What is Fraxel, and can it help you get rid of acne scars?

This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s beauty podcast, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, listen to You Beauty here for free. It’s a blast.

Anyone who’s ever had acne will tell you it’s really not fun.

But for some, the physical and emotion pain of having acne doesn’t end when the pimples heal, because they can leave behind acne scaring.

Acne scars typically look like little divets or dents in the skin where there’s been a loss of skin tissue, and having them on your face can dent your self confidence too.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to reduce the appearance of acne scars, Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty journalist of 15 years Leigh Campbell said on the latest episode of the You Beauty podcast (get it in your ears below, post continues after audio).

One of those is Fraxel.

Here’s what you need to know about the laser treatment that can help get rid of acne scars.

What is Fraxel laser?

“Fractional laser, brand name Fraxel, is one of the most effective treatments for acne scaring,” Leigh said.

“Fraxel laser basically resurfaces the skin… there’s also baby Fraxel, the technical term is Clear and Brilliant, it’s not as hard core as Fraxel and the results don’t go as deep.”

How does Fraxel work?

Fraxel laser works to resurface the skin by using the laser’s energy to remove old or damaged skin cells (i.e. acne scaring or pigmentation) and stimulate new collagen and elastin production.


“Underneath, you’re left with this beautiful baby soft skin. I did Fraxel for pigmentation, I didn’t have scarring. You might need repeated sessions to treat scaring depending on how deep your scars are, but it’s really great for acne scaring.”

Does Fraxel hurt?

“It hurts like a MOFO, but it only goes for a few minutes,” Leigh, who has tried Fraxel before, said.

“They’ll put numbing cream on around 30 minutes to an hour beforehand, but it still really, bloody hurts. The treatment goes for about four minutes. I hold my arms and just squeeze. There’s no pain afterwards, it’s just a bit stingy. It doesn’t hurt for days.”

Is there down time for Fraxel?

Because Fraxel is resurfacing the skin (taking off old skin to let new skin come through), Leigh said you can expect at least four to seven days of downtime.

“If you work at a really conservative place, you might need a time off work. The next day, you’re a tiny bit swollen and red, there are certain foundations you can get to wear on top of the resurfaced layers on skin that are completely safe,” she said.

“On day three or four, I felt very dry and you could almost see tiny little dot marks where the laser had been. On day five or six, I started to flake.”

Leigh also added that you can’t exfoliate your skin to speed this process up, but most places with give you a cream to apply for hydration. Sun protection is key, too.


“Keep in mind, if you have any sort of fractional laser, your skin is a billion times more susceptible to the sun. You really do need to be beyond careful.”

If acne scaring is something that really bothers you, Leigh said looking into Fraxel is worth it.

“It’s worth it, but Google before and afters and see what you’re getting yourself in for.”

Check out this YouTube Fraxel review for more context, post continues after video.

You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

‘What’s your beauty routine for air travel?’

Kelly’s long-haul flight routine:

  1. Get on the flight with no makeup on (or just brows done).
  2. Apply a hydrating sheet face mask about halfway through the flight when everyone else is asleep.
  3. Remove the mask, wash face and apply hydrating moisturiser.
  4. Spritz hydrating face mist throughout the flight.

Leigh’s long-haul flight routine:

  1. Get on the flight with no makeup on OR if flying with a client for work, wearing a tinted moisturiser and mascara.
  2. Remove any makeup with Bioderma Micellar Water (they have baby ones that fit in your carry-on toiletries).
  3. Apply a hydrating serum and then a barrier cream like Weleda Skin Food.
  4. Wear hair up in a high pony.
  5. Towards the end of the flight, cleanse, spritz with a face mist and moisturise.
  6. Apply body lotion several times in the bathroom if you’ve had a fake tan to keep the colour.
  7. Always have a nourishing lip balm like Lanolips.

Leigh’s Spendy: Kryolan Shimmering Event Foundation, $69.

Image: Kryolan.

Why she loves it:

  • Leigh uses this sheer, luminous foundation... for her body.
  • It's called skin finishing:
    • Add three pumps into your body moisturiser and put it on your décolletage, legs and legs.
    • Gives your skin a healthy and smooth glow.
    • No flashback in photos and it sets so you look dewy, but don't feel dewy.

Kelly's Spendy: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick, $78.50.

Image: Chanel.

Why she loves it:

  • Actually a blush but I get in a darker colour and it's the perfect product for cream contour.
  • Is really creamy and lasts forever.
  • Looks so pretty on your shelf.

Leigh's Savey: Australis Bronzing Powder in Golden Tan, $14.95.

Image: Australis.

Why she loves it:

  • I always recommend this for when you need a bronzer in Priceline and don't know where to start, it's super reliable.
  • Comes in two colours, golden tan and sun-kissed.
  • It's quite dark, is a really nice bronzer with a tiny bit of shimmer, and comes in a big pan for more swirl.

Kelly's Savey: Milani Baked Blush in Corallina, $16.


Why she loves it:

  • It's a really cute brand, can only get it from selected pharmacies or online.
  • It's a powder blush, but not powdery-powder, comes in 10 shades.
  • Lasts for ages, has gold reflects through it - it's not highlighter but it adds life to it.
  • Makes you look five years younger, Kelly applies on the apples and sweeps up.

Until next time, stay lovely.

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