Cost, Photos and Review of My Fractionated Erbium Pixer Laser Treatment For My Facial Acne Scars
Procedure specific satisfaction rating
Acne scar treatment
My Experience With Fractionated Erbium Pixel Laser For My Facial Acne Scars
Cost: $175 per laser pass
My name is Elaine Quiambao. I'm 26 years old and I'm from San Diego, California. After my severe acne breakout in 2014, I was left with devastating atrophic acne scars. My acne lesions always caused significant inflammation, which led to scar tissue forming, resulting in collagen damage that lead depressions on my skin. I researched several scar treatments, including vitamin e, chemical peels, subscision and laser therapy. After completing a course of Accutane (AKA isotretinoin), I discussed these different scar treatment options with my doctor. He recommended that I try a Fractionated Erbium Pixel Laser to resurface my skin. He informed me that the laser would create tiny microscopic holes into the top layers of my skin, which would prompt collagen growth, which would help smooth out my skin by filling in the scars. (The idea of creating holes in your skin to stimulate new collagen production, is the same concept behind microneedling). On August 14, 2016, I came to the Dermatology Institute and received my first Pixel Laser Treatment, which was performed by Dr. Peter Rullan, MD. Before the procedure, the medical assistant gave me two ice packs to place on my cheeks. I did not need a local anesthetic or numbing cream, as my doctor told me the pain would be minimal and tolerable. Dr. Rullan did one pass of the Erbium Pixel fractionated ablative laser and focused on my cheeks and temples. The pain was tolerable as it felt like tiny pinpricks. On a 1 to 10 scale, the pain was a 3. After the treatment, my face felt hot, like a mild sunburn. The nurse applied a vinegar-soaked cloth on my face to minimize the pain. The after-care instructions were simple, as I was instructed to wash my face with a gentle cleanser and apply moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher on my face twice a day. The healing time for this procedure took about 5 days. By day two, the areas affected turned brown and scab-like and by day 3 I had already begun to peel. By day 5, my skin had completely peeled and appeared smoother. The results weren't dramatic but my doctor assured me that I would continue to see results over time. Its' been several months after the treatment and my scars appear less deep and the edges of my scars have softened. I did not experience any hyperpigmentation or any other unusual side effects. For one pass, the procedure cost $175, which is inexpensive in my opinion. I plan on having more treatments in the future and can't wait to continue to see results! Below is a photo of my skin before and after the procedure.
If you're not happy with your skin because you think your acne scars are permanent, seek help! There are so many treatments available that can greatly improve your skin. This was a big self-confidence booster for me, and I highly recommend it!
Since posting this, I've had a few friends ask me if there's a difference between a Fraxel Laser and a Pixel Laser. The answer is yes.
A Fraxel Laser is a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser that penetrates the skin deeper and therefore usually has a longer recovery time. Fraxel lasers are known to be the best at skin tightening. These lasers are great, but you're very red for at least a week, if not longer.
A Pixel Laser is an erbium laser. Erbium lasers do not penetrate the skin as deeply as Fraxel Lasers and because of this, the recovery time is usually shorter. In my case, as you can see above, it only took me 5 days before my skin returned to normal. Multiple Pixel Laser passes usually equal one Fraxel Laser pass.