I decided to have my first
Fractora about one year after I had started using it on my patients. The delay was mostly because of my schedule, but after seeing the transformations in my patients over that year I knew it would be a game-changer for me.
As for the why I wanted to have a
Fractora, there were several factors at play. My first reason was the desire to improve the deeper lines on my forehead and mouth/chin. From working with so many patients over the years I have learned that this tissue tends to become contracted and the lines deepen as we age. I did not want to become dependent on Botox to smooth out my wrinkles...actually just I didn't want to have wrinkles! In addition, I also had developed a lot of little bumps on my forehead and cheek area. The bumps/milia were either white or skin colored. They were easy to cover with makeup, but I really wanted smoother looking skin without bumps all over it. The final reason was my family history. My family tends to have hanging skin in the neck/jowl area, knowing that and seeing my laugh lines and mouth creases deepening I knew that
Fractora would be able to help me.
What Is Fractora
Fractora works by using radio frequency to ablate the skin. Which means it make tiny holes in the various skin layers. This ablation process forces the body to grow new tissue in the area to replace the old skin tissue. The other thing radio frequency does is introduce a deep arch of heat that contracts and tightens tissue. This heat also stimulates your body's natural ability to grow new tissue on top of the ablation.
Fractora allows for us to customize how deep we put these holes, how many we put in the skin, and how much energy is put into the tissue each time. Being able to control each of these factors truly allows for individualized treatments based on each patient's specific needs.
So, the day of the procedure, I was working and seeing patients, a normal day really. About 30 minutes before the procedure, I put topically numbing cream on my face. Ideally, it is best to have the cream on about 1 hour before. Should you feel you need it, you can also take oral medication to relax you. During the procedure I recommend lidocaine injections to block the nerves and greatly reduce pain/discomfort. However, due to my schedule the 30 minutes of numbing had to do.
Being a patient this time I found the procedure itself was very interesting to experience! In areas with the deeper lines, like my forehead and chin area you tend to hear your tissue breaking up as the pins press on your skin. One in your skin the pins will release energy. The energy from the radio-frequency did not bother me much, but I have to admit that more numbing cream would have been helpful. However, I did get through a double pass on my skin, meaning treating the face two separate times in a row. Hearing my own tissue crunch and break up was a new experience for me, and it really helped me to understand what my patents are experiencing so that I can be more sensitive to their needs.
Initially when procedure was over, my face felt very hot to the touch. Aquaphor is used on the skin right after the procedure and it acts as a barrier protecting my skin. Usually you keep it on for at least the next two days. (Quite honestly, the greasy barrier was my least favorite part.) My face looked bright red from the treatment and slightly puffy. I think the toddlers at my daughter's daycare were thoroughly fascinated by my bright red and shiny face! They were full of questions about what happened to me. That night before bed my face still felt hot still as I washed it! Not everyone experiences the heat that long. Some people say it only lasts a couple of hours.
The next morning, my face was no longer red, instead little pin point scabs and brown areas had appeared. My face also felt tight like I had a windburn that day. Again, I had Aquaphor on my skin that gave a shiny/greasy appearance.
On the third day, most of the tiny scabs had washed off and the tight windburn feeling was gone. I was able to put on moisturizer and sunscreen that day as well as some makeup. If you were to look closely at my skin you could see a grid pattern of little holes, but from any normal distance you could not tell that I had anything done! This was mostly due to being lucky in that I did not have major swelling or bruising since that can take a few days to clear.
I did not notice any real difference in my skin the first 2-weeks as I was mostly waiting to get back to "normal". It takes about 2-weeks for the pin holes to heal up. During that time, I noticed that some debris was being pushed out of my skin causing pimples, and those many bumps from milia all started to push out. This was not fun, but necessary for my healing process. However, from the second week on I started to notice my skin becoming tighter, brighter with better color, and in general healthier looking. It was over the next 1-2 months that I started to see collagen increasing in my tissue and lines starting to improve.
Now, to be honest, from the 2nd or 3rd month forward, I did not feel like I could see more improvement. I actually started to wonder if the
Fractora had really worked for me. However, when I finally took an after picture about 5 or 6 months later, I could see such a big change! I think it was because the change to my tissue was so slow and gradual, that I did not notice the difference day in and day out. This seems to be common for some patients, it is difficult to see the change at times but before and after shots seem to be the best way to understand the overall change. On the other hand many that I see at the 3-month mark notice a bit of a change, but at about a year out I will hear a report about what a huge change they realize has happened over time.
Despite the greasy face for a few days, poor numbing before my procedure, pimples, and pushing out milia, I plan to do another Fractora! This is in my opinion, the best way to turn the clock back on my skin's age and move into the future as gracefully and naturally as I can!