How Much Downtime Do I Need for Fraxel?

How Much Downtime Do I Need for Fraxel?

Face, Lip, Nose, Skin, Eyebrow, Cheek, Chin, Eyelash, Head, Forehead,

Art by Mia Feitel

There’s an unspoken rule on dating apps that says if you don’t meet the person you’re talking to within a week, it’s never going to happen. Someone’s leaving tomorrow to go solo backpacking for the month but will hit you up when they’re back? Forget about it. You have to “figure out your work schedule” before confirming Wednesday? No, you’re just not that interested. These things move quickly, so when you do find a hot filmmaker who lives in your neighborhood and is passionate about climate change, you have to shoot your shot—even if you have a standing lip plumping appointment on the books.

The good news is that the most popular cosmetic procedures of the moment are non-invasive, meaning you can go in on your lunch break and downtime is minimal or even non-existent. With a skilled professional and a great concealer, you can have your Botox and your Hinge date all in one night, whereas in other cases, it’s best to give your skin the buffer of a couple days off.

Below, Gabby Garritano, PA, founder of medical aesthetics clinic JECT NYC, and dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD, of Union Square Laser Dermatology, break down the recovery windows for the most common beauty treatments. Because if you can avoid a guy knocking your newly injected cheekbones when he goes in for the kiss, trust me, you should.

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What It Is: a fractionated, resurfacing laser with non-ablative (targets the tissue, not the skin’s surface) or ablative (removes the top layer of skin and creates open wounds) devices to address scarring, pigmentation, sun damage, wrinkles, and more.

Book Your Date: 1 week after. According to Dr. Idriss, it’ll feel like you have a bad sunburn for up to two days post-treatment, then over the course of the week, you’ll experience changes in pigmentation as the brown spots flake off. In addition to moisturizing regularly, the most important thing you can do is not pick.


What It Is: an injectable neurotoxin that smooths fine lines, wrinkles in the forehead, and crow’s feet by temporarily paralyzing muscles.

Book Your Date: the same day. Both Garritano and Dr. Idriss agree that bruising from Botox injections is unlikely and since you won’t see results in terms of facial movements for about a week, you are in the clear to go out immediately after your appointment. Garritano recommends icing any bumps that may occur at the injection sites, then touching up with concealer before leaving the office.

Lip Filler

What It Is: an injectable hyaluronic acid substance that temporarily increases volume and definition in the lips.

Book Your Date: 2-3 days after. “The main side effects are bruising, swelling, and soreness, but that will subside several days after injections,” says Garritano. “Take arnica, avoid drinking and taking aspirin products for 24 hours before and after the procedure, and ice the area.”

Cheek Filler

What It Is: an injectable hyaluronic acid substance that temporarily increases volume and definition in the cheeks. The main difference between injectables for the lips versus cheeks or smile lines is the density of the hyaluronic acid gel particles.

Book Your Date: 1-2 days after. The potential side effects are the same for fillers across the board, but less drastic here. Chances are, swelling and bruising will be minor, but you will be sore for a couple of days, so plan the date for a time you can smile fully without wincing.

PRP (aka “Vampire”) Facial

What It Is: PRP facials, also known as “vampire facials,” take platelet rich plasma from the patient’s own blood and deliver it back into the skin via microneedling. Platelets contain high levels of growth factors, which stimulate cell turnover.

Book Your Date: 3-5 days after. “Immediately after, you’ll be red and may have some soreness similar to a sunburn, but that’ll typically resolve in 72 hours. More sensitive patients may have up to a week of a mild sunburn,” says Garritano. For the first week, you’ll want to avoid any retinoids or exfoliating products and apply minimal makeup.


What It Is: a skin-rejuvenating procedure that involves puncturing the skin with microneedles ranging in length from .5-2mm. It creates controlled injuries to the skin, which puts collagen production into overdrive, resulting in less visible scarring and increased plumpness and radiance.

Book Your Date: It depends on your skin. Many people walk out of a microneedling procedure with an out-of-this world glow and wake up the next day looking great, while others have redness that lasts up to five days. If it’s your first time, the pros say to give yourself three days of downtime to be safe. The more you get microneedling (every four to six weeks is recommended), the less reactive your skin will be.

Chemical Peel

What It Is: a chemical solution applied to the skin that treats sun spots, uneven texture, fine lines, and acne. There are varying levels of chemical peels: Light, superficial ones use glycolic, lactic, or alpha hydroxy acids, while the deepest use tricholoracetic acid (TCA) or phenol and often require intensive aftercare practices.

Book Your Date: It depends on the strength of your peel. “Light peels have immediate redness with minimal downtime and you can expect to look your best within 24 hours, but stronger peels can have up to a week of heavy peeling and redness,” says Garritano, who notes that days two and three are usually when the dry, flakiness really starts to show. If you do go out, make sure your skin is heavily moisturized (Garritano loves Glytone Soothing Lipid Recovery Cream) and you’re using an SPF of 30 or higher.


What It Is: a minimally invasive facial that uses tiny crystals to exfoliate the superficial layer of dull, uneven skin and help stimulate collagen. Over time, it can reduce the appearance of dark spots, discoloration, and sun damage.

Book Your Date: 1 day after. Dr. Idriss says that even though microdermabrasion is gentle if done correctly and most people walk out with smoother, more radiant skin, there is always a chance you’ll be red post-treatment for a couple of hours to a day.

Facial Waxing

What It Is: a technique commonly used to remove hair from the root on the brows and upper lip.

Book Your Date: 1-2 days after. Redness and reactive acne are possible side effects, which will be made worse if you’re using retinol products (avoid them the week leading up to your appointment). Dr. Idriss recommends waiting a couple of days before dating for your skin to calm down post-treatment and keeping the area well-moisturized in the meantime.


What It Is: an injectable synthetic deoxycholic acid product that permanently destroys fat cells in the submental facial area and may require up to a maximum of six treatments.

Book Your Date: 2 weeks after. “Swelling and tenderness and numbness in the area is to be expected and lasts anywhere from one to two weeks,” says Dr. Idriss. She adds that you feel nodules post-treatment, which will gradually disappear, and you can massage the area if you can tolerate the pain.

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