Dermabrasion Treatment for Skin Damage

What is Dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion is a procedure used to remove the top layer of skin cells so that new tissue can develop. By wounding the skin in this manner, the body’s ability to repair itself leads to improvement of acne scars, wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of sun damage. Dermabrasion is also used for tattoo removal.

How does Dermabrasion work?

By removing the top layers of skin with either a diamond wheel or a steel brush, the doctor activates the body’s natural healing process. By controlling the pressure applied and the speed of the rotation, the care provider can customize the treatment for each patient. Afterwards, new skin growth occurs, replacing the old damaged areas.

What areas of the body does Dermabrasion treat?

Dermabrasion is a treatment used most often on the facial area, but doctors have seen success using it on other parts of the body.

What are the advantages of Dermabrasion over other similar treatments?

Dermabrasion provides a deeper resurfacing treatment than some of the light chemical peels and can work on deeper creases. It is not as invasive as a facelift, and recovery time is much shorter. It is also less expensive than many other skin rejuvenation processes.

Who is a candidate for Dermabrasion?

Patients looking for a way to eliminate superficial acne or chicken pox scars, skin damaged by the environment or aging, or tattoo removal should consider Dermabrasion. This procedure is not appropriate for people with active infections or those who have immune system disorders. Neither is it a wise choice for those who have had other skin treatments done or taken Acutane during the past year.

How is Dermabrasion performed?

The patient may be given medication to bring relaxation before the procedure. After the doctor protects the eyes and cleanses the face, it will be sprayed with a freezing agent. Then, the doctor will use the rotating brush or burr to abrade the skin surface working in small areas. Once the damaged areas of skin have been removed, the area will be covered with sterile dressings for protection.

What is the recovery like?

Following surgery, the treated area may feel like a carpet burn for several days. The skin will be bright red and may seep blood for a day or two. Then, it will crust over and new skin will form. Healing occurs within two weeks. The doctor will give prescription pain medications during this period. The skin may remain pink for up to two months, but cosmetics may be used to cover the area after the crust of old skin has shed. Following Dermabrasion, sunscreens should be worn at all times.

What will the results be like?

Patients can expect from fifty to a hundred percent improvement in skin tone after Dermabrasion. The wrinkles, scarring, and discolorations on the face will be significantly reduced. Dermabrasion can take years from an individual’s appearance, giving their skin the vibrancy of youth once more.

What are the risks?

Infection is always a risk with open wounds, but it is rare with Dermabrasion. A few procedures result in scarring, and some patients have residual redness or other discoloration of the skin. It is possible to have tissues damaged by the freezing process, but this is atypical.

Is Dermabrasion approved for use in the U.S.?

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Dermabrasion is approved for use in the United States.

Is Dermabrasion covered by insurance companies?

Unless Dermabrasion is done for a medical purpose, such as removing precancerous tissue or growths, it is not covered by medical insurance. Most Dermabrasion procedures are considered cosmetic in nature.

Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.

By Staff
Updated: November 24, 2009