Dermabrasion is a procedure in which the skin is
mechanically resurfaced using abrasive tools to remove the outer layers of the
skin. Similar to using sandpaper, the rough textures of the devices slough off
old, dead skin. The new skin that grows back in its place is smoother and
younger looking, making dermabrasion an effective treatment for sun damaged
skin, wrinkles and fine lines, scarring, acne and discoloration.
Because the outer layers of skin are being removed, the skin
will be sensitive and often a bright pink. This can last for several weeks,
though it might only take up to two weeks for new skin to fully cover the
treated area. Other risks include slight
bleeding, pain, swelling, hyperpigmentation, milia (little white bumps) and
enlarged pores. Rarely will the procedure cause an infection, scarring or other
skin reactions. The specialist performing the procedure will instruct the
patient on aftercare and will likely schedule a follow-up appointment the next
day to examine the skin.
Dermabrasion is done in an office, or it could be performed
at an outpatient surgical facility if the patient is getting a deep treatment.
A topical anesthetic may be placed on the skin to minimize sensation, or it may
be numbed with local anesthetics. Patients may also have the option of taking a
sedative or using general anesthesia. Again, the type of anesthetic used
depends largely on the extent of the patient’s treatment.
During the procedure, the skin is pulled tight, and usually
a small motorized device with an abrasive wheel or brush at its tip is moved
across the skin with constant but gentle pressure. Depending on the size and
area of skin being treated, dermabrasion can take a few minutes to more than
hour. Also, depending on the condition of your skin, say if you have deep
scarring, several sessions may be necessary to achieve the patient’s desired
results. Dermabrasion can be used alone or combined with other cosmetic procedures.