Lasers use high-energy, focused beams of light and are used primarily to treat skin conditions. Laser technology itself is not new in cosmetic surgery but it has improved dramatically over the years. CMDL speaks with Dr. William McGillivray of Project Skin MD® in Vancouver, British Columbia, to discuss the benefits of Fraxel® and how it compares to other treatments.
CMDL: When did you start using Fraxel and why?
Dr. McGillivray: I was one of the first Canadian providers of Fraxel laser treatments over 13 years ago. Fraxel allowed us to treat a wider range of skin types safely. It yielded better outcomes over a series of treatments than any other technology we were using at the time. Although other competing technologies have emerged, Fraxel remains the gold standard in laser resurfacing to this day.
CMDL: What are the overall benefits of laser technology and how does it work?
Dr. McGillivray: When patients are looking for more dramatic results than at-home skincare, laser treatments can be a great solution. At Project Skin MD®, we offer a wide range of laser treatments to help our patients maintain radiant, healthy skin, no matter the issue.
CDML: What is fractional laser and how does it differ from other laser technology?
Dr. McGillivray: Many years ago, Fraxel was the first to challenge traditional resurfacing when they developed their patented, fractionated technology. Unlike other laser technology available at the time of its inception, Fraxel is non-ablative, meaning it does not break the skin’s surface. Instead, the dual-action laser penetrates deeply in microscopic cones of laser energy. Targeted tissues exfoliate naturally from the skin within 3-5 days of treatment, while the skin immediately surrounding each cone is left untreated for fast healing. Essentially, Fraxel pioneered a safer treatment with less downtime, which was exactly what patients were seeking.
CMDL: What are the different conditions that Fraxel® is most effective at treating?
Dr. McGillivray: Fraxel treats sun damage, wrinkles, pigmentation, surface scarring, pre-cancerous damage (actinic keratoses), stretch marks, enlarged pores and more. We can treat almost any area of the body – the face, neck, chest, hands and beyond.
CDML: For someone who is concerned with anti-ageing, how many treatments are needed to see results?
Dr. McGillivray: It will take several treatments ( possibly 3 or more) to initially achieve the desired outcome. After initial treatments, an annual treatment or 2 will help manage ongoing skin damage. At Project Skin MD®, we embrace ageing as a journey, not an ailment with a cure.
CDML: Does Fraxel® work on all skin types?
The short answer: almost. There are some limitations to candidacy (darker skin types, scarring disorders, etc.) which we thoroughly review in consultation. Generally, most healthy individuals over 30 years old can benefit. Unless an individual has dutifully applied sun protection daily since infancy, they will start to notice the effects of sun damage by their mid-30s. Later in life, we will all notice more persistent signs of sun damage like spots, deeper wrinkles and laxer skin. Regardless of your age or the state of your skin, Fraxel is able to target damaged cells, including pre-cancerous cells, and reverse the damage.
CDML: What is the downtime and are there any side effects?
Dr. McGillivray: Patients should expect 5-7 days of swelling, redness, and skin flaking. Post-treatment symptoms should be easily manageable at home and during follow-up visits. It’s remarkable how quickly skin heals after Fraxel. Just remember it’s part of the process and manage your personal schedule accordingly.
About Dr. William McGillivray
With a commitment to forwarding his industry, Dr. McGillivray is identified at the forefront of emerging technologies. Speaking to his exceptional experience with such products as BOTOX®; he was also among the first Canadian physicians providing laser hair removal, Fraxel laser resurfacing, Thermage skin tightening and more.
Recognized as a luminary educator, Dr. McGillivray travels the globe presenting and training on advanced applications for leading technologies including Fraxel®, Thermage®, BOTOX COSMETIC®, JUVÉDERM®, Teosyal®, Restylane® and Perlane®.