What is the difference between the Fraxel Repair and the Fraxel Dual?

I am 50 this year and my skin condition is very good however I am booked in for fraxel repair in two weeks. I really just want my skin refreshed and I would like lines around my mouth and crepeyness/lines around my eyes and lids addressed too. Hopefully the skin tightens as well. I am now reading some very distressing articles about burn marks, long term recovery and scarring. I have also seen some frightening pictures after the procedure. My question is do you honestly believe the Fraxel repair to be safe and what is the difference in results between the Repair and the Dual which I understand is a less invasive machine. Thank you! Margie

Margie, I’m hoping this gets to you in time to help with your decision. Let’s start with the basics which are that the Fraxel Repair is a fractionated CO2 laser and the Fraxel Dual is completely different – a combined fractionated erbium (1550 nm) and a fractionated thulium (1927nm). Please see more information on CO2 and Fraxel lasers.  


Bottom line, the Dual has less downtime and less risk and is better for pigmentation problems, mild to moderate acne scarring and general texture improvement and skin “freshening.” The Repair has more downtime and more risk but also has the potential to improve wrinkles more and provide some skin tightening. Because it goes deeper and uses more power, it needs to be done by board certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons who have a special interest in lasers (not all do) and be done by the doctor, not a nurse or technician.


It’s also important that the laser pre and post care be done extremely well. If your doctor’s staff is communicating well with you, that’s good. If they are not, my opinion is to not take chances, especially with CO2 lasers. Also, they should schedule to see you, in person, 3-7 days after the laser. That is the way that any early skin infections or wound healing problems can be found early and treated correctly to avoid complications.  


Hope this helps, Dr. I


Learn more from our Guide to Fractionated Dioxide CO2 Laser.


Learn more about the Fraxel Dual Laser


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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