Expert Doctor

Portrait Plasma Skin Rejuvenation Vs. Fraxel Laser Treatment

The first step in comparing the two treatments is learning more about each of them:

-Fraxel Repair Laser Treatment - A laser treatment that is basically a laser skin resurfacing device. It is a fractionated carbon dioxide laser which means it treats a fraction of the surface area of the skin. In other words, some areas are treated 20%-30% while in other areas 50% of the skin is treated depending on the thickness of the skin. The remaining skin is able to heal the wounds faster in a very natural way with normal skin color.

-Portrait Plasma Skin Rejuvenation – A non-laser treatment that uses energized nitrogen gas to rejuvenate the skin via plasma energy delivered through a hand piece. The treatment improves wrinkles and facial lines as well as skin issues due to photogaing (damage from sunlight). The plasma substance creates heat on the skin and a burn on the surface removing 100% of the skin surface. The amount of energy used with the hand piece can be varied to avoid badly burning the skin of the patient. The three most common treatment levels are PSR1 (a short series of low energy treatments 3 or 4 weeks apart for mild wrinkling and sun damage), PSR2 (one treatment session conducted at a higher energy level for more severe wrinkling and sun damage) and PSR 3 (much like PSR2 but with more extensive skin resurfacing on certain areas of the skin).



The patients who benefit from either Fraxel Repair laser therapy or Portrait plasma skin rejuvenation are similar. Patients who want superficial skin tightening, less wrinkles, as well as improvement of the tone, texture, and color of the skin will benefit from both technologies.



Fraxel Repair laser treatment, also known as a fractioned CO2 laser, is consistently reliable and very safe. The treatment gives a patient smoother and younger-looking skin, improved texture and a reduction of lines around the eyes. The Fraxel Repair can go almost 2mm deep in the skin which is pretty deep for a laser.

Portrait plasma skin rejuvenation reduces the appearance of age spots, hyperpigmentation, and deep wrinkles. The plasma can go even deeper but the deeper it goes the risk of problems with healing and complications goes way up.



The treatment depth and the percent of skin treated with the Fraxel Repair laser can be dialed in very accurately. This is known as laser skin resurfacing procedure. It is applied to the skin in a paint roller type of motion that allows the hand piece to be in contact with the skin the entire time.

The Portrait plasma skin rejuvenation is more of a free hand kind of shoot application. The plasma is shot at the skin kind of like a gun so it can be a little less precise.



The Fraxel repair laser is limited by the amount of power that can be safely used without damaging the skin, as well as the percentage of skin treated. The maximum percentage of skin treated safely with the Fraxel repair is 50% of the surface area of the skin.

Even though Portrait plasma skin rejuvenation has different energy levels to choose from, the treatment has not been around for a long time so best practices and limitations are still being determined by the medical community.



The most significant complication with both treatments is burns. Resulting in wounds that may heal poorly and result in permanent scarring. It seems there are a higher percentage of complications with the plasma technology. The areas most prone to complications are the areas of the skin that are thinnest, usually located around the eyes, neck, and chest. Physicians have to treat these areas very carefully.



With both Portrait plasma skin rejuvenation and Fraxel Repair laser treatment, the recovery time is directly proportional to how intense the treatment is and how deep the treatment goes.

With the Fraxel Repair, the recovery time depends on both the power of the treatment and the percentage of skin treated. Patients need to stay indoors for one week after their treatment to avoid any sun exposure. The skin is very red after one week but that redness gradually fades over the next six to seven weeks. It is usually about two months before the skin returns to normal color.

Treating patients with the plasma at similar depths means they probably have a similar recovery. Although if you treated equal depths with the plasma 100% of the skin is being treated so the recovery would take much longer.



After one treatment with Fraxel Repair laser treatment patients see a great improvement with acne scarring or other types of scars. Multiple treatments are recommended anywhere from two to four treatments separated by four to six months. The majority of patients who have it done for skin rejuvenation usually just have one treatment. They often come back a year or two later because they like the results and want more tightening and elimination of wrinkles.

With Portrait plasma skin rejuvenation, deciding on which of the three treatment options (PSR1, PSR2 and PSR3) to undergo depends on skin conditions and the results the patient is trying to achieve. PSR1 (the lowest energy level) usually requires multiple treatments.  PSR2 and PSR3 use higher energy levels and can be completed with a single treatment. Patients will continue to see improvements for as much as a year after their treatment.



The total cost of a Fraxel Repair laser treatment or Portrait plasma skin rejuvenation depends on the aggressiveness of the treatment, the amount of treatments, the geographic location where the treatment is performed and the skill, and experience of the treating physician. Consult with an experienced doctor to get a better idea of the total treatment cost.



While Portrait plasma skin rejuvenation and Fraxel laser treatment have many things in common there are enough differences that a patient needs to do some homework before making a final treatment decision. An experienced and skilled doctor can help a person determine what condition their skin is in as well as which treatment option is best for their skin.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team- MA

Based on an exclusive interview with Dr. Michael Persky in Encino, CA