Enlarged pores pose a cosmetic concern for many patients because they are particularly resistant to conventional skin regimes. While other unsightly skin features can be treated relatively easily with the use of cleansers or creams, pore size is much more difficult to tackle.
The term “pore” refers to the enlarged openings of pilosebacious follicles. These may become clogged and result in acne, or can appear as “blackheads,” consisting of excess oil accumulation and keratin which turns black when exposed to air. However, even when the pores are free from debris, they can remain noticeable.
Until recently, enlarged pores had been dismissed as an unavoidable nuisance, dictated by sex, genetic predisposition, acne, chronic sun exposure, and excessive oil production. Treatments such as Accutane, chemical peels, retinoic acid, and IPL occasionally had anecdotal success, but the clinical evidence was never consistently convincing. Patients were urged to reduce clogging, but accept the chronic nature of large pores.
The advent of the Fraxel Re:Store erbium laser has expanded the realm of possibility for treatment outcomes. Numerous studies have proven that 3-5 sessions of the Fraxel can produce pores that are histologically, subjectively, and quantitatively smaller and less noticeable.
How does it work?
The fractionated laser system works to create thousands of microthermal treatment zones (MTZs) amongst untreated areas. These untreated areas provide an intact framework around which the damaged tissue can rearrange and increase collagen production, resurfacing and re-texturizing epidermal surface.
What is treatment like?
Treatment begins with the application of a topical numbing cream, which is given 40 minutes to an hour to absorb. During this time, patients can read, conduct business, or relax. After the cream is removed, treatment takes from 10-15 minutes and is generally well-tolerated.
Is there downtime?
Patients can immediately return to normal activities, as there is a minimal recovery period. A mild heat sensation returns in about an hour, and there is no rawness, oozing, or scabbing. Minor swelling and redness subsides in 2-5 days, and patients can expedite the healing process by reducing salt intake and sleeping slightly inclined.
How long does it take to see pore shrinkage?
3-5 sessions is the gold standard for Fraxel treatments, each spaced 2-4 weeks apart. In addition to pore shrinkage, patients can look forward to brown spot reduction, scar diminishment, fine lines and wrinkle smoothing, and generalized skin tightening and rejuvenation.