Fraxel vs IPL in treating sun damage & capillaries

There has been a lot of marketing lately regarding the “Fraxel” laser. While it can be effective device, it is too often being promoted as a “fix all” for a wide variety of skin concerns.

If it is “Browns” due to sun damage, or “Reds” due to rosacea or broken capillaries, Fraxel may not be your best choice. In fact, the Fraxel re:store (from what I have seen) does not seem to offer much improvement when treating these common skin concerns. Fraxel does seem to offer a benefit when treating fine lines and some types of pitted scarring, but the cost is quite significant, and there are other ways of achieving a similar outcome. (and in ways that are healthier for the skin.) Also, be prepared for 2-3 days of swelling and up to a week of redness.


IPL has always provided us with an effective option, and was initially developed to treat pigmentation (both browns and reds). It is extremely effective at treating these conditions, and quite safe in knowledgeable hands. A huge plus for clients is the fact that IPL, while effective, tends to be only a fraction of the cost of Fraxel(tm). We never recommend IPL as an effective anti-wrinkle treatment.

I do understand that everyone will have different experiences, but overall, my findings have been that based on the price, recovery time, pain levels, IPL is the better choice for treating pigmentation & spider veins.

As with both types of treatments, experience is important, with care taken not to treat to aggressively for a particular skin type in order to avoid negative outcomes. These types of treatments should be taken seriously from the clients perspective as well. Being offered a $50 photofacial? I would suggest a second opinion.

Click below for a comparison chart re: Fraxel vs IPL, courtesy of Fresh Vancouver.

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