So I know it's been a few months since I went for my follow-up Fractora procedure and I'll do my best to recap as many details as I can.
The first round done on December 3rd and it took my skin about five days to not be as red and where I could almost cover it up with makeup. There wasn't a drastic difference yet, but what I learned is that your skin/collagen regenerates every four weeks, so until I've been through a few cycles, I won't see a huge difference just yet. However I will say my skin feel smoother in a lot of areas and there is, overall, a noticeable texture difference. As far as the few pock marks I have, those have yet to be less deep.
I went in for my second treatment a week ago on a Friday (this would be mid January). My dermatologist offered to do JUST the affected areas instead of the whole face and that was a huge relief because I'd been bracing myself all week for the pain that was about to hit and I even took three Tylenol Extra Strength before going in. Thing is, I paid a lot of money for this treatment so I was going to get as much out of it as possible so while I did have her go over my entire face and the problem areas, I opted out of treating the one area that made me feel like I wanted to be put out of my misery: the upper lip area.
Now, Dr. N wanted to go with a higher energy for this round so I said sure why not but that meant the pain was about the same as the first time if not worse and truth be told, it did feel worse in some areas around my cheeks where it even felt like the needles were punching in deeper so I flinched a couple of times. Maybe she didn't pull my skin back as taut as she did in other areas but it really did feel like the needles were hitting harder.
Other than that difference, it seemed to go by quicker and I was a LOT better at the yoga breathing this time around (deep, slow breaths in and out through the nose into the belly).
After treatment (Day 1)
I stuck to using just Cerave instead of the Neocutis cream I was given. The last time I used that cream my face itched and broke out with these clusters of white heads and Cerave moisturized enough and didn't make me itch. That's not to say I didn't I still break out - my forehead actually blistered more with this round (the higher energy level perhaps?) and it was so gross. BUT they seemed to go away the next day. The blisters were also really really delicate and would pop when I barely touched them or when I dabbed my face with a towel. One of them actually peeled and I now have a scab that I really really really hope doesn't stick around or, worse still leave another scar. UPDATE: it disappeared after a couple of months!
The blistering went away after day 2, but the breakouts continued. I tried Googling and apparently edemas are common so that made me less panicky and I got through the weekend without having to bother the dermatologist at the emergency number.
Less red, still scabby and red and a few edema/whitehead spots here and there. Also my chin was peeling like crazy no matter how much moisturizer I applied.
I decided not to leave the house because there was no way I could successfully cover up the peeling and scabs up with makeup. So it was one more day of moisturizing like mad but even The Husband remarked that my face looked a lot better. I did have a few zits here and there and thought if this was anything like last time that they'd disappear quickly.
Nope. Zits still there, some actually bigger. They kind of itched too and popped when I absentmindedly scratched at them (which I don't recommend, just don't touch your face!) But I did leave the house with makeup on and it was near impossible to not be flaky - the air's been so damn dry lately. Luckily I have very kind friends who either remarked they couldn't tell or that I looked fine. Thanks, guys!
Not red anymore but skin is still rough and dry in some places. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Much better though the zits are still there. You can still see a shadow of scabs on my forehead and around my cheeks and problem areas where she did a few more passes with the higher frequency. Thankfully we're snowed in so I don't have to put on makeup or go anywhere so I can give my skin a break. I just hope these zits go away soon. I think I'll try switching back to my regular moisturizer instead of the Cerave, that may be part of the problem too.
It's now June, about 5 months later:
I didn't and don't regret going through Fractora. I don't recommend it for people with average to low pain tolerance because it does hurt and I'm not going to try and sugarcoat it. That numbing cream only numbs for so long but I will say that I'm now a lot more confident about leaving the house with no foundation on. I do still have redness and some pimples break out from time to time but that's going to be my normal and I have to deal with that and also not pick at my face.
The hyperpigmentation went away after a couple of months, I've been diligent with sunscreen and it does still look like my skin is getting better and better. My pock marks are less prominent but they're far from disappearing and maybe they never will.
From the comments I've been getting on the first post, I'm glad I was able to at least provide some solidarity for those of you who've gone through the treatment! I'd also love to hear from those of you who have done it and what your results (now that some time has passed) are and if you're satisfied!