Dermabrasion is a facial sanding technique that is employed to smooth the rough edges of the skin's surface layers to enhance a patient's appearance. There are a few major benefits of a dermabrasion cosmetic procedure. Dermabrasion can significantly reduce the appearance of acne and surgical scars. The technique can also improve the appearance of some facial wrinkles, such as those around the mouth. Tattoo removal may also be achieved using dermabrasion and pre-cancerous growths on the skin may also be removed.
Is dermabrasion right for me?
Good candidates for dermabrasion are adult men and women, old and young, who are in good physical and emotional health. It is important for patients to understand the risks and benefits of dermabrasion prior to treatment. People who develop allergic rashes or sensitivities, or frequent cold sores may not be optimal candidates for dermabrasion. People with freckles or darker skin may also be at a greater risk for skin irregularities after the technique. Patients in the active stages of acne and those who have taken Accutane in the last two years may also not be good candidates for microdermabrasion.
Prior to any dermabrasion technique, it is important for a patient to learn about the risks and benefits of the procedure. While dermabrasion is a safe procedure when performed by a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon like any procedure it is not without risks. After treatment, a dermabrasion patient may experience:
- delayed healing
- other complications
A qualified surgeon will take every step to minimize these risks. Dermabrasion can also cause a scar to become worse than it was before the procedure. This technique can also leave a patient with permanent lightening or darkening of the skin surrounding the treated area.
How is the procedure performed?
It is also important for patients to know what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. A patient might be instructed to apply certain treatments or avoid certain things before the procedure. The procedure itself is typically done on an outpatient basis under a local anesthetic and a sedative. Dermabrasion can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the treatment area. During the dermabrasion, the surgeon will use a rough wire brush or a motorized burr with diamond particles to scrape the scar or wrinkle away. In some cases, a patient's treatment will be performed in sessions to achieve optimal results.
After dermabrasion is complete, a patient will experience discomfort and his skin will be red and swollen. Swelling from the procedure typically subsides within a few days or weeks. A scab or crust will form over the treated area, much like the scrape a child gets after a spill. When the skin beneath is exposed, a light pink layer will be exposed until the skin completely heals. The skin should heal completely after six to twelve months.
The dermabrasion technique is usually not covered by insurance, unless performed for medical reasons. A cosmetic surgeon can work with a patient to determine a feasible way to cover the costs.