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Monday, October 16, 2006



Hi Everybody, I had the Active Fx done on 12/27. Now into Day 2 post-tx. I appreciate the comments from everyone, especially the "pizza frog" lady and "southern belle". Exactly how I feel..the area around my eyes is still puffy..don't quite look like me yet..and now have the blotchy reddish brownish patches..also have a big red continent of deep red-brown from ear down v-neck area, and up to other ear. As prepared as I thought I was, I didn't know to ask the doc about which setting range he was going to use..I am fair-skinned..and when I told him I had taken two weeks off to recover, he said we could "go a little deeper". It felt like stinging needles-when I told him the original setting was too much, he did scale it back..I will ask what he scaled back to at the check-up. (he did this tx on his own mother). So, for now, I am holed up inside, hideous to all, and so true, have acquaphor goo smeared everywhere..going to try some pure aloe vera gel tonight..I wanted to eliminate or reduce the tired sagging skin, turkey neck, sun spots and crepe wrinkles..I am 56, have lots of contact with people in my job, and just wanted to have a refreshed and yes, youthful appearance..trying not to freak out right about now. will keep you all posted.


Thank you everyone for your comments on this blog. The honesty and success of this site is a result of the brillant "hollyhodder" original article. Her humor and insight to women's bittersweet quest to stay attractive touchs everyone on some level

I am scheduled to have active fx with the plastic surgeon/ent who did my sinus surgery. During the 6 months, before and after my surgery, of going to his office, 2 of the women employees looked dramatically better. When I asked them what was going on they told me it was the active fx. (He did them first, before patients).

While I take all these comments seriously, I do wonder if it is the skill of the surgeon. I have also heard it is best to go with a dermatologist.

Good luck to all, and I will write again if something noteworthy happens.


My final analysis of Active FX is that it's create for treating discoloration - as for treating enlarged pores and fine lines or deep wrinkles and any kind of tightening - not a chance. I'm still happy b/c all of my brown spots and acne scars are gone and my skin is for the most part even-toned. That little smile wrinkle - still there. If it can't remove a 30 year old fine line, then I can't imagine it's good for much else in that particular regard.


on my 1st and 2nd post op days, i cant even go out of the house as people are actually looking what happened to me. But today, i got a brand new pinkish glow on my skin. Amazing...:P The pits are shallower but can still be seen. Nice improvements though especially in terms of pigmentations. Lets see after a month to three.


I had my Active-fx today and im a 28yo brown asian male. I did it for some acne scars which are mostly pits. I have probably a high tolerance for pain thats why Xanax and the topical anesthesia is fine for me but yeah, its a bit painful since Asians i guess got thinner skin. Right now, im all soaked with the copper peptide cream and i got some bleeding spots on my face as the nurse did a high intensity over the pitted scars itself. I do believe ill do good in this . Wish me luck.


I'm a 30 year old female and just had ActiveFX this past Friday to get rid of the damage from my 20's. Here's to heading into the next decade with a clean slate (no acne scars, sun spots and fine lines)- I hope. So I'm about day 4. The brown spots that everyone speaks of have pretty much sloughed off through 3x a day light exfoliation. At this point my face is basically red and white. The red spots, I believe are where the laser hit and the white is my own fair skin that wasn't subject to the laser. So I just look rather spotty. The doctor told me that in a few days my cells will "fuse" and my face will just be red. It's only day 4, so I still have time I guess - just kind of concerned. I have another doctor's appointment on Friday. Did anyone else appear spotty like this at any point?
I'm just hoping that I can cover any redness with makeup by Christmas Eve - the first time I have to step out of the house.
Any recommendations on a brand of awesome makeup that covers redness?

Jawana Story

Okay, today is post-op day 2. My face is feeling warm but not hurting or burning. Under my eyes were the most sore yesterday but today they aren't hurting at all. I am doing vinegar and water soaks a couple of times a day and slathering myself with biafine, neocutis, and aquaphor. I look like a greased pig but today I think my face looks a little darker which I believe are the small brown dots that they speak of. I feel at this point if my downtime is longer than expected but the results are good then it is well worth it. The pain hasn't been bad at all. The only problem is when I sleep at night, my face sticks to the pillow from the aquaphor. LOL!! The face dries out quick so I have to keep it lubed. So far so good!!

Jawana Story

Hi Everyone,

I had the FX laser done yesterday. I am very red today and feeling swollen. I did not receive anything but topical and it was not that bad. However, they used the Zimmer for cooling while they were doing it and that helped tremendously. I am keeping lots of lubrication on my face as this is the key from what I understand. I took no antibiotics, YET, but I did take Zovirax to prevent any fever blisters. A couple of my friends had it and they got a cortisone shot right after they were treated and we both look the same so not sure if this will help them in the long run. I am glad I did it but will keep the site updated as to my progress.


Hi all. Just wanted to post an update since I had my 4th post-op appointment yesterday. At this juncture, I feel obligated to caution others on this procedure given my personal, humbling experience. I'm 35, light skinned, and acne prone. I had plenty of sun exposure growing up, but virtually none since college, and very few wrinkles for my age. I thought my otherwise smooth skin was the upside of having to battle a bit of acne into my 30s, perhaps aided by my my religious use of high dollar sunscreens, serums, and creams. As I mentioned before, I had Active FX done to correct scars, (two on my right cheek from acne.) The additional improvement to my skin overall, the possibility that faint crow's feet at the corners of my eyes would have some correction, was to have been the cherry on top. I have been very satisfied with other laser/light treatments, and I was told that this one was "completely safe" by a very reputable doctor that I have had a good history with, etc.

I cannot see improvement in my skin at this stage, if there is any. And when I asked my doctor at my appointment about additional improvement over the coming months, she said that the most noticeable changes would be apparent by now, 1 month out. Additional improvement would be incremental, certainly less noticeable. What is noticeable, and too hard to see past, are the marks, (horizontal lines,) on certain areas of my face that track the passes of the laser across my cheeks and under my right eye. They still have some redness, and my doctor thinks a bit of brown pigmentation. I think there's a little texture to them, but she's not sure. They are much more faint now, and I think she is willing to do what she can to improve the situation with additional lasers.

My skin is also very dry and tissue paper-y on my neck, chest, and forehead and under my eyes. I see new wrinkles. I spoke to my doctor about them a few weeks ago, and she said they were due to tightening and would go right away. (She said the same of the red marks I mentioned above, though, too.) But yesterday, my doctor actually suggested with some delicacy that perhaps I'm noticing what was already there pre-procedure, because now I'm more into scrutinizing my face. I have to tell you, my heart just sank. So disconcerting. Like every person I know with acne, I've always scrutinized my skin. Coincidentally, they did not take "before" photos, so I can't share them here or use them as a reference that could have been extremely helpful in my conversation with my doctor yesterday.

As an addendum almost, the worst scar (or mark or whatever you'd like to call it) that I've ended up with looks like a cigarette burn on my chest. It surrounds an area that looks very white at the center where she removed a little "skin tag" during the procedure. It's a nasty little bugger, but I admit I hardly think about it in the context of what's going on with my face. Talk to me the next time I'm getting ready to go out and decide against a strapless dress in favor of something that will cover it. I'll probably be annoyed about then.

Sorry, once again, to be such a downer. I wish I wish I wish I could gush about how fabulous I look, or even that I'd learned my lesson that I'd spent big bucks for no real result, but my skin looks worse, and hearing my doctor try to lower my expectations about how things will go from here was just too disappointing. I will post again in January with any changes. Best of luck to all of you.


I had the Active FX done November 15th of this year, so this is my 4th week post procedure. I have to say my skin does look much better and have had quite a few comments about how nice and "fresh" I look. Although the fine lines seem to have returned (maybe because my face was swollen) my Doctor told me to be patient and I will see more improvements as time goes by. I am having a problem with some acne on my chin which I was also told this was part of the procedure and would go away with time.
In my honest opinion, I don't think they are honest with you about the down time, and I do think that maybe it is different with each person, and maybe age is a factor, but I honestly could not leave the house confortably for about 10 days, and you can still see redness on my neck. I am still wearing turtlenecks to work. Thank God it is Winter out! I still cannot say whether I would promote this procedure, maybe in a few months we will see.
The posts have really been interesting.
Thanks everyone for listening.


So I'm (very tentatively) signed up for what my doc calls DeepFX in 6 weeks. Frankly, not sure I would have done so, even tentatively, if I had read this blog first. If the "shallower" ActiveFX treatment can do this to people in the first 2 weeks or so, I shudder to think what DeepFX may do. I'm in it for the tightening, mostly.

My doctor, who has done a mini-lift on my lower face quite skillfully, and is board certified and all that good stuff, pooh-poohs the recovery. Back at it no later than 5 days, he says. Which is pretty confident, given that these machines are supposedly just now shipping to docs around the country...

I'm also confused that the reactions to ActiveFX are all over the map. Is it all about intensity and density? Or doctor skill? The variations in short AND long term results are impressive, if that's the right word.

I'm no wimp, but I have NO interest in going through what some of you seem to have gone through, or worse, for little or no results in 3 months or more.

Anyway, I found this on YouTube. The woman who appears on this news show had the ActiveFX treatment done a week prior.

Does Active Fx make skin look firmer? Does it help with smile lines (between nose and mouth)? Thanks so much! I've enjoyed this blog.

Southern Belle

I wouldn't say I had large pores to begin, no noticeable change in pore size. Yes, the laser is fractionated, so leaves a grid of dots where the laser "burns" the skin (I am not a doctor or a scientist, so this is just a layman's explanation. You can get on the lumenis website for a more technical/correct description of how the laser works).

However, after my brown dots sloughed off, I was left with perfectly smooth evidence of the dots after 5 days ( I didn't slough until day 5, I think some people slough sooner).

Hope that answers your questions.

Southern Belle -- Thanks so much for sharing. Do you notice any difference in pore size? And also I am trying to understand if the laser only takes off portions of your skin (like dots?) does it heal and look smooth? You don't still see dots on your face do you? Thanks again. I'm so glad you have healed quickly enough to get out and enjoy holiday functions. Happy continued healing and happy holidays!

Southern Belle

I would have to say the improvements I see are very subtle and only apparent to me, specifically, my overall skin tone is more even (sunspots are gone) and I think the texture is a bit smoother. My under eye area is not completely healed and that is the area I was hoping for the most improvement, so the jury is still out.

I have been wearing makeup with no problems since last Tuesday (that was post procedure day 8 for me). I am able to camoflouge the redness under my eyes with concealer, but everything is still drier than normal.

I have to admit, I have been to several holiday events this last week, and some of the previous posts had me hopeful someone would say my skin was looking great but, alas, it didn't happen!! However, noone said "bless your heart, what happened to your face" either, so I guess no news is good news.

I am trying so hard to give you an objective viewpoint...I hope this helps!

Southern Belle -- thanks for your update. I'm glad you are looking and feeling better. Does your face already look better than before the procedure? Are you able to wear make-up? Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Happy Holidays to you and yours also.

Southern Belle

I am back in the land of the living, so I wanted to give an update. I am on day 11 in the healing process. My facial skin looks great ( a little drier than normal) but color and texture are nice. The skin under my eyes is still a little red and very dry which does make that area look more wrinkled than usual. The previous posts about unhealed eyes are making me nervous, but I have hope that skin will keep sloughing and look as good as the rest of my face.

i also had false hopes about some of the"plumping" I thought had happened in some areas that I had seen hollowing and collagen loss, but it turns out "plumping" = swelling. My doc said be patient, 2 to 3 months to start seeing that collagen remodeling and a full 6 months for maximum effect.

I am just so thankful to look mostly normal and be able to resume my life...everything else pales in comparison! Happy Holidays to all!


I'm jumping in mid-stream into what amounts to a really important discussion.

Given how much is under discussion, I'm caught be surprise by how few Active FX treatment reviews I've received at my community-based site

I know our users would love others to share their experiences. So far 3 Active FX reviews have been submitted (which is very few compared to other skin treatments on the site).

So please consider adding your review here:

We allow uploading of before and afters as well, if that's of interest to share. Thank you for the post.

Do you think it will heal? I have been very conscientious about staying out of the sun/using sun block and a hat always. I had been thinking of having Active FX on the rest of my face but now am wondering if my eyes will ever heal. There was a post earlier from someone who had CO2 around their eyes 3 YEARS ago and it never healed. My eyes look smaller than before and there is a crease at the side of each eye that wasn't there before. Do you know if these are permanent or part of the healing process. I'd really appreciate any knowledge you can share with me. I'm becoming very depressed about it. I will try to take some photos and email them to you. Thanks so much for your time.

Kevin DeBias

Good skin blocks will include key ingredients, similar to your nutritional facts on food.

I'm not a skin care professional, but at the office we recommend micronized zinc (4.5%-9%) or titanium-dioxide (4.5%) for blocking.

the physical blocking characteristics ensure your skin is a reflector and not absorbing sun energy.

my dad created the procedure, spoke with lumenis, lumenis is marketing it as ActiveFX and now incorporating ActiveFX/PigmentFX/DeepFX/TotalFX as a Bridge Therapy treatment strategy, and i will have it done.

co2 after two months ----- see why this technology is so powerful when fully ablating the skin. stay positive. the skin is brand new and i wonder if you had sun/light exposure around the time of treatment. send me your eye picture at as well as treatment date. for now, just keep using sunblock.

take care!

Has anyone else had traditional CO2 around their eyes? Mine is still red and swollen after 2 months. I'd really appreciate any feedback others have on this procedure. Thanks so much.

Has anyone else had traditional CO2 around their eyes? Mine is still red and swollen after 2 months. I'd really appreciate any feedback others have on this procedure. Thanks so much.

Southern Belle

Holly - Thanks for your info and again thank you for a resource I have not found anywhere else. I've been helped, comforted, educated and basically kept sane by this site...not to mention, made some new friends.

Here is my day 7 update - I have truly turned the corner. I think I might even try makeup and public appearances for the first time tomorrow. I still have some redness under my eyes and a little eye irritation, but improving every day. Swelling around eyes is almost gone and the skin on my face is returning to normal color. It is hard to believe you can start out looking like you've been in a major accident and almost look normal again in a week. I was not mentally prepared for this recovery, so I offer hope and warning to those who are on this path or may choose to be in the future...buyer beware!!

Only time will tell if this was worth it. I do see some improvements that I mentioned in previous posts, but I've been thinking I didn't look so bad before. I have to laugh at the irony that this new perspective may be the greatest benefit I receive from this procedure. Inner beauty more important than outer...I wil try to think about that every time I look in the mirror! I wish all of you well.


I never cease to be astonished by the comments posted here by those who have either undergone an Active FX treatment, or who seriously are considering the procedure. When I browse through the year-plus worth of feedback, I can see that there is a difference in reaction (I would never presume to know much at all about the results, except for my own) between those who are looking to appear more youthful, and those for whom such a treatment may improve the long-term scarring and other severe discoloration due to acne or other, more significant issues. The latter of these two, I imagine, are seeking real results, and it reads as though they are well-versed in their treatment options up to this point. I wish them every success - I cannot think how difficult it must be to have major facial scarring or discoloration.
A note about Kevin DeBias, who posted some recent comments: Mr. DeBias not only knows a lot about Active FX, but he has been nothing but honest, forthright, and generous with his information - and more. I have provided a link to the website he has given me, and will do so again. Be sure to visit: Ask him a question, and he'll give you straight scoop.

Southern Belle


Have you personally had this procedure, and if so, what was your personal experience? Secondly, do you have any specific recommendations on sunscreen- the two I have been considering are by Obagi and Nia?

Kevin DeBias

Regarding laser parameters:

Doctors go to school, practice medicine professionally, and open their doors to the public for your benefit.

Respect an expert's opinion.

As they are State-of-the-Art, lasers do change, power settings do change general, it's physics and energy efficiency.

Be careful what you ask for and trust in your treating physician if they have the experience. We purposely do not disclose settings because all lasers use energy differently and it is not a cut and dry comparison.

Happy Holidays and Good (skin) Health!
use sunblock ;o]

Kevin DeBias

DeepFX is the latest advancement in fractional CO2 skin resurfacing.

ActiveFX and DeepFX are considered Bridge Therapy, treating wrinkled, aged, and/or sun-damaged skin. Essentially, DeepFX adds to the CO2 protocols, going deeper and in a finer pin point pattern.

CO2 is the gold standard folks. It's a great time in our age of ozone-"deficiency" worries and accelerated movement toward skin rejuvenation.

see the following video:

Southern Belle

I must be the only one holed up in my house still hiding from the I'll just keep posting!!

Day 6 - progress, but by no means there yet. (I hope "there" comes some day!) All brown has finally sloughed and now left with very pink/reddish colored skin. My eyes are better as well- swelling still there but improved and the really raw areas are still redder than the rest of my face, but better. The irritation in my eyes is not quite as severe today either, just flushing them every 4 hours with visine.

I don't know if all the latest improvements are due to the steroids and Neocutis cream or just progressive days of healing, but I have a feeling it is a combination of both.

I still can't endorse this, but here is the good news. All pigmented areas are gone and overall texture is better. There's no way to judge the things that were bothering me in my eye area due to swelling - fine lines and wrinkles, some hollowing and resulting darkness from loss of collagen. Time will tell and you know I will keep you posted!!

Southern Belle

Day 5 - Checking in with progress. Vain and suffering, it is so encouraging to hear some good news from you. Please keep posting!

I woke up this morning with my eyes crusted shut and I think they were even more swollen than yesterday. Now, not only is the skin around my eyes so raw and red, but the whites of my eyes (sclera) are also very red.

I went to see my doc and he assured me my eyes were just irritated from the vaseline type stuff (Elta MD Post Laser Balm) and the debris that was flaking from around my eyes...not conjunctivitis which is what I feared! He also said he was not surprised by how swollen and red the skin around my eyes was because he did two passes pretty deep (didn't tell me the setting) because he was seeing such tightening in that area during the procedure. The rest of my face is sloughing the brown nicely and the skin underneath looks really nice...I can already see the sunspots on my cheeks are gone.

My doc then wrote me a script for a medrol dose pack to help with the swelling and I also purchased some Neocutis cream to use as well (expensive stuff -$130). I have had 2 doses of the steroids and used the new cream once and already see a positive difference - swelling down some and for the first time in days, the skin under my eyes doesn't hurt.

This is not for the faint of heart! It infuriates me to get on the Active Fx official website and see them say downtime is 4 to 5 days. While that may be true for a few, I think the majority of us here can attest to a much longer downtime. There is no way I would be seen in public yet.

I will keep posting daily progress. Happy healing to all!!


Alex, I had asked my doctor about the settings she used for Active FX before the procedure, and whether it was like 80 or 100 or what, having read some about it. She said it would be more like "100 to 125 on the face," depending on my pain tolerance, and "much less" on the neck and chest.

We never talked about other levels if there are multiple types of settings involved in using the laser. I don't know what settings she actually used in my procedure, but I had little to no pain. I did use some strong numbing cream (photocaine?) that I applied heavily per instructions an hour before the procedure. Plus I had a Valium and something else I can't remember, (maybe Vicodin?) which are standard meds for this procedure in this office. I do know she did 2 passes over my scars. Hope that's helpful.

Have you had your procedure yet? I really do wish you the best of luck! And I have to say, though I had my doubts, I may consider letting the doc do another pass just over my scars again in January (when I can schedule more down time,) depending how things go, now that I'm more confident that she can correct redness that I will know to expect. Hasta la vista.


dear VainAndSuffering thank's for your post!
I think that your doctor used an high and a little strong energy (like 120-130 mj)and for this reason your down time to heal is longer. Is it right??
but I'm sure that THEN you 'll see more results .
The power setting is very important to get improvements, do you know the energy your doctor used with you on the scars?? and how many times he passed on the scars, one or two pass?
good luck! I keep my fingers crossed!!


dear VainAndSuffering than's for your post!
I think that your doct use an high and strong energy (like 120-130 mj)and so your down time yo heal is longer. but I'm sure that then you 'll see more results .
The power setting is very important, do you know the energy your doctor used with you on the scars?? and haw many time he passed on the scars, one or two?
good luck! I keep my finger crossed!!


Hello all. Sorry about the last post... I hate to be alarmist, especially about something that may have benefits for other people who have access to and trust in great dermatologists. I just think I got in way over my head with this procedure.

So I am relieved to report some good news. It is truly amazing how much better my face looks now 2 days after the V-beam to correct the redness from the Active FX. It's not perfect by any means, but there was significant, almost instant correction, especially of the uneven red lines and patches on my face. Would they have healed and faded on their own over time? I don't know. But waiting it out would have been torture. My neck and chest are still very pink, but improved. And the skin at the edges of the treatment area on my chest is a lot closer to the color of the surrounding untreated skin. Just knowing I'm going in for more V-beam next week (again, at no charge,) has me hopeful.

The texture of my skin is sort of funky, and the bit of new wrinkling under my eyes still looks the same to me, but even the 2 acne scars on my cheek have lost a significant amount of red and do seem a little smoother. My skin may still be puffy from the V-beam, so we'll see if the scars sink right back in. Alex, I wonder if maybe there was a smidge of correction to my scars with the Active FX that was hard to see because they looked so red and inflamed. It didn't seem like it at the time, but again, I don't know.

I certainly don't look as good as I did pre-procedure yet, but my doctor seems committed to fixing this and has assured me I will look better than before (importantly, at no additional charge.) I guess my best advice would be to make sure you have a good relationship with your doctor, and discuss how things will be handled in the event of a worst case scenario. Keeping my fingers crossed! My best to all of you! Your concern for me has been both helpful and very sweet. I'll post again in the coming weeks.


I did notice an odd smell from my face, but attributed it to the baby shampoo that I used to wash my neck and face. That is what the Dr. told me to use to cleanse my face and neck. It does go away, and I have to tell you, I have had a few compliments on my skin, how smooth it looks, and over all fresh look ( as someone told me). And these comments are from people that do not know I had this done. I still am not sure it is worth the pain that I went through, and my neck is still red, although it is looking better, but will let everyone know in a few weeks if it was worth it. I think they don't tell you the whole truth about how much down time you will have, because had they told me everything I would go through, I probably would not have had this done. We will see.

Southern Belle

Did anyone else notice that your face stinks? I haven't seen anyone else post about this. My hubby is an anesthesiologist and he said that smell is typical of burn patients. They sure didn't include that in the pre procedural info!!


hello to all. so glad i found this site. i had the procedure done november 23. So far i sse no diference than maybe my skin color is now even toned.ButI am now more wrinkled, have a face of boils under skin, red patches all over an broken blood vessels. I saw my doctor yesterday and he said my skin color is better. He said that in time my skin will get tighter. ????? i d not believe it for a minute.I dont understand how?I am glad that i only told 2 people that are close to me that i was having this procedure done because if anything i look worse not any better. my email is if anyone would like more info and pics. I would not recommend this. I had the co laser peel 1 year ago and it didnt work either. It made my skin more sagged and the doctor refunded my money and referred me to a new doctor and this doctor waited until this fx came out and as soon as it did he suggested that i do it that i would be very happy with the outcome. I am feeling very depressed and cant believe i went through it for nothing. if anyone felt this way 1 week after and it got better please let me know. thank you Keri

Southern Belle

Day 4 update. Becoming a little depressed. Hiding in my house, watching tivo episodes of Dr. Phil, and eating my children's leftover Halloween candy, yes I know it is Nov. 29th. I don't see much improvement in the healing process..still very swollen, not much sloughing - raw where there is sloughing, worried about infection and scarring in thoses areas - and I voluntarily paid money for this!!

I finally figured out who I look like...remember the kid in the movie, Mask (Cher was his mother). Minus the red! I see a great deal of similarity. I think I will go see my doc again tomorrow, but I have this nagging feeling he will say I look great, right on track. I can't picture him saying, "Wow, that's bad, really bad. You might need some skin graphs."

Thank you Holly for providing a place to whine. I think I'll go have some cheese.

Southern Belle

Okay, trying not to panic...when I washed my face tonight (had procedure Mon AM) I had some sloughing of the brown spots, mainly around my eye area and some on my cheeks. Those spots are now painful raw meat. That's the best way I can describe it...very, very raw. Is this normal? Did anyone else experience this? Should it hurt?

I would appreciate any feedback! Thanks


Hi, I am planning to get Active FX done in a month or so. My doctor did a little patch test behind my ear to make sure it heals well without hyper nor hypo pigmentation that he is concerned about a week ago. I didn't have any swelling or discomfort. After a week, the teated area looks fine although still visibly reddish. Do you know anybody with a oriental kin (medium fair) with lots of freckles who went through Active FX successfully?

Southern Belle

Oh vain and suffering, your post is there someone else in your area that does this procedure and could give you a second opinion? You only have one face!! I would be looking for some reassurance from someone who didn't perform the procedure. I wish you a speedy recovery.

This is day three,( I guess), had Active FX on Monday morning. Went for post op today and had the same reassurance from my doctor...I look great. Scary! I would hate to see what bad looks like. My swelling is a little better today, but I am still pretty swollen around eyes, nose and upper cheeks. My skin color is more a dark brown than the red everyone else has described. I haven't started sloughing yet and I can't believe I'm going to say this...but looking forward to that!

Thanks for everyone's posts...misery truly loves company


hallo vainandsuffering! I 'll active fx in december here in Italy, but on scars only, not full face.
why your doc made a full face trattament if it was not necessary??
My doctor says that I 'll have the second active fx in february.
but really you can't see any improvement on your scars at the moment?? my doctor says that a little improvement you have to see already at the FIRST active fx, and at the second time more and more improvement, are you agree or you don't notice any difference on your scars??
thank's ale


Checking back in... I'm at Day 15 post procedure, and had my second post-op appointment yesterday. I still have tons of redness, but not an all over bright or baby-pink kind of redness--more like patchy redness and also horizontal linear red marks that appear to be areas of broken blood vessels where you can still see portions of the grid on my face. Not so much the little patterned dots, but more like streaks where maybe the laser went over a small area twice in some places as the doctor moved down my face from section to section.

It's worse on my chest, in terms of the contrast between the red blotchy treated area that is very distinctly demarcated from where I was not treated.

I would be hard pressed to say I see any improvement in terms of fine lines. In fact when I reported some new wrinkling and crepe-y-ness under my eyes at my appointment on Day 7, especially under one eye, the doc said it was normal, due to tightness, and would go away. New wrinkling NORMAL??? Yowwwwwwza!! We did not go over this as a possibility, pre-procedure. I have not seen improvement a week later. I did have one horizontal line above the bridge of my nose/between my eyes (where I used to have breakouts in college) that seemed to flatten out a few days after the procedure, but now it's back. Maybe slightly more shallow. I don't know.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had this done to get rid of a couple of acne scars on the right side of my face. My dermatologist had been zapping these periodically with Cool touch and V-beam since they appeared around January with hardly any result. When I asked her about dermabrasion, she said Active FX would smooth the scars right out, and make the rest of my skin look fabulous. I must add that she stressed how safe Active FX was, (to put it in context, I have done a couple of IPL/Levulan/Blue Light treatments for acne with very good results,) and what a deal she was giving me, (due to the circumstances of my scarring,) before signing me up. And as a footnote, this is an incredibly reputable office and my docs actually train other docs on a variety of these laser procedures.

I have never had all over acne, but I get a cyst from time to time that has to be injected with cortisone. Once before, a couple of years ago, when the injection didn't go in just the right spot and had to be redone the next day, I got a scar. A pretty big one. It went away after the doc zapped it with Cool Touch (to build new collagen over time,) and popped some collagen into it to smooth it in the meantime. It never came back. The two I have now are stubborn. I see no textural improvement 15 days after Active FX, and the new redness from the laser actually highlights them.

They carefully asked me how I was doing at my appointment. I said I was hanging in there, happy to be past the monster stage, but hoping permanent damage hasn't been done. Obviously concerned and not happy.

They assured me they can "fix it." Ouch! I am not imagining my fears. I really don't look like I should at this point. A week ago, though I looked much worse, I was "healing beautifully," according to the doctor. But looking at me now, we need to "fix it." Deep breath. OK. Help me.

They went over my whole face, neck and chest with a V-beam laser to work on the redness and broken blood vessels. I'm scheduled for another V-beam next week, and another post-op appointment with the doctor in two weeks. They said we can go over the acne scars with Active FX a second time in January, so I won't be crusty during the holidays. We'll see if I let them touch me with that laser again...

They did say I am still healing. And that they will be able to make me look better than ever. And that I will LOVE the result in the end. Good. They can't give me a time frame for when that will be. Concerning. So much for 5 to 7 days of down time in exchange for a stellar result. While their current optimism is tempting, it's not exactly contagious. But, what else is a girl to do? Wish me luck, and I'll keep you posted!


Pearl is by laser company Cutera. I have both in our office. You will need 2-3 treatments of Pearl; it is similar to an IPL(photofacial) w/levulan treatment in my opinion. Pearl will NOT tighten but will improve age spots/freckles and maybe fine lines. FX is a one time procedure that improves tone,texture, tightening, and builds more collagen -- remember Active FX is CO2, considered the gold standard.

Southern Belle

I had ActiveFx yesterday about 10AM in Birmingham AL by Doctor Warren Seiler. I tolerated the procedure very well with Merpergan and Ativan along with the numbing cream. I am extremely kids have taken to calling me the eskimo lizard queen. How sweet!! The swelling around my eyes where he took two passes are swollen enough to make my facial features almost unrecognizable. I'm hoping for big improvement tomorrow. I started Bromelain and Arnica (herbs that help with swelling)so we'll see what Iook like tomorrow. I have also been using different post op goop. Mine is by Elta MD post procedure balm. Seems to be working fin; I see my doc tomorrow, so will try and follow up with all of you after that visit. Here's to aging gracefully with a little help!!!


It will be 2 weeks Thursday that I had the Active FX procedure done and I can really say that my face looks really nice. The sun spots are gone and the fine wrinkles are pretty much gone. My neck, though, is still healing, it is still red and itchy. I had to go to work today, so I am wearing turtlenecks. I live in Ohio and had the procedure done in Indiana, and my Doctor only charged me $1000, as I was one of the first patients that got the procedure done in that office.
Had I known how terrific the pain was before hand, I would have taken a pain pill, but I was actually told that it wouldn't be painful. I still don't know if I could recommend this procedure to any of my friends, but again, I will report back in a month or so. It is very interesting to read how everyone else has gotten along.


Is it true PEARL is better than Active FX? I had an initial consultation with a doctor and planned to have ACTIVE FX on my face. But, somebody said PEARL is better for a person of color (I am an oriental.) Any inputs or insights?


hallo sunshine! how are you?
please, can you tell us about your improvement at the moment?


Also, my doctor told me healing was different for everyone, it took me 5 days (not three) to heal. Besides that, the eye shields and pain where what I expected, tough but not too bad. I had 5 Fraxel treatments in 2004 and those cost me $5000K and it hurt more. I didn't mind paying $3,500 becuase the ActiveFX results were much better and it only took one treatment vs 5. I think I paid more becuase my Doctor is one of the best at using the ActiveFX laser. Either way, it cost less than other treatments and I saw more improvement.

suuzen anderson

I forgot to say: my skin has looked very good from one month after Active FX up through now. The brown spots and dialated capillaries were gone from the start, and my skin smoothed out on the surface from the start and stayed that way. I am just a patient, not a doctor, but it is hard for me to see how brown spots and dialated capillaries would disappear later if they were not burned away by the Active FX laser at the beginning.

I don't know how long Active FX lasts, but I am guessing that since the skin keeps aging and accumulating sun damage from the rays that manage to penetrate sunscreen, it probably has to be repeated every few years to keep skin looking its best.



I had my ActiveFX over a year ago and can comment on the long term results. My skin and wrinkles did continue to improve for about 6 months post treatment. Collogen improvement is NEVER instant, it always takes time to rebuild, that is why the ActiveFX continued to improve my wrinkles months after my treatment. It was the best $3,500 I have ever spent. I am considering getting a second ActiveFX in a year or two. The ActiveFX works, but you need the right Doctor! Polly

suuzen anderson

The first six days my skin looked as though I had a very bad sunburn; it peeled for three days after that. It had a few reddened areas for about a week after that. It looked great from then on.

Dr. Daneshmand mentioned while he was doing the procedure that he uses a very heavy numbing solution for an hour before the procedure, and a sedative and narcotic a half hour before, because getting good results depends on the patient being numb enough for the doctor to use a laser setting that will actually make a difference. He said he also prefers to make two passes over areas that have the most wrinkles, like the upper lip, so this is why he keeps confirming that you are still numb and having no pain. I was very numb; I found I could not even feel my finger push on my cheek before he started.

From my experience, I think Active FX works best on the surface of the skin - it gets rid of little lines, reduces slightly deeper lines, gets rid of dialated capillaries and brown spots, and slightly shrinks skin that is already losing its elasticity so it looks younger and smoother. I am over 50, so my skin is losing its elasticity enough for this to make a noticeable difference. For someone under 40, there probably wouldn't be any visible shrinking because their skin is probably still pretty elastic.

I've seen a few photos of people who are very deeply wrinkled "before" and not wrinkled "after." I don't know for sure, but I am guessing these people had Max FX, which completely burns off all the top layers of skin, rather than Active FX, which just burns pinpoints of skin as it goes. The same laser is used for both, but Max FX leaves you more vulnerable to sunburn forever because it has taken off the top layers of the skin. Active FX leaves you more vulnerable to sunburn for about two months, and then you don't have to be any more careful than you were before.


Dear Suuzen,

Could you tell me how long it took for you to see good results. I had my proceedure done on the 10th October and I am still waiting for the results to show. I still have slight brown marks on the sides of my cheeks which is why I had it done in the first place, the doctor said it could take upto three months to see positive results. My skin keeps breaking out with large white spots which is not pleasant. I have read all the above blogs but there does not seem to be many people who are months down the line reporting on results. I had my proceedure done in spain which was expensive 2500 euros plus all the creams I had to pay for which were over 400 euros. To be quite honest I did expect more results for my money, only time will tell.


Suuzen Anderson

I had full-face Active FX done in San Diego by Dr. Sean Daneshmand (his website is in March 2007. It is now November 2007. I highly recommend both the procedure and Dr. Daneshmand (no, I do not get paid to say this!).

He uses anesthetic cream and a mild sedative and narcotic; I had no pain at all. He put eye cups over my eyes, but because my face and eyes were completely numb, and he had me roll my eye up (the way you do when putting in eyedrops) I could not feel or even see the cups go in. He's very skillful.

The two best things about Active FX, as Dr. Daneshund does it: 1) it completely eliminated the tiny wrinkles (like crepe paper) on my eyelids; my eyelids now look as smooth as they did thirty years ago; and 2) it eliminated all the little "broken blood vessels" (dialated capillaries) and little brown spots on my nose and cheeks from sun damage. It left my skin very smooth and uniform in color, reduced lines above my upper lip and on my chin (some were too deep to eliminate), and tightened my upper face and cheeks. The tightening is more of an all-over skin shrinking than a lifting of any particular area - it is not a facelift or anything like that.

Dr. Daneshmand was also very kind and gentle; he kept checking with me every few minutes to make sure I was not having any pain. The procedure, which took about half an hour, cost $1500 and it was money well spent. I am still really happy with the result.


Has anyone heard of the NEW handpiece that comes with the Active FX ? called "DEEP FX" for even tighter skin ? rumor it will be out in 1-2 months !!


I had my week check up yesterday. I looked at the old pics against my new face in mirror. Skin tone has improved. The brown spot is gone. Eyes seem a bit more alert. My jowl line is the same. This is the reason I had it done. I am told that it will get better over the next few months but I will not notice it until I see the before and after pics at that time. I actually wanted a procedure that would be noticed. I am hoping other people DO notice or SOMETHING. Like I said before, it was NOT painful. I am wondering what is different about all the procedures I am hearing here that were painful. Can't tell you, but I would not be nervous at all to get it done again. I still want a more dramatic difference, though. I'll be back.


I just had the Active FX done on November 15th, and today is my 6th day, I am still pretty pink but with no swelling. My neck is still very sore and red, but was told today by my Dr. that the neck area takes longer to heal. I do see some pretty dramatic results (tightning, eyelid tighting, no age spots and overall nice looking skin) if you can get past the pink.
I thought the procedure was very very painful and don't know at this time if I could recommend this procedure to any of my friends. I'll let you know in a few weeks.
I am 52 years old and worshipped the sun, but after this, I won't be doing that anymore!

M. Margaret Neil

Four days post treatment and this is what I'm noticing: Skin is still pink and patterned and going through a second, lighter peel after I finally got the first burn layer off. The itching I previously claimed to welcome nearly drove me insane. Since I'm one of the lucky ones still prone to acne breakouts in my forties, keeping my skin moist with that awful goop also encouraged hideous whiteheads to pop up. But once my face stopped weeping and I was able to use a lighter moisturizer (Cetaphil), they cleared up. The big spot on my cheek is now just a darker red patch that I'm pretty sure will fade and I'll finally be free of it (yay!) Now that the swelling has gone down, some of the wrinkles that initially seemed to have disappeared (two lines on my forehead and the frown lines between my brows) are now visible again...perhaps less deep. One unexpected benefit appears to be a slight lifting of my eyelids, which weren't that droopy to begin with. Smile lines around my eyes are non-existent, however, ask me what I see in the mirror after a full day squinting at the computer and laughing normally. I'll wager they'll be back soon enough. Pores are unchanged, but I read somewhere that there is no procedure to shrink them -- you get what your parents gave you. I've heard much mention of the improvement we are supposed to experience over the next months as our skin manufactures new collagen. Has anyone who had the procedure months ago experienced further improvement? One of the things I wanted to point out that I hadn't seen anywhere here, nor did my doctor mention it, is the importance of nutrition in healing. Burns respond to -- and collagen production requires -- zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A and silicon.


Institute for Laser & Aesthetic Medicine. This is where I had my procedure done. It was $1500.00, but if you brought a coupon from the paper, it was $1350.00. Subsequent procedures (same nature) will be half price. I do think this is very reasonable, if it really can replace the life style lift I was going to get. I am on day 5 and the redness is gone. I had a ruddy complexion before the procedure and I still have that color, but the brown sun spot is gone. My face feels dry and I have a good moisturizer, but it doesn't quite feel like it is doing the job. On close inspection, I see no real tightening qualities, but then again, I haven't seen my before pictures. I had thought my jawline was less droopy, but it may be the same. The skin under my eyes looks a bit papery or crepey and I don't think I noticed anything like that pre-procedure. My eyelid on my left side seems a little droopier, if that makes sense. Almost like the swelling stretched it out. I am hoping this will all clear up as my skin produces more collagen. I did think I would have more noticeable results. I go back on Wednesday and will see what they say. It was not a bad experience, though, but I was hoping to avoid a life style lift. I may have to have that, too....hmmmm.


What a great recent run of comments. I wish all of you the kinds of results that you desire.

I confess, I am astonished at the pricetag that M. Margaret Neil reported (btw: click on her name and check out her blog) - all the more reason for me to be thankful that my procedure was free.

Hylunia, here I come. I have been using the second line of products sent to me from the Institute for Laser & Aesthetic Medicine,, for about two weeks now. The product lines are Hylunia and Hymed, made by US Advanced Medical Research, Inc. I have been using Glycolic Home Treatment, Super Hydrating Facial Lotion, and Healing & Restoring Cream. After two weeks, the first thing I can say is that this line does not come close to Allergan's Vivite. Vivite really did make my skin feel softer. This line doesn't approach the same result.

I'll write more, create a full post, after "Herbie" has had a few more days to lead Moment Magnitude.


Hi again,

Rita, I'm happy you're finally starting to see some sloughing. BTW, you go girl with the 35 year old arm candy of a hubby :) Just kidding... I'm sure you're his trophy and he'll be blown away at the sight of you only days from now :)

Dee, thanks for the tips and the positive attitude. Keep 'em coming, darling.

And to everyone out there, how are you handling the down time? I'm so thankful I scheduled sitters and have my husband taking up the slack at home while I'm holed up at my mom's house. I would honestly prefer to avoid even my husband and kiddos for another day or two. If I could have anticipated this reality, I would have done a much better job of packing and grocery shopping. I do have a book, and I've been addressing Christmas cards during the day to pass the time. Just wondering whether I am truly the most insecure person on the planet as I draw the draperies to settle in for the evening.

I had a lot of crusty clearish and brown skin come off my face today too. Most of what's left is around my eyes, on the outsides of my cheeks and along my hairline. I am a bit nervous though, because the skin underneath is really rosy. Like a very bright deep pink. Not like the baby pink new skin HH described. Hmmm... And, it's darker in the areas where she did a second pass over some old acne scars, even though the top layer has peeled. It's definitely more uneven in color than it was pre-procedure. I do remember my doctor telling me the skin underneath could be red at first, and that I could cover it with makeup (I think she recommended something called glycogel?) until it faded. I'm not used to wearing face makeup, either, but I suppose I'm a quick learner. Day to day I'm realizing I should be careful what I wish for...

My neck and especially my chest are still a very angry red. Maybe a little less oozy. I'm just trying not to think about them, and instead focus on the fact that I will likely be able to wear a turtleneck and fill a prescription at a drive through window at the pharmacy tomorrow without causing jaws to drop in horror. (Something I could not have pictured while looking in the mirror only yesterday.)


I just want to add that I am an RN so I am VERY careful with everything I do! Thanks for looking out for me.


Actually, the doc that did mine is the one that perfected this technique (or something). His wife was the one who told me to go to the shower and massage a lot. I didn't scratch or use anything abrasive. It was just the water. My skin looks tons better now and I am going to take another shower right before bed. My two daughters came over today and commented that my skin looked so good! I was ecstatic. We'll see what tomorrow brings. All I know is my skin looks 100% better than this morning! YAY!


I don't know if you're supposed to rub your face like that, Rita, especially for 10 minutes. I think you're supposed to just let it come off in it's own time (a few days). I can't imagine that rubbing your skin for that long isn't going to irritate it, or worse, scar it. I wonder what your doc would advise? Mine told me not to touch my face at all if I could help it, and when I washed it, to be very very gentle. It's very tempting to want to scrub off that old skin, I know. My face was itching like mad.
Anyway, the brown excess skin comes back because more layers need to come off, and that's a good thing. Let it do it on it's own. It's only a few days. Soon you'll be gorgeous!


UPDATE!!! I think I have found the trick. The one girl told me to make sure I go in the shower to wash my face and massage. I did that the other days, but nothing happened. Did you ever take a bath or shower and start to rub your feet or hands and find dead skin that rubs off with the water? Well, THAT is what I did for my face. I washed it, then let the water run over it until the soap was all gone. Then I started rubbing, not hard, just up and down on the skin. I started to feel that dead skin sensation. This went on for about 10 minutes all over my face. When I got out, almost ALL My brown was gone! Crinkly skin looked better, too, and jowls looked tighter. I actually DID feel I looked younger. That, too, may be wishful thinking, but who cares. I was going to go for some makeup, but even after I put my moisturizer on, my skin felt tight again and started to flake AGAIN! I opted for a light covering of Aquaphor because my moisturizer just couldn't do it. My skin looks like I have rosacea now, but it is not brown. I noticed a brown spot that I had on my face before the procedure is gone. I know I have a lot more sloughing to do, but this gives me new hope.


Hey there, Vain. Maybe I am a slow healer, too, but I think I should have been told. I am slightly better this morning, but that may be wishful thinking. This is day 4 and although I guess I shouldn't go out, I am stir crazy. There will be no makeup going on this zombie face, either. I have shiny, wrinkly skin under both eyes. It looks sort of papery and is scaring me. Only flaking it my T area. I think it is finished around my lips and chin. A few whiteheads around my nose (probably from the awful Aquaphor). I still have dark brown, non-crusty cheeks that show the pattern. I was told this would come off in my hand. It looks like part of my complexion now. I am a young looking 50, but my hubby is a young looking 35 so I needed something. If this doesn't do much, I guess I will try the feather lift, but I was hoping for natural. I can't WAIT until I get normal skin again...whenever that my be. Horror stories of taking 2-3 weeks to heal are freaking me out! I think I'll call them today for reassurance.

M. Margaret Neil

First of all, Holly, your description of the eye shields was better for my abs than a hundred crunches. I don’t often get the opportunity to laugh so hard, since it’s difficult to make me – so kudos for that accomplishment. You're a good writer. Kudos, too, for the inadvertent run-away popularity of this blog. I know you didn’t intend for it to do so, but it seems to have provided a much needed forum for those of us looking for some honest feedback.

About a month ago I read all of the posts here (instantly spotting and rejecting the very obvious exclamation-point-filled fake endorsements), and after much research picked an M.D. I felt I could trust. I had the procedure yesterday afternoon to address one large and several smaller sun-damage spots on my cheeks that I’ve gotten sick of having to cover every day with heavy makeup. Since I’m in my early forties with a decade-younger new husband, I was also looking to smooth out some of the ever-deepening wrinkles around my eyes and maybe even erase a few old acne pock marks.

The office staff were all very nice, but a bit harried. I got my numbing cream and sat for some time before the nurse remembered to give me my valium. I probably wouldn’t have needed it, but I figured when it was time to lower the eye shields, I’d be better prepared if I was a bit loopy. This blog also taught me that I should go for a deeper burn. Since I didn’t want to go through the expense, hassle and hideous appearance only to find I’d gotten little to no benefit, I lied when the doctor started zapping. He shot me once, asked if it hurt, and I chirped, “Nope.” He raised the level, zapped again and I said, “It’s fine.” Thrice and, “No problem.” All throughout the procedure he and the nurses were heavy on the praise for my extraordinary pain threshold. If only they knew I was lying like a rug. For most of the areas of my face the pain was truly tolerable, but there were some spots where I wanted to scream, “Stop it Stop it Stop it!” Especially when the shivering began. I can’t say it was uncontrollable, because when I concentrated and forced myself to relax, I did stop shaking, but then the pain would pull me away and it would start again. One thing that was kind of funny and a little gross – I was starving because I hadn’t gotten any lunch that day and the smell of my own burning flesh kept making me want barbequed pork.

Today is day two and my eyes are swollen, my face is dark pink with blotchy brown burn areas, and even though I have a thick layer of the clear, goopy cream they provided, I can tell I’m oozing a bit, especially from the (no longer visible) dark pigmented areas where the doctor used “Max FX.” Sleeping on my back last night was a huge challenge for me since I have neck pain issues and much prefer to be on my side, but I did surprisingly well after propping two “reminder” pillows on either side of me.

Cost here in San Diego was $2550 and they include some fancy full-spectrum skin care line for after I heal that I’m told will last me for six months. They gave me an antiviral to begin the day before, an antibiotic, a steroid for swelling and some Vicodin. The pain, like others who’ve written before me, really only lasted for two or three hours, which is amazing when you consider getting a tiny burn on your hand from the stove can just KILL you for days. Now I only feel fleeting pain when I forget and allow an expression to show on my face. I’m also beginning to itch, but I welcome it because that means I’m healing. I will come back and update on whether I feel I’ve gotten any benefit once I no longer look like a burn victim. Thanks for all the invaluable input everyone.


Hi Rita,

I'm totally down with the notion of "no pain, no gain." Active FX wasn't really painful for me. What's been way worse is that my anxiety about whether I will ever look halfway normal again is sort of killing me. Except in the T-zone of my face where I am starting to peel, my "dots" are dark reddish-brown, soft and don't appear likely to crust and slough off anytime soon either. If anything, I think the Aquaphor and TAC creams are making my chest area gummy and oozy. At my appointment today, though, everyone assured me that I look exactly like I am supposed to, even after I mentioned that it was very hard for me to believe. They know I'm super-nervous, so my doc pulled out her own post-procedure photos after having had Active FX in June. She said she's a super-slow healer, and I admit, I do look similar to her photos at the same stage. She said my down time may be a bit longer as hers was, but she knows I am going to be really pleased with the results. If my skin looks anything like hers does in the coming weeks, I definitely will be. Hang in there, and I'll try to do the same. Though I wouldn't have wished this on you, it does make me feel the tiniest bit better that there is another person out there going through the same thing I am--so, thanks for posting and best of luck!


I am Day 3 after Active FX. It was done by Dr. Debias as previously talked about. He was very informative, the price was right, I had no sedatives and the procedure wasn't painful at all. I had numbing gel all over my face beforehand. He used goggles, no suction cups. It felt like I was being sandblasted a bit. I actually was relaxed except when the air went too close to my nose. I HATE that! No shivering. I went home and had a lot of burning for a few hours. It was hard to sleep the first night. I woke up to a little swelling and a million brown dots. I got through the day. Today I am sloughing, but not like I thought I would. I still have a lot of brown dots that feel soft so I am not sure how they will crust and slough by my day 4 tomorrow! I got to see two people's pics on days 1-4 in the office and I look worse on day 3 than either of them. Right now I don't see much improvement, but the dots are scaring me. My forehead has dot impressions that are soft and the same color as my skin! It looks like they are permanent. I sure hope they are not! I was also told that although it keeps producing collagen and you have months to see effects, I should get it done every 6 months! that doesn't sound like something that is going to last years. If it makes me look better I might continue. I am just worried that I will be peeling for a long time. Today I am itchy, tight and uncomfortable. I can't stand it without the Aquaphor and I hate the greasiness. I'll keep you updated.


I had Active FX on Tuesday the 13th, so I guess that means it's Day 3, post treatment. I'm 35, and after discussing it with my doc, my goal was to help with acne scarring, uneven texture and discoloration, and if it would do anything for fine lines, that would just be the cherry on top. My doc also suggested that sloughing off the top layer of skin could get rid of pre-skin cancers, which she knows is a concern of mine since I have a family history and had way too much sun exposure as a kid.

The office had me apply the Photocaine topical anesthesia an hour before the procedure and then they applied more maybe 15 minutes before the zapping commenced, but I have to say, I could hardly feel the laser. A tech was blowing cold air over my face the whole time, which definitely seemed to help. I did take a Valium, and because the office forgot to call my ride when they said they would, I had to wait in the procedure room for about 15 minutes after it was over. The tech kept blowing my face with this cool air the whole time, and I think that really made a difference. It took all the heat out of my skin, and I never had to use the ice packs or Advil they recommended.

Today, I still look miserable, but I can tell that portions of my face are healing and peeling with pink patches peeking through around my nose, mouth, and chin. The thing I'm freaking out about though, is that they also did my neck and chest, and these are not healing at all. They're still deep red as opposed to brown and crusty. My face, neck and chest were "included" at a discounted rate of $1500, but I'm totally regretting I let them touch my neck or chest. Before my appointment, I asked about laser "levels" after reading this blog, and the doc did say they use a much lower setting on the neck and chest.

Looking at me today, my mom said she hoped I wouldn't be scarred on my chest, because it appears that I could end up with a line demarcating the treated and untreated areas. So now I'm panicking. I have a post-op appointment scheduled for later today, but I just called the number at the office of the Institute for Laser and Aesthetic Medicine (which I got from one of the earlier posts on this blog,) and they're telling me the skin on the face heals much faster than on the neck and chest, and that it's totally normal for their patients to take a few weeks for these areas to heal :( I guess I'll say a prayer and hope that the worst of what's yet to come will be Aquaphor-stained turtlenecks at Thanksgiving... Nice. I can only blame myself, but I just wish my doctor's office had been more clear about this potential downtime. I am certainly learning some lessons about my own vanity and insecurity through this process. Will keep you posted.


Hello again! My first post was on October 18, which was 2 days after my procedure. Yesterday, I had a follow-up procedure which was part of my Active fx cost. It is called Titan. My doctor did one side of my face, had me look at myself before doing the other side. Amazing! The cream that I ended up purchasing after the Active fx is called Neocutis. Read about it before purchasing, as it is somewhat controversial.
I, however, LOVE it! The procdures and the neocutis (not cheap) have truly made an amazingly positive difference in my skin's appearance. I do not look 10 years younger, but the comments from people I know that do not know I had this performed are real! I love it! FYI - I also found on the internet (E-bay) a place that sells the Neocutis cream and the Clarisonic skin care system for much less than you can find it from your Doctor. Go to E-bay and type in Neocutis or Clarisonic. You will be able to find it on your own (as I did).
I would recommend everything I did to anyone!


hello sunshine! I have to do active fx, here in Rome , for acne scar. Not full face, but on the skars only. I will have active fx 2 times (one on 20 november and another one in january). It's the same for you, or you 'll not have another active fx ? It's enough only one procedure for you? Have you deep or have you soft and little skars?? thank'you (and sorry if the english is not very good!)alex


Hi HH,

Thanks for the encouragement! Day 3 here and things are looking pretty much the same. Most of the tenderness is gone and swelling is going down. Nothing has peeled yet...just pretty brown and scary looking as everyone else had reported. I am going to check into the products you have been using. They sound fantastic. Definitely worth a try. I'll post more after all the peeling to see if I see any improvement overall.


Hang in there, Sunshine. From what I gather from the year-plus worth of comments here, the procedure does seem to afford improvement for folks with more severe scarring, e.g., acne. I wish the best for you and a positive result.

I hope the physician who performed your procedure has set you up with a solid suite of after-procedure skin-care products.

The folks at Institute for Laser & Aesthetic Medicine, go to:, sent me various samples, and I wrote about Allergan's Vivite line - scroll back up to the top and click on the post in the left-hand column. It's great stuff, and may help your skin, once you are well past the scaling, flaking phase (I looked like a reptile sloughing off a layer of skin - joyful, over a year ago).


okay, day 2. Pretty swollen this morning all over and especially under the eyes and turning brown all over. Still pretty tender to the touch. Was allowed to wash it this morning but the cu3 cream was so thick that the water just beaded up on top of the cream so nothing was accomplished even with cetaphil. Still taking antibiotics to keep any breakouts at bay during the process. If you're planning on having it done make sure that you buy a cloth headband ahead of time to keep any hair back off your face because the cream is so thick that stray hairs get stuck in it and it hurts trying to fish them out of it. I'll update in the next day or so with progress.


I had the procedure done today for acne scarring and some wrinkling. I had a sedative, numbing cream and it was still painful. I also had the eye suction cups put in but I didn't find that to be that bad...maybe the sedative was taking over at that point. The most pain came about 30 minutes after and got really intense for about an hour and then it started to subside to just a bad sunburn feeling. A few hours later I started turning brown and my face is still really tender. I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight without getting the greasy cream on everything plus I've never slept on my back. I can't imagine touching the pillow with my face. Ouch! I was told to keep the cu3 cream on it religiously and not to let the skin dry out at all. My doctor prepared me for everything I've experienced, so no surprises yet. I'll post back tomorrow.


acne scare? me too.I've decided to have an active fx in next december here in Italy, and I'm looking for your news, please write something about it, please help us! alex (italy)
AB, you must go to a good dermatologist or surgeon it's the same, but it's very important that he use laser C02 very good and experience.


I am now considering doing the c02 laser. From what I have read this seems like the best approach for the most improvement. Does anyone know how long the downtime could be or do you recommend anything else? I looked into the active fx, however, it seems like it is best for wrinkles. Should i go to a surgeon or a dermatologist for this procedure? I need to correct horrible acne scars. Please advise.


I just wanted to update everyone regarding my 'Active FX' treatment I had done on August 20th, 2007. Today is November 5th, 2007, which is close to my 3 month mark. At first I was quite skeptical, as I was not a happy camper the first 2 weeks. I looked pretty rough. That coupled with the fact that I didn't see immediate results, made me question myself as to why I had it done in the first place. Now I know. My skin looks unbelievable! It is much tighter and toned, I have a healthier glow and I get complimented all the time. I recommed it 100%. I have 2 daughters (23 and 25), that go to college in different states. I didn't tell them I was having it done, so their comments were very genuine when they recently came home. Both said, "Mom you look so young...your skin looks look vibrant and are glowing. What did you do to your skin"? It put me over the top! I can now see the difference which mattered the most to me! Especially in pictures. I now buy into the fact that the 'Active FX' stimulates collagen growth, which I truly questioned before. I do not know what the "settings" were, but it worked! I was in pain the first few days and looked like hell, but in my final assessment, it was so worth it! I would just suggest to those of you considering having it done to realize that you probably won't see the final results for at least 3 months. At least that's the way it was for me. Good luck to all of you reading this blog!


We have both in our office. The difference with Pearl or Active FX is not that one is necessarily better but they do different things. FX - tone, texture, tightening. Pearl- tone and texture no tightening (Cutera never claims it) or minimal. Pearl is a very light , light peel that requires multiple treatments (at least two) its in my opinion comparable to a IPL or IPL/levulan as its ablation depth is 10-30 microns. FX is 80-100. Downtime average for both is about 5 days depending on the settings, FX can be bit more intense. Its a one time treatment, more residual heat, its fractional CO2. Take a look at both companies before and after photos as well as your physicians own before and afters for each treatment --- proof is in the results. Ask the office if there are patients you may speak with who have had the FX procedure or in case of Pearl (treatment-S). My advise as a physician is for patients to be well informed and make choices that they feel confident about, realistic, and most importantly safe.


I actually looked around and found a new treatment that's even better than Active FX called PEARL, or YSGG. My friend had it done and my understanding is that the difference is that, as her doctor explained, the wavelength is completely different than CO2 and it isn't fractional. I am thinking of having it done. I read about it in New Beauty and then saw it on the evening news. Has anyone had any experience with Pearl?


I have been following this blog for several months now, and agree with HH that it has truly taken on a life of it's own. I've worked in Medical Aesthetics for a decade, and I use Lumenis non-ablative lasers for photorejuvenation and hair removal and LOVE them!
I feel the need to post after seeing an increase of fellow bloggers asking others to share their "settings" that the doctor used for their treatment. No two individuals skin are identical, so what works for one may not work for the other. Active FX is simply Lumenis's old Encore CO2 laser with a new computer program so that it can be dialed up or down depending on how aggressive the doctor wants to perform the treatment. It is not only about the power setting (previous posts are saying 80, 90, 100, etc.). The energy level is measured in millijoules, and yes, the higher the number, the higher the power. But there is also a density setting that controls how deep the laser is going to burn into the skin. Density levels 1, 2, or 3 are considered Active FX, with typically 3-7 days downtime, and adequate for minor skin imperfections. However there is also Max FX, density levels 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8, which will be the more traditional deep CO2 resurfacing with weeks of downtime, but better for the deep acne scars and deep wrinkles. So it's not just about the energy setting, but also the density setting.
And YES, there are a lot of doctors out there who are using this laser on their patients with little or no experience, and because of that, they are still intimidated by the laser, so they may not be dialing it up to a level that will actually deliver the visible results they are promising. Yet others are overconfident and turning it up too high! So PLEASE, people, do your research! Lots of doctors truly care about their patients and want to do right by them, but they are also in a business to make money. These procedures are very expensive, and not for everyone. It's very easy to read through these posts and see that the individuals who are unhappy with this treatment are the ones who were uneducated about it and had unrealistic expectations. Some were uninformed, some were misinformed.
Active FX is NOT going to improve deep acne scars or deep wrinkles! It is not a miracle treatment! It simply "freshens up" the earlier signs of aging and sun damage. If you want bigger results, there's going to be a bigger price to pay, in cost and in downtime.
ASK who is going to perform your treatment, and how many of these have they performed! ASK what the possible side effects are and if they have had any! ASK if they own the laser, or are they only renting it for the day, or borrowing it to "test it out!" And if you have ever had a fever blister or cold sore, you need your doctor to pre-medicate you with an anti-viral so you don't have an outbreak!!!
I do believe that the laser works and is very safe when used correctly. But just because someone has M.D. at the end of their name does not mean they are a genius. Your doctor should be happy to take the time to discuss this at length with you, and if he/she isn't, or acts insulted or impatient if you are asking lots of questions, please take my, don't walk, and get the hell outta there!
In my experience in this business, 95% of negative outcomes with laser procedures are caused by operator error, NOT the laser itself!
BTW, I was fortunate enough to get an Active FX for free(there are perks to being in the biz!). I have large pores, discoloration from past acne, and a few minor seborrheic keratoses from sun damage. I'm two months out, and so far the only improvement I've seen is that the s.k.'s were eliminated completely. But I was educated properly by my doctor, and I know that the tightening and collagen stimulation is going to take a few more months to show.
Best of luck to everyone in making their own informed decisions, and I wish everyone satisfaction with all their cosmetic procedures!


Can someone please tell me their results with Active FX for acne scarring. I have some deep and superficial acne scars on my cheeks. I feel like I have tried everything and wasted so much money. I have had levulan, Fraxell and now I want to try this next. I feel like I wasted so much money on the fraxel and that it didn't work at all. I don't want to waste anymore money. Can someone PLEASE tell me their results to fix the acne scars. I am also considering Erbium. Any thoughts????


Okay, well I am 63 and my doctor thinks that the FX would be good for my face. She claims it would clean up the brown spots, bumps and wrinkles on my face as well as make my EYES look better. My eyes happen to be sunk in and dark underneath and she claims that this will help quite a bit. I don't know if this FX can do all this after all my reading. How is the pain after the procedure? Do they give a person meds for pain? I wonder why the shivering. We should be knocked out with fentyl or whatever they give you in hospital, instead of the general anesthesia, for minor procedures. .. I may just tell her I want the fillers and Botox instead - the heck with my eyes. maybe seeing an eye surgeon might be better for me. .. I want to ask - when we get the FX will we yet need fillers as well as Botox? Any advice is welcomed.


Well, had my active fx done 10th October, I have written updates periodically since and today it is October 30th. My dark sun spots have almost gone but I still have a large red mark on my cheek where one used to be. I also have several on my neck still. Looking at my nect today I have a large skin tag which was not there before so I suppose it was due to the active fx. My skin feels a little tighter but I am really disappointed with the skin above my eyes. It was fantastic when I first had it done really tight but they are back to before the proceedure. I have broken out in several large white heads all over my skin. Before I had it done I had few spots. I don't know whether it is because the proceedure is still working, only time will tell. I did not have that many lines in the beginning, these went in the first week after the proceedure but they have now all come back. They seem the same to me, they don't seem to have softened at all. Everyone seems to say that I have to wait three months before I see real results, so, I will update this blog in three months. Regards


thank' you , your information is very important for me, because I know that the results are different:bad or little results with 70-80 energy power settings, better instead and more dramatic results with 100-120 of energy. Can the other that have done active fx tell me something about this information?? It's right?
Alstron, Derrick, John Kelly etc...How are you now??I'm waiting for your news, because I'll have the active Fx at the prox 9 november here in Rome (italy) Thank you!


Alex, my doctor used 120 on my face and 100 on my eyes and neck. Hope this information helps you.


Hi. Thought I would add my two cents to this discussion. I am a Family Nurse Practitioner working at a laser/facial plastic surgery office in Fresno, Ca. As a teenager I had cystic acne and subsequent facial scarring. Recently I have undergone treatment with restalyne and juvaderm (dermal fillers) that work quite well to fill in depressions from acne scarring and wrinkles. However I would like a more permanent solution, but without the extended down time of traditional co2 laser facial resurfacing. So I had the opportunity to try the Lumines Active FX co2 laser on my face this week. Today is day one. No complaints here. The post operative pain lasted only two hours or so, felt like a bad sun burn. Today my skin looks dark brown, not red. Minimal swelling around the eyes and lips. Thousands of tiny grids where the laser penetrated the skin. I will most likely return to work on monday and am sure my patients will be interested to hear about the procedure and will have an opportunity to view my results first hand. I will keep this blog posted as to my outcome as well.

John Kelly, FNP-C


Derrick, do you know the power settings that the doctor had used with you? alex
(from italy)


hi All,

I had an ActiveFX three months ago and the results are exactly what my doctor explained to me. Great initial tightening, after the swelling ends it fades a little and then collogen building is like muscle building, once the ActiveFX breaks it down, it takes a couple of months to see the long term results. I am amazed at my skin tightening results. I get fever blisters so my Dr. put me on Herpes. For everyone who reads this, if you get Herpes breakouts, take medication prior to an ActiveFX!!!!! This is the best laser tightening result in the world and I think my wife and I have had all of them done. She is next and can't wait for the treatment. Just my feed back.


I'll have active fx in november here in Italy. (sorry for the english!)
I'm looking for someone who can tell me about the power setting. 80, 100 what'is better? thank you very much for the answer, and a big kiss to everyone


Sunday 23rd October. It is thirteen days since I have had Active FX. My lips are now covered with herpes inside and out and I feel terrible, I am sleeping all the time so my body seems to be telling me something. My skin seems to be returning to it's old state daily and at the moment I am feeling that I have wasted my money. They say that it should take three months to see the final outcome so I just hope that this is true. At present it has cost be over £3000.00 just to get rid of a few sun spots on the side of my face. I say some as there is still some still there. Before I started this proceedure I e-mailed the docter to ask her if all the pigmentation would be removed. She said that she coult not promise that all of them would be removed but she had seen fantastic results. So, I believed her. Again, before the proceedure I had to sign a waiver stating that all of the pigmentation might not be removed and a lot more facts and figures. This was done whilst I was sitting in the chair after the creams were put on my face to stop the pain. So, I signed!!!! I suppose at the moment I am feeling really silly spending all this money for not much of a result. Watch this space.


Since writing the initial post here over one year ago, this section of Moment Magnitude has taken on a life of its own - even as I have written that there is so much more to the aggregate blog than the Active FX post. That stated, I have a fresh reason for writing - and will copy this message as a new post to the opening page of Moment Magnitude. Unlike some contributing commenters, I have very good skin. I had the procedure as a courtesy experiment, with little explanation upfront, no before-after photos, and no long-term follow-up. The office in which I had the procedure was not pleased with the story I wrote - albeit intended as self-deprecating and ironic - and so the name of the office is not included here. Over one year later, I see no results, and that's fine, no big deal. The tiny broken capillaries on my nose, and the little scar on my upper lip remain. What is interesting however, among the outpouring of reactions submitted here, is one in particular. And that comes from Kevin DeBias, see: His father, a board-certified physician, specializing in aesthetic medicine, innovated the protocol used for "fractional CO2 (carbon dioxide)," the kind of laser used in Active FX (if I have that right). Scroll up to October 7, 2007 to find various hyperlinks. It turns out that Mr. DeBias has very generously offered to supply me with a suite of (long-term) skin care products - something I never received in the first place, from the NYC plastic surgeon's office (admittedly, I signed waivers - it was an experimental trial, and free of charge). So, now that many commenters have written in about after-procedure skin creams, I hope that I will be able to provide some reasonable (and dare I suggest useful?) feedback on these products. How's that? I'm keen to begin. Stay tuned.

S. Alstrom

Well, today 22nd October and it is twelve days since I had Active FX. My last visit to the doctor was on Thursday. I still have brown age spots on my cheeks although somewhat lighter (but you can still see them) my doctor said to leave my skin to heal and that they should get fainter over time, she also said that if they do not go other methods can be used to remove them. i.e. creams or laser - spot laser. My face is certainly tighter and my eye lids do seem better and I look brighter. However I have two herpes sores on my lips and another inside my lips which do not look pretty. As most of you say the doctors say the skin will keep on improving, will keep you posted. This forum is fantastic, it is so good to read all your comments.


I had this procedure on Tuesday, October 16th at 2:00 p.m. I must be lucky, because my doctor explained EVERYHING, down to the last detail (more than once) to me. The procedure wasn't pleasant, however, it wasn't horrible either. I woke up this morning and was thinking if it were Halloween, I wouldn't need a costume. Visited my doctor's office this afternoon where he took pictures and advised me of what the next few days would be like. He told me from the beginning that the results would just keep getting better for the next 6 months and my skin would keep improving. Anyone that thought that a laser wouldn't be intrusive just wasn't thinking!!! I am only 2 days into this and would without a doubt, do this again! I look forward to the next few weeks and will post again. If anyone comes up with a more inexpensive cream (my place wanted $140.00) please post the name. Thanks! Cheryl

Kim M

Dee, Thank you for your response. I appreciate it. Hope you had a great honeymoon!


Kim M,

My breakouts were simple acne, and were temporary, but were more than I've ever experienced, so I was panicky with an approaching honeymoon. I'd run to her office and she'd do some kind of acne mask scrub whatever, but I wasn't initially treated for acne, I've been lucky never to have had a problem with it. Dr. Yoon, who said the breakouts were normal after a Co2 treatment, gave me a foam cleanser to use twice a day, called Clearogen foaming cleanser - (cost under $20.) She also told me to use a rich moisturizer by Clayton Shagal ($65 a jar) but I ran out during my honeymoon and I needed a new cream quick - I was in Italy and couldnt read the labels at the pharmacies there so I picked up a cream with a label that I recognized and know to be trustworthy (Eau Thermale Avene - Hydrance optimale riche creme hydratante for dry to very dry sensitive skin) at 19 euros - which worked just as well. They sell it in the US drugstores too, at CVS. The breakouts lasted a few weeks, then disappeared completely before I left for my trip. I just had to be deligent with the cream and cleanser 2x a day or she said they would come back. There was no scarring. My skin looks really good, and extra dewey because of the creams. (I wasn't so great about using them so much before the treatment).


316 euros for a cream?!!! That sounds outrageous to me, unless it also comes with an awesome 2 hour facial. I think some of these doctors tend to think that everyone earns million plus salaries just like they do. I know there are cheaper and just as effective creams that will work for you. Ask.


Hi, just an update as I had my proceedure done on the 9th October. Well, today 16th October my skin has broken out into spots and dry skin, I have raised skin which is red and looks awful. Over my lips there looks like there is herpes. As I finished Valtrex yesterday I went back to the Doctor to see what she thought. She says that she did not think it was herpes but gave me another three days of Valtrex anyway. She advised me to buy some cream from her salon which cost me 316 euros which I though was a bit steep. Anyway,will start to use these to see if they make any different. The swelling on my face seems to be almost gone and I am afraid the bags under my eyes have come back but the skin on the eyelids seems to be a bit tighter. I mentioned to the doctor that the brown age spots on my cheeks are still there, they are a bit softer. She says that my skin should peel again and then they should be better. Has anyone heard about this??? She said that she could probably get rid of the marks once my skin has settled but I expect it is going to cost me loads of money which I am not happy about. We shall see!!!!! I am going back to the salon tomorrow for another proceedure for my dry skin which I am told will be the last one which is included in the price. I keep reading that it will take upto three months to see the results. Is this true? Will keep you posted.

Kim M

You mentioned in your post of Aug 20 that you were broken out after the procedure. Did the break outs cause any scarring? How long did the break outs last? Also, did you have this done for acne scarring? Sorry to bombard you with questions, but I'm considering this procedure and I'm afraid that I will break out really bad, and that it will cause additional scarring. Thanks


I'm at the 2 month mark now and other than making sure that I moisturize with something rich and cleansing with an acne foam 2x a day, I'm very happy with my results. The comparison to my hideous passport picture taken 3 months ago and now is almost frightening. I read that many folks had swollen eyes while healing. I didn't have that problem at all. What did happen to me, though... was during a heatwave in L.A. a bit over a month ago, I stupidly went to the Pasadena flea market and got overheated. I don't handle the heat well anyway but I didn't realize it would be *that* hot. I was trying to focus on items at the market, but was partially blinded by the sunscreen melting into my eyes. Then slowly I noticed that people were staring at me. When I looked into the next random mirror I came across, I was horrified. My face (and only where the treatment had been preformed - to the jawline) was so red it was almost purple. Yikes!!! Keep in mind that I was in a parking garage, wearing a hat and carrying a parasol. My face never saw the sun, it was just the temperature that did that. I put on my sunglasses and went home as fast as I could. In a few hours I was fine. That's the kind of thing that I didn't anticipate. Oy.


Hi all,
I'm following up my post of a few days ago, I had the procedure on the 11th of November and now the dark red crust is almost all off. The skin underneath is very pink as expected. But OH MY GOD the acne scarring is so much improved! I had pretty bad scarring under my cheekbones some were deep and some were more superficial, well I can say at this point that the medium and superficial scars have gone and the deeper ones whilst still there look softer and much less angular. My surgeon treated the deep scars individually to treat the shoulder of the deep scars before doing a second general pass with the laser. I did not break out at all and am really stoked!

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