Want to Reduce Scars? Dermapen or Fraxel or both?
Most scars fade significantly over time. But some scars remain prominently visible. Are Dermapen or Fraxel potential options for you to consider to help you to minimise abdominal surgery incision scars, acne scars or facial scars? The answer is: YES!
What makes a scar heal well versus troublesome?
The difference in how your scars heal depends on numerous factors. These are difficult to predict in advance. Some people have genetic traits that leave them vulnerable to scarring. Others engage in lifestyle factors that amplify the risk of having more visible scars (such as smoking, which highly impeded healing).
However, if its a surgical scar, an acne scar or a scar from an accident or injury, you can be sure our Team will work with you to minimise their appearance using a number of top modalities for scar reduction.
This may include Dermapen (micro-needling) or Fraxel Restore (laser treatments) to help ‘reduce’ the scar (minimise its appearance). Depending on the type of scar, how it’s healed and how prominent it appears (and how much it concerns you), then you might even opt for scar revision surgery by one of our Top Plastic Surgeons in Melbourne or Sydney.
Scars: What are the most common causes?
- Injuries, surgery incisions, chickenpox and acne can all leave their mark.
- Wounds, inflammation, injury, burns or infection can all form permanent scars.
A scar represents healing.
It’s essentially your skin’s restructuring of tissue where there has been penetration or injury to the epidermis and dermis. While scars are a natural part of the body’s healing process, it is possible that the skin discolouration common to scars – and the surface irregularity (textural changes) that they often involve – might seem to detract from your skin’s appearance.
Whilst many people don’t mind having scars, others want to try everything they can to rid themselves of them.
If you have a very prominent scar that is highly visible on your face, arms, belly or legs, for example – you might want to investigate your options for minimising them.
- Is your history written on the surface of your skin?
- Is there evidence of chickenpox when you were 4 or 5 years old?
- Did the skinning of your knees when you were 6 (or 50) – riding your bicycle – leave its mark?
- Are the remnants of having had acne still quite visible on your facial skin?
Time fades most scars in terms of colour; but as we age and as our skin loses collagen, some scars, especially acne scars, might seem to become deeper or more noticeable.
Would you like to achieve the fresh, smooth skin you had before scars staked their claim? Read below for information on safe, effective, non-surgical treatments available for skin rejuvenation.
Dermapen (Micro-needling) for Scars
There are several different types of micro-needling products that professionals can use on your skin.
Whilst there is some variance in the flexibility of the tools and how they are utilised for skin rejuvenation or scar minimisation, they work on a similar principle: precisely controlled micro-injury to skin tissues to stimulate renewal, collagen restructuring and faster recovery.
Dermapen is one of the well-recognised top brands for micro-needling.
Introduced in the 1990s, Dermapen is the original micro-needling pen. How it works:
- Dermapen’s eleven micro-needles vertically pierce the skin at high speed. Discomfort is minimal, this is due to being micro-fine in diameter as well as very quickly ‘applied’.
- The newly created micro-injuries (which are akin to very small & well-spaced micro-piercings) stimulate new collagen production at a cellular level.
What this means is: Your Skin is about to look noticeably BETTER!
These tiny punctures induce the body’s own natural healing ability – from within – without damaging the skin’s surface.
Micro-needling can help improve the appearance of some acne scars – even after just 2 sessions. Almost 95% of patients in one study saw improvement, and a majority rated the treatment as “excellent.”(1).
Beyond scarring, Dermapen treatments performed by a seasoned Dermal Clinician may also help improve the appearance of some stretch marks and even minor facial burns.
The best thing about Dermapen treatments that it is effective at rejuvenating skin but has a low risk of creating additional pigmentation problems
Microneedling with a Dermapen carries a low risk of hyperpigmentation problems and additional scarring, which makes it a suitable treatment choice for people who have sensitive skin, thin skin or skin with a naturally high-melanin content prone to discolouration problems or melasma. (1)
Clinical studies have consistently shown micro-needling to improve the appearance of:
- most types of scars
- superficial facial lines or early-stage wrinkles (1)
Treatments needed using Microneedling (Dermapen): Every Four Weeks for 4 to 6 Months
Resurfacing skin that has been marred by acne scarring usually takes from 4 to 6 or more Dermapen treatments; which are typically scheduled 4 weeks apart. Whilst, not all stretch marks can be revised, for those that can benefit from Dermapen treatments, 4 to 8 treatments are typically scheduled at 4-week intervals; combined with other modalities where your Dermal Clinician feels these will assist you.
Dermapen: Recovery Time for Microneedling Skin Treatments
- After treatment with Dermapen, the skin may appear a bit pink to reddish in colour by the 2nd day.
- There may be some swelling as well. This usually subsides by about day 3.
- After day 3 post your dermapen treatment, you can typically return to your normal skincare routine. Alternatively, you can ask about getting a Healite II treatment in the days after your micro-needling skin treatment.
- You’ll typically see results after just one treatment. However, the strongest results show up after several treatments. This is because the skin needs time to go through a cycle of cellular renewal.
Why Dermapen provides short recovery times
Most effective skin rejuvenation treatments work at the deeper levels of the skin. They help to encourage cellular renewal and new collagen production. This is done either through ‘renewal stimulation’ using a controlled ‘micro piercing’ (such as micro-needling) or light-based treatments (such as lasers). Some deeply penetrating cosmeceutical serums can also work on deeper layers of the skin. However, with techniques like micro-needling, serums will typically stimulate renewal far more efficiently than just a topical approach alone, because they are penetrating to the deeper layers.
Because Dermapen causes less penetration to the external layer (or overall surface) of your skin, without heat, recovery time from microneedling is often faster than with a laser such as a Fraxel Restore treatment.
Fraxel vs Dermapen Microneedling
Fraxel is also an amazing rejuvenating technology for the skin. It is a leading-edge, safe and effective solution to correct skin damage left behind from either the sun, ageing, gravity, acne or other skin injuries, or even surgical incisions.
Fraxel, like the Dermapen, creates beneficially stimulating micro-injuries to the skin. But instead of using needles, Fraxel uses precise lasers that work below the surface of the skin to stimulate the production of collagen.
Fraxel is not new but the treatment protocols have continued to evolve. As one of the earliest commercial fractional laser used by dermatologists, Surgeons and Dermal Clinicians, Fraxel reaches deeper into the dermis, encouraging rapid healing by stimulating these layers in a controlled fashion.
So how effective is Fraxel?
Fraxel results vary from patient to patient. Most patients get optimal results after several treatments that have been spaced out over several weeks and continuing for several months (with annual treatments not uncommon as ‘maintenance’ treatments).
- Some clinical findings report a 47% improvement in skin texture and up to 50% improvement in skin roughness and wrinkling when the skin has been treated by Fraxel. (2)
In addition to smoothing scars and as an excellent post-op treatment for recent surgery scars, Fraxel (2) can be a great treatment to help:
- reduce wrinkles
- improve skin tone and texture
- even out pigmentation like sunspots and age spots
Fraxel can also help reduce the appearance of post-surgical scars and may be suggested for post-op scar minimisation for some patients.
Skin Cancer Prevention: Fraxel?
- For people over the age of 60, Fraxel resurfacing has been clinically shown to reduce or prevent non-melanoma skin cancers related to ageing.
- It literally improves the way older skin reacts to the UVB rays, helping to keep the skin younger looking – and healthier – from the inside out. (3)
Fraxel Restore Dual
We offer Fraxel Restore Dual with 2 laser wavelengths — 1927nm and 1550nm — so treatment is customizable to meet your needs.
- Dramatic improvement to sun-damaged and pigmented skin can be seen after just one treatment with the 1927nm.
- Generally, a course of 1 – 5 Fraxel 1927nm treatments spread 4 to 6 weeks apart provides the best results.
- For deeper conditions like surgical scars and acne, the 1550nm treatment is used to restore and resurface your complexion.
- With Fraxel 1550nm, 3 – 5 treatments are usually necessary to achieve the smoothest possible skin.
Fraxel Discomfort and Recovery Time
Fraxel isn’t the most comfortable of treatments, but our Dermal Clinicians can suggest ways to ease the treatment journey including medical-grade topical numbing cream before your appointment.
- Downtime and post-treatment effects will vary from patient to patient.
- You should expect some redness and swelling after a Fraxel treatment. Usually, Fraxel skin responses have more redness or swelling than those you’d get from micro-needling.
- You will need to be devoted to staying out of the sun. Preventing inadvertent sun exposure during the healing period is crucial. You should cover up and avoid the sun at ALL times for healthy skin. The sun is very damaging even if you haven’t had a Fraxel treatment.
- Some patients say it’s akin to feeling like you’ve had a sunburn.
- Sometimes resting with icepacks really helps, and the burning or itching usually disappears within a few hours to a few days.
- For people with certain hyperpigmentation problems and an uneven skin tone, Fraxel may not be suitable.
- You need to be flexible and willing to try different treatments.
- You’ll find that our highly experienced Dermal Clinicians can assess your skin and assist you. They use Canfield Reveal technology.
- Your redness may continue for another few days during your recovery period. Some people have it for up to two weeks. However, most people find that it resolves within a few days. And most people can cover it with the right mineral makeup or by-products like Lycogel.
- The skin may take on a bronzer tone over a week or two.
- Your skin will likely flake after Fraxel, much like it would after a sunburn. This will occur as your skin exfoliates the outer layers.
You should moisturize with the right cosmeceutical products during the recovery period. Your Clinician will advise which ones you SHOULD or SHOULD NOT use, both before and after your Fraxel treatment. There are certain pre-treatment protocols you’ll need to follow. This includes what products you can and can’t use on your skin in the weeks leading up to your treatment.
You MUST also stay completely out of the sun after Fraxel. Be sure you follow the preparation and post-treatment protocols exactly or you could risk your skin.
“NO SUN” for the required period after your Fraxel treatment means NO SUN, not some.
- Most people see results within a few days of their treatment. You may instead see your results after the initial redness and swelling from treatment subside.
- Because Fraxel stimulates collagen in the deeper layers of your skin, you’ll notice continual improvement. You’ll notice better tone and skin appearance for up to a year.
- Repeated treatments or top-ups can also make a noticeable positive difference in your skin’s appearance over time!
Ready for Rejuvenation?
If you have hyperpigmentation and Melasma, or have a darker skin type, a micro-needling technique might be best for you. You’ll also find that it’s referred to as Dermapen treatment to assist in scar minimisation or rejuvenation.
Your Clinician may recommend Fraxel if you have very weathered or sun-damaged skin. It’s also a good choice for those who don’t mind a little more preparation, discomfort and downtime.
But these are not the only two options! So, schedule an appointment with a Dermal Clinician to learn which advanced treatment is right for YOUR scars.
Sources and further reading:
1) Skin resurfacing procedures: new and emerging options. NIH.gov. Retrieved September 6, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4155739/
2) Update on Fractional Laser Technology. NIH.gov. Retrieved September 6, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921736/
3) Fractionated Laser Resurfacing Corrects the Inappropriate UVB Response in Geriatric Skin. researchgate.net. Retrieved September 6, 2016. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221873444_Fractionated_Laser_Resurfacing_Corrects_the_Inappropriate_UVB_Response_in_Geriatric_Skin