My Experience w/ Profractional & Why I Keep Going Back

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on email
Share on print

I’ve gone through skin issues my entire life. As soon as I hit puberty, my skin was pretty much f*cked. Luckily, I’ve gone down a path that has worked for my skin and it continues to improve. If this is your first time reading any of my skincare posts, I definitely recommend reading previous posts. Here you can read about my experience on accutane about 4 years ago. Then I also share a post about my normal skincare routine and the lasers and treatments I do regularly, including a quick breakdown about my first profractional experience.

The first time I did the Sciton profractional laser, I only did it on part of my face and I didn’t share a ton of my experience in that post. About a year later, I decided it was time to go through the process again, but this time on my entire face. And today I wanted to tell you about the full process, why it sucks, but also why I can’t wait to do it again. I strongly believe in this laser treatment and after doing it only 2 times, I’ve already seen a huge difference in my skin. But before I get into that, let’s break it all down!

What The F*ck Is Profractional?!

A profractional laser treatment is laser that resurfaces the skin to help minimize wrinkles and pigmentation and helps improve the skins tone and texture. It’s great for treating scars, wrinkles, fine lines and sun damage such as skin discoloration. The profractional laser penetrates deep into the skin, removing the top layer. This triggers the body’s natural response to heal wounds, which in turn stimulates new collagen and elastin production leaving you with smoother, softer, more even skin. And even after the skin has healed in a week or so, it continues to produce new collagen and just gets better with time, up to 6 months after the treatment!

What Is The Treatment and Recovery Like?

The day of the treatment, your esthetician will give you a topical numbing cream about an hour before. I’ve heard from others that they don’t think the profractional treatment is painful, but I DO NOT feel that way. The first time I did profractional, I was quite surprised how painful it was and it took me about a year to get the balls to go back and do it again. That being said, I contacted a friend who is a nurse and she was able to give me a nerve block in my face to help with the pain the second time around. So not only did I have numbing cream, but I also had a nerve block where I could barely feel around my mouth and cheeks which definitely helped. Let me tell you, I looked realllll cute slobbering my way through the treatment.

Depending on the areas your esthetician treats and treatment settings, it can take 15 to 30 minutes. I think my treatment took about 20 minutes for my entire face. And yes, it was painful even with the numbing and nerve block. There’s just no getting around it if your esthetician is going deep with the treatment settings.

After the treatment, the healing process is pretty rapid compared to other treatments such as chemical peels. With chemical peels, it just gets worse with time before it gets better, but with profractional, it gets better each day. Throughout the first day of treatment, the skin is swollen, red, and may bleed. This is by far the worst day because it’s uncomfortable and feels like you just have a huge open wound. You won’t want to leave the house and I recommend sleeping with a towel on your pillow because your face will be oozing a bit. Right away, my esthetician applied Venus Biocel which has a similar feel to petroleum jelly but has anti-inflammatory ingredients to help the healing process. For about 5 days, I used this Venus Biocel every few hours, as soon as my skin became dry. The whole point is to keep it moisturized so it can heal faster. By day 5, I was using Venus Post Treatment Recovery Kit which includes Renewal Cleanser, Stem Cell Therapy Serum, Stem Cell Recovery Complex, and Stem Cell Therapy Accelerator and I used that for about a week. These products are incredibly helpful when it comes to the healing process and speeding it up. I didn’t use these products the first time I did profractional and I definitely noticed a difference with the healing!

After the first day where you’re a bit uncomfortable, the next morning is a little easier after you wash your face and remove the excess blood. I was DEFINITELY still swollen on the second day but the skin doesn’t feel like an open wound by then. Below is a day by day photo collage of the healing process. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, then Day 6 with light makeup on. By Day 3, I was able to put on makeup and go out in public even though I was still brownish-red. Luckily, I don’t give AF so I don’t mind being in public, but if you get embarrassed easily, you may want to stay in until Day 4 when makeup can really cover up some of the lines from the laser and the redness.

PaleOMG - My Experience w/ Profractional & Why I Keep Going Back

What Have You Noticed The Most From Profractional?

When you get to about day 3, you feel like your skin may never heal…even though it’s only been 3 days. I definitely recommend doing day by day photos because this was a great reminder that my skin was healing much faster than I thought. After the first week, I instantly noticed the fine lines around my mouth and some of the icepick scars on my cheeks had reduced or almost disappeared. And many of the dark spots on my forehead that pop up as soon as I hit the sunlight had completely disappeared. After your treatment, your skin looks and feels like you’ve slept on sandpaper. And even after your skin has healed and looks normal again, you can still see some of the sandpaper look if you see the skin close up. It’s been a couple months since I did my last treatment and the skin still looks a bit texturized which means it’s still producing new collagen and rebuilding. Like I said above, the skin continue to heal and rebuild new collagen for up to 6 months so it’s continually improving!

I’m doing profractional treatments for 3 reasons:

  1. To keep my skin looking younger and smoother with time (because genetics aren’t doing it for me)
  2. To improve my acne scarring from the cystic acne I went through before accutane
  3. To improve fine lines and wrinkles

And even though I think this treatment is painful and it’s a bit of a pain in the ass to have your life at a standstill for a couple days, I THINK IT IS ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT. I plan on doing it every 6 months which means I’ll be doing it again in the spring and I’m so excited to see what my third experience looks like! These photos below are about 4 or 5 years apart. The first one is before I started accutane and the second one was taken just a few weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier with the difference. My skin is smoother, softer and the scars are continually getting better with time!

PaleOMG - My Experience w/ Profractional & Why I Keep Going Back

How Much Does Profractional Cost?

Depending on the size of the treatment area, profractional can cost anywhere $500-$1800 and I’m sure it can be more expensive depending on the area you are in.


At the end of the day, you have to find an esthetician you trust and who knows what they are doing. I’ve gone to Shawn Haviland (Cherry Hills Facial Aesthetics 720-459-7960) for a few years now and I could not be more thankful to have found her. If you are not in the Denver area and you are trying to find an esthetician near you, she recommends finding a technician that has state required laser training in addition to training from Sciton along with at least 3 years experience. I found my esthetician by simply asking a friend who had beautiful skin who she went to. Word of mouth can be the most helpful sometimes. But if you are in the Denver area, CALL SHAWN and prepare to have your skin and life changed! She even offers 50% off your first profractional laser if you mention that I sent you!!

Because of this laser, my skin has become more even, smoother and many of the pigmentation issues I deal with have completely gone away! I remember years ago when I was dealing with cystic acne just wishing and praying that I could walk outside without makeup on and feel confident and I am finally to that point! But it took hard f*cking work. I couldn’t just go the hippy, paleo, organic way. Yes, I had to work on my diet and I had to drink more water than I knew possible, but I also had to turn to modern medicine and treatments to truly see a difference. And I’m so glad I went that route.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below!! I really hope this post helps you with your own skin care journey in some way!

PaleOMG - My Experience w/ Profractional & Why I Keep Going Back

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on email
Share on print

Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


74 thoughts on “My Experience w/ Profractional & Why I Keep Going Back”

  1. Thank you for this post!! I moved to Denver last September and have been wondering who to ask / where to find / what to do when it comes to my dark spots. I will definitely be calling to make an appt with Shawn…this was so very helpful and I thank you for sharing this!!

  2. I’m on accutane now! I read your previous post about it and my experience has been very similar and positive. I had bad cystic acne in high school and went on it for the first time. I’ve been on it every 4-5 years since then and I’m hoping this is the last time now that I’m 28. My cystic acne never returned as severe as it was when I was younger, but I know accutane will clear my skin (cystic and regular acne/blackheads) when no topical treatments will do the job!

    I live in Denver and will definitely try to get in with Shawn when I finish this cycle. I would love to address the scarring from years of skin issues. Only thing I would disagree with from your accutane post is the dry hair is AMAZING! You rarely have to wash it and barely need dry shampoo 😉

      1. Thank you so much for this post. Just completed a pro fractional treatment I keep turning to this article for reassurance that I’m healing as I should. Many thanks!

        5.0 rating

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m 33 and have pretty bad hyperpigmentation and sun spots. I was thinking my only option would be an old fashioned chemical peel. I hadn’t heard of Profractional. Do you think this could be an option?

    1. Hi Juli. Thank you for sharing. I found your post very helpful and your video was hilarious. I have purchased a couple profractional treatments and after watching some youtube videos of people who had a bad experience, I am now a little frightened to be honest. The first time you had the laser treatment, you said you only did part of your face and that it hurt a little less. Were you able to see many results after the first treatment?

  4. Sounds like you have a handle on your skin issues, but even so I would highly recommend you read “The Plant Paradox” book by Dr. Steven R. Gundry. I’ve eaten paleo for quite some time and experimented with the ketogenic diet, but this book was life changing. I learned there are acceptable paleo foods that I needed to eliminate from my diet such as nightshade plants, all seeds, almonds, all grain-like foods (quinoa, amaranth, rice, millet, etc.),and legumes, in addition to dairy and gluten. The results: my freckles (sun spots) are lighter and not because it is winter, my hormones have settled down significantly and I have stopped taking estrogen, which I thought would never happen, my skin isn’t as dry, and my adrenals are feeling less stressed. I have had a very difficult time with hormone fluctuations and have been in perimenopause for 16 years. I think I had my last period in December at 57 years of age and I am experiencing fewer hormone fluctuations at significantly reduced intensity and this is ginormous for me! I don’t know if getting rid of these lectin-containing foods triggered my last period, but I am extremely sensitive and I know that there is a connection between these foods and my improved hormone situation. Thanks for sharing all of your recipes and life experiences.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing about your experience with this treatment. I am 24 years old and have been extremely fortunate to have “good” skin (never have had acne/breakouts). Over the last year or so I have noticed fine lines on my forehead and I am so self-conscious about having them at what I feel like is a young age? I know it sounds silly but I can’t stop noticing them every time I look at myself in the mirror and I even feel like I make the conscious effort when I am chatting with friends to relax my face (I probably look like such a weirdo doing this). I am thankful to have dry, smooth skin but you know how it is when there is just one thing about yourself that really bothers you, and for me this is it! I read in your previous skin post about botox treatment and I guess I just wanted to know your opinion–should I try to work on finding better products and establishing a skin routine before turning to something like botox or the profractional laser treatment? I know you emphasize a healthy diet and adequate water intake, which I feel I do, but just wanted to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. i don’t think that’s early to notice changes. that’s when i started seeing the difference of fine lines and when i started getting botox. and i honestly can’t tell you what’s best for you and your skin. my esthetician has never done botox, she just does pro fractional instead to help with those fine lines and wrinkles and she looks INSANELY amazing. she’s 40 and looks 25. i’m pro botox and i’m so glad i started doing it to stop those wrinkles before they sank in more. but that’s MY experience. definitely chat with an certified esthetician and hopefully they can lead you in the right direction

  6. This is such an impressive transformation! Having your esthetician on the podcast would be amazing. She sounds like she knows her shit and I’d love to hear what she has to say on how to shop for the right esthetician in my area on the east coast. It’s definitely time I start seeing one regularly, but I don’t want to end up seeing one that’s overpriced and under experienced. Thanks for all of your amazing content!

  7. I realize my post is a bit off topic but my question is in regards to your experience with spironolactone. From the sounds of it, I am having a similar experience with acne and feel as though I am quickly running out of options (acutane being the absolute last resort due to the possibility of having kids in the next few years). As I’m sure many would agree, acne is not only physically painful but also emotionally damaging and feeling that there may not be a long term solution is really starting to get me down.

    Would you mind sharing a bit about your experience with spironolactone? Like, how long have you been taking it? Have you had any side effects? How long did it take to see results? Would you recommend it to others experiencing similar skin issues as yourself? Is it a long term “solution” or will acne come back if you quit taking it?

    1. i’ve LOVED spironolactone!! i know you have to be off of it for 3 months or so before getting pregnant so keep that in mind! i’ve been taking it for 2 years now and the side effects including peeing all the time, being thirsty constantly, and sometimes feeling dizzy. i get a bit dizzy when i’m moving quickly like fast power cleans. but that’s it! i stopped taking both birth control and spiro at the same time and my skin went crazy again with cystic zits so i’m back on both. i’m not sure what will be a longterm solution but i’m happy to be on it as long as i need to be! my dermatologist is probably in her 50s and is on it because her skin still flares up at times. i’ve loved it and recommend it to anyone who has dealt with skin issues

  8. Julie! You look great. Can you advise if you were able to wear makeup before day 5? I am wondering if this would be possible to do on a thursday and return to work on Monday without looking scary!

    1. yes!! i wore makeup by day 4. you don’t look totally like yourself because your face is slightly dark, red and little scabby but it’s not bad if you’re not embarrassed easily!

  9. Hi Juli! Thanks for sharing. I was wondering how close the laser gets to the eye area? I’m 31, and I have been noticing lines under my eye that my expensive eye cream isn’t doing anything for. Would profractional get close enough to help with this?

    1. it gets pretty damn close to your eye. you can see where it’s not red in the bloody photo, but it’s still pretty close! profractional definitely helps with fine lines but talk to your esthetician first to see if it would be helpful for your specific needs!

  10. You’re so cute, even on day one after this treatment! Thanks for sharing your life with us. I found you because of Paleo recipes and we enjoy recipes from your site at least twice a week. But along the way you have made me laugh and feel more comfortable in my own skin. I really think this is what you are meant to be doing in this phase of life! Thanks again.

  11. Thanks for sharing, brave girl! I saw you a year ago in Kansas City, for a book signing and promoting your cookbooks at Half-Price bookstore. You looked amazing a year ago.! At the time, I knew you had been getting treatments. Nobody would ever know by looking at you what you have gone through. I would love to get some treatments done, but knowing who to trust. All my friends have gorgeous smooth skin. My husband always tells me, I am beautiful. I look in the mirror and I have lines around my lips, never smoked, and my skin isn’t smooth. I guess, I need to do some research. Thanks for sharing your journey! ;0)

    1. it’s definitely hard to find the perfect person and i went through quite a handful of estheticians before i found the one, so keep looking! you’ll find someone you love! thanks for the love, candy!

  12. i love following your skincare posts! I am on spironolactone and love it as well. But i am considering botox. Just curious, where all do you get your botox and how often? is it botox, dysport, etc?

  13. I think you’re beautiful Juli, in every photo, because you’re willingness to be authentic and real is what radiates like sunshine – thank you for sharing. You’re the total package, inside and out woman!????????Love you.

  14. Thank you for being so candid. I’m in my 40’s now but had “fraxel” in my 30’s and it was the best thing I ever did. It’s totally worth the investment and after 6 years has passed since the procedure, I still see the benefits but want to have it again. A few days of downtime is completely worth it. Love your blog!

  15. So I know you published this awhile ago, but I’ve been wondering about what you do for excercise after skin treatments. I also had really bad hormonal cystic acne in my mid-20s and I’m finally doing something about the huperpigmentation and scarring my doing chemical peels, microneedling, and dermaplaning every month. However, I’ve heard that you should limit exercise and sweating for 2-3 days post micro-needling and for as long as you’re peeling post-chemical peel. But the last time I had a chemical peel, I was peeling for seven days! Which is a lot of days not to exercise, especially if you’re getting them monthly. How long do you normally take off of exercise after a deep facial treatment? And have you noticed any negative side effects if you do exercise a day or two post-treatment?

    1. with a treatment like this, I take 2 days off. i’ll work out in the morning before my treatment, get the treatment done then not work out the next two days as it heals over into a scab. then i go in once i feel heeled enough. for other skin treatments, i sometimes work out that same day or just try to workout beforehand. but i’ve never had any bad experience from doing that

  16. I know the info above is focused on the benefits of your esthetician treatments, but do you have a recommendation for a Denver area dermatologist? I’m not completely satisfied with mine so looking for personal recs.

  17. Hi, thank you so much for sharing your experience!I want to get this done, but I’m a bit concerned about whether this procedure is safe.

  18. Hi Juli,
    It is great to be able to see your results, the recovery and what to expect. I thank you for posting this. I am undergoing a full mouth makeover, and after that is complete, I want to look into IPL or profractional. I am leaning profractional because I don’t want to treat every month for months on end.
    Do you know if and how well profractional gets rid of capillaries in the facial skin? I have looked online, but instead of information, you get treatment centers instead of real advice.
    I am 42, and so excited to get a new, pretty, bright and functional smile, so I want my face to match it! thanks in advance for any info you have on the subject.

  19. I just did the profractional and found your post so extremely helpful. I’m on day 2 and it feels like its never going to end =) haha. I have a good friend who does them all them time and she has been guiding me through it. So far my day 1 and day 2 are very similar to yours. I hope the redness lightness up tomorrow. Little background, I also went on accutane in my late 20’s now I’m in my late 30’s. Looking to help my scars, sun damage and droopy skin around my mouth. Thank you for sharing.

    1. omggggg day 2 and 3 are the worst because you’re getting cabin fever and feel like you’re going to look like shit forever lol. but it will turn around and you’ll be so happy by day 7. profractional is truly the best. i hope you love it as much as i do!

  20. Thank you for this. you are very brave to post your experience which is a huge help. Thank god for people who don’t have an F to give!

  21. Do some people not have as bad of a recovery if their skin didn’t have as much healing to do? In other words, does the laser not have to go as deep on less damaged skin?

    1. if the esthetician goes lighter with the profractional (which i have done) because the patient doesn’t need it as much, the recovery is much easier!

  22. Rebecca J Lucanski

    Hi, thank you for all the helpful information. I just had my first profractional treatment Wednesday and today is Friday. You hit the nail on the head when you said it feels like it’s never going to heal. I had it done on my neck. You mentioned they put Venus Biocel on your skin right after treatment. Which specific kind was it? I’m very interested in trying it next time, as I have 3 more treatments to go. I found the recovery kit, but was unsure which product was the one you used directly after treatment. Thank you again for posting this! It is nice to hear someone else’s experience and encouraging to know it will heal soon. 🙂

  23. LaNeita Gober

    Juli, all posts are from very young ladies. Congrats! to each of you for sharing. I very old, suffered stigmatizing cystic acne as a teen. My first job after college (1970 lol) enabled me to “pay” for infra-red treatments to my scarred face. Yep! You guessed it! Infra red destroyed my thyroid, and I got a very ugly scar on my neck after removing the dead thyroid. Obaji, Cutera laser, skin peels, skin pen, and “fat transfer followed. Accutane wasn’t available when I was suffering. Now, I’m almost 70, have had a facelift, but scars remain unchanged. Collagen production probably doesn’t exist in my body. I am wondering about the result the procedure that you ladies have experienced? I’ve truly learned all procedures are available if lots of $$ is involved–but I still care, and I’m tempted to try hoping a granny could benefit.

    1. i’ve had great results from profractional! it’s definitely worth looking into and talking to a professional about what they think your own experience, based on your history, would be. and i would also look into microneedling. i’ve had 2 treatments done and i’ve had fantastic results!

  24. Thank you for posting pictures. I had the laser done on Friday and I still look like I had a face transplant. I am still very swollen with my checks mostly covered In a brownish crust. . Not sure make up
    Would go on over the orange pill texture. I would like to go eat for Labor Day and but I feel like me I need a burka

    My eyes ate particularly swollen it’s going to be interesting putting make up on Wednesday to bo back to wor

  25. Hey does the esthetician have a website I can visit? This is so awesome I’ve been looking for places to get the sciton laser resurfacing done in Denver and just said to my mom I wish I knew someone we could ask and then I stubbles across the blog you wrote!

  26. Your face gives me so much hope. My acne scarring is very similar to yours and i just had the co2 laser done yesterday. I can’t wait to see my results! I’ll probably end up doing 2-3 treatments total but I’m so excited to see what happens after this one. Cheers!

  27. I’m thinking about doing this. I did eMatrix about 10 years ago in my twenties for mild acne scars and it worked. Now I’m facing mild aging and could use a resurfaced, clean slate in terms of clogged pores and tiny veins and a little discoloration. I’m just wondering what you paid for your treatment? I know it varies but I’d like to set up a budget to do this in the fall. I do live in Denver and will be contacting Shawn once I’m ready.

  28. Thanks for sharing, I’m on day three of my second procedure and found this helpful. Do you know how deep they went with yours? They did 750 on mine and I feel like you healed so much faster than I am. I’ve been doing day by day pics and I didn’t realize how much it is healing until I compared them.

    5.0 rating

  29. Hi there! Your guidance on this process is exactly what happens. I had my my 2nd laser treatment yesterday. I was very red like you on the day of treatment with little swelling but overnight my face swelled up like a balloon despite sleeping elevated and icing throughout the night. So today is day 2 and my entire face is as swollen and tight as I think it can get. I am documenting each day like you did knowing each day will different as the healing occurs. I know the results outweigh the short time period it takes to heal. Thank you for posting your journey. It definitely will help others who are trying to decide whether to have Profractional done. I say “Go for it” ! You won’t regret it!

  30. How long after were you able to shower? What about washing your face as normal and with your normal products…how long did you wait for to do those things?

    1. i think i showered after 3 days. and i washed my face with the wash my esthetician gave me and didn’t go back to normal products until probably 2 weeks after the treatment!

  31. What a great post, and what a fabulous before and after photo! I’m so happy for you. I also did accutane, and I’ll be doing profractional this week for light acne scarring and anti-aging. I’m so glad the acne is gone forever!

    5.0 rating

  32. You are funny. I had a slight chuckle about the pain and the nerve block making you cute and slobbery 🙂 Kind of like visiting the dentist, right?
    The only concern I’d have about a treatment like this is that a doctor should be on board with it. The Profractional laser is a name brand version of an Er:yag (Ebium Yag). While it is fractional, which is better than ablative, it can still be quite intense. Your face turned out BEAUTIFUL (reminds of Kate Middleton!). But in some types of skin, going too strong would cause hyperpigmentation and other issues. So if that happens, you’d want a doctor to have led the treatment, even if a laser technician is the one who does the lasering. Just my two cents. And yes, my husband is a doctor and we run a laser clinic (thought I should disclose that).
    I’m glad your aesthetician was knowledgeable and is recommending high standards of training, regardless!
    If people are looking for a less-intense treatment, know that Er:Yag can be done as a ‘laser peel’ (like a mild exfoliant, similar to microdermabrasion). They can also opt for hot microneedling. Comparative to the treatment you had would be Fraxel (another brand name, but uses a different type of laser), and CO2 skin resurfacing (stronger than Er:Yag, which you had).
    Hope this helps!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sign up for my PaleOMG newsletter to get recipes,
discounts, and stories straight to your inbox for FREE!

Greek Chicken Bowls

5.0 rating
6 reviews




[Edit recipe]




[Edit recipe]

Don't Miss A Bite!

Sign up for my PaleOMG newsletter to get recipes, discounts, and stories straight to your inbox for FREE!