Why do I prolonged redness after a Fraxel laser treatment for acne scarring?

Hi Dr Irwin. Thank you for this site, its a so helpful. I Had fraxel laser done three months ago, I suffer from terrible acne scarring on my cheeks. This is my second session. The first time after the laser I suffered from pigmentation around the mouth, this was treated using lightening creams. This time I have prolonged redness on my cheeks.My doctor thinks my skin is still healing, and has prescribed a 8 week course of lymecycline. What is going on with skin? Why is there still redness after three months. I feel really let down. Please help

Ok, so a couple of thoughts, but everyone please remember that it really helps me help you if you tell me exactly which laser. Fraxel makes the original erbium laser, the Fraxel Dual which has the original plus a 2nd thulium laser, and the Fraxel Repair which is a CO2 laser. They are all quite different!

Generally there are a few causes of prolonged redness after a laser treatment. Please discuss these with your doctor:

  1. There is an undiagnosed bacterial infection. Your doctor should take a culture and use antibiotics appropriate to what’s growing. Many doctors, in my opinion, guess too much at what’s growing. But there is no substitute for doing a culture and having the lab accurately identify the bacteria and its sensitivities to different antibiotics;
  2. There is an undiagnosed yeast infection. Sometimes with all the goo that we need to use in the week after a laser treatment and especially if antibiotics or steroid creams are also used, yeasts will overgrow. (they are present on our skin all the time in small amounts);
  3. The treatment was quite deep (not necessarily a bad thing) and it really is taking a few months for the skin to finish healing;
  4. One of the skin creams or lotions used post healing is causing a low grade allergic or irritant reaction;
  5. The treatment inadvertently triggered a rosacea flare or a new case of rosacea in someone genetically prone to it.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

For a cosmetic dermatology guide, read our article Tips to Get a Great Laser Treatment.

Dermatologist recommended skincare on Guide to Fraxel Lasers.

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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