures

What to expect with Fraxel laser treatment: a patient diary with Sharon Farrell

Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)

Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics

Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More



When Sharon Farrell (Beauty Blogger and Jewellery Designer) became concerned about the way her skin pigmentation made her look and feel, she decided to get Fraxel laser treatment with Dr Gavin Chan (MBBS, Cosmetic Physician, Liposuctionist).

During her consultation Sharon Farrell noted that her major skin concerns were that, “I’m Irish, with pale skin and the uneven skin tone bothers me. I think it makes me look an awful lot older than I am. Because I live in Australia, and even though I wear sunscreen everyday and a wear hat when outside, it’s getting worse.”

To closely examine Sharron Farrell’s skin, Dr Gavin Chan used a headlamp with cross-polarized lighting. Seeing her skin without reflections ensured Dr Gavin Chan clearly identified her small broken capillaries and could determine if she had melasma as well as freckles. In Sharon Farrell’s case he only identified freckles.

Dr Gavin Chan explained that melasma is a “form of hormonal pigmentation that usually looks like a patch on the cheek, between the brows or above the upper lip.” Melasma is stimulated by UV radiation and oestrogen. In some cases, using Fraxel laser to treat melasma may not be appropriate.

Effective removal of skin pigmentation with Fraxel laser depends a great deal on the training and experience of the Cosmetic Doctors or Cosmetic Nurses. It is important to note that a successful, uniform result can only occur when laser settings are tailored for each patient. This highlights the importance of visiting a reputable medical clinic, which specialises in laser treatments for skin pigmentation.

Dr Gavin Chan explaining Fraxel laser treatment to Sharon Farrell

How does Fraxel laser treatment work?

Fraxel laser treatment works via a hand held laser that is attracted to water in the skin. As it scans over the skin it fires microscopic columns of laser energy into it. The fractional nature means that the skin between these columns is spared, resulting in less risk and less downtime for the patient.

Since the Fraxel laser heats up the skin, this treatment is always performed using a Zimmer cooler, which blows cool refrigerated air over the treated areas. This reduces any discomfort that may occur as a result of heat energy building up.

What is skin pigmentation and why does it occur?

Skin pigmentation (also known as hyperpigmentation) is a skin condition where patches or spots of skin are darker than the surrounding skin. While it is usually harmless, it can make people appear older than they are. Skin pigmentation occurs when skin cells (melanocytes) produce too much melanin, which results in hyperpigmentation. The most common causes of overstimulation of melanocytes include:

  • UVA rays from the sun
  • Inflammation caused by trauma
  • Hormones (typically oestrogen) from HRT or the contraceptive pill.

Different types of skin pigmentation include melasma, freckles, chloasma and dark circles under the eyes.

What does Fraxel laser treatment for skin pigmentation feel like?

Topical anaesthetic cream was applied to Sharon Farrell’s face one hour before her treatment to numb her face. To ensure her treatment was comfortable, she also used Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas).

fraxel treatment video

During the treatment (which took about 20 minutes) eight passes were made over her face using the cross-hatching method. She noted that, “after the first pass I really didn’t feel anything. I just felt like somebody was rolling something in my face. By the final pass, I could feel a prickly heat sensation that was cooled by the Zimmer fan.”

What is recovery like after treatment?

On the day after her Fraxel laser treatment, Sharon Farrell had a pink face with evidence of pigmentation coming to the surface of her skin. To clean her skin, she used Synergie Skin BioCleanse before she applied Bepanthen ointment on her skin three times a day.

On day 2 Sharon Farrell’s skin on her face had started to crack and flake off. Three days after her treatment, she had evidence of ‘bronzing’ where the pigmented skin becomes darker. She also noted that using the Bepanthen ointment relieved the itchy feeling. Four weeks after the laser treatment Sharon Farrell was enthusiastic about how good her skin looked.

Sharon Farrell day 2 Fraxel laser treatment

“Sometimes I catch myself in the mirror and it looks like I’m wearing tinted moisturizer already but I’m not. And because this treatment also helps with collagen production my skin looks plumper and more radiant.”

It is important to note that some downtime is required after treatment. The amount of time needed will depend on the size of the treatment area and the laser wavelength used.

Sharon Farrell after Fraxel laser treatment

More about Sharon Farrell 

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The best skincare to use after Fraxel laser

After treatment, it is very important that you apply an effective sunscreen daily. Synergie Uberzinc is a primer, moisturiser and sunscreen, which provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. The light natural base with green tea to neutralise free radicals offers sheer Zinc Oxide protection, which sits on top of the skin to reflect UVA and UVB rays.

Aspect Dr Active C Serum offers antioxidant protection as it hydrates, firms and brightens the skin. Using natural botanical ingredients, this powerful antioxidant and peptide serum tightens as it calms the skin.

Aspect Pigment Punch effectively reduces the appearance of skin pigmentation and age spots. The natural botanical based formula calms the skin and tones down facial redness resulting in a brighter and clearer complexion.

It’s important that when you choose skincare products to treat your skin pigmentation that they suit your skin type and condition. Our team of highly trained and experienced Skin Therapists are here to help. Book a consultation below or call us on 1300 863 824.

Where to get the best Fraxel laser pigmentation treatment in Melbourne

Does your skin pigmentation and imperfections make you feel less confident because they add years to your appearance? Hormonal marks, age spots and blotchy uneven skin can be effectively reduced with Fraxel laser treatment. Since 2005, led by Dr Gavin Chan our Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses have helped thousands of people remove and reduce their skin pigmentation. Find out how we can help by calling our friendly customer service team on 1300 863 824 or filling in the form below.