Dermabrasion is a procedure that uses a wire brush or a diamond wheel with rough edges to remove and level the upper layer of skin. Once the treated area heals, new skin grows in its place. It is often used for facial procedures.
Patients should understand that dermabrasion injures the skin and it affects how you will look immediately after treatment and during the healing process. Post-procedure instructions must be carefully followed to avoid infection and ensure proper healing. It’s also important to have realistic treatment expectations. Typically a 50 percent improvement in the skin condition is considered a good result. It may take several weeks or months for full results to become apparent.
Dermabrasion is often used for scar revision, and it is also useful for local or generalized facial resurfacing to treat
- Acne scars
- Age/brown spots
- Aging changes
- Skin Growths
- Skin Lesions
- Sun-damaged skin
You would not be a candidate for dermabrasion if you have
- Used isotretinoin to treat acne within the last 6 to 12 months.
- A history of keloid or hypertrophic scarring.
- Active herpes infection/cold sores or other skin infection.
- A skin, blood or immune disorder that could make healing more difficult.
If you are not a candidate for dermabrasion, you may want to consider a chemical peel or laser skin resurfacing as an alternative method for surface repairs on your face. In general, laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels are used to treat fine wrinkles, and dermabrasion for deeper imperfections such as acne scars, but consultation and physical examination is necessary to make that decision for each patient.
Dermabrasion can be uncomfortable, so local anesthetics are used to numb the skin before treatment. A freezing spray may also be used to numb and prepare the treated area. For larger treatments, such as full facials, IV sedation or general anesthesia may be used. After treatment, most patients report little or no pain, though some require pain relievers as well as a corticosteroid for swelling.
In preparing for your procedure, you should talk openly with your doctor about your needs and desired outcome. You should also be prepared to ask questions and talk about any of your concerns.
During your consultation, Dr. Pero will ask you questions about your medical history, conduct a routine physical examination, and take facial photographs. He’ll also explain the procedure to you in detail, along with its risks and benefits, and explain any factors that could influence the procedure and the results, such as your age, skin condition, and history of previous facial plastic surgery.
Dermabrasion involves using a specialized high-speed rotary instrument to “sand” the skin. This abrasive or planing action improves your skin contour as a new layer of skin replaces the treated skin resulting in a smoother, refreshed appearance.
Yes, your dermabrasion procedure is done on an outpatient basis at our North Texas office location.
Dermabrasion can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour and a half, depending on how large an area of skin is involved.
There are potential complications associated with dermabrasion including:
- Uneven changes in skin color
- Darkening of the skin, usually caused by sun exposure in the days and months following surgery
Insurance usually doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures; however, if you are having dermabrasion done to remove precancerous skin growths or extensive scars, this may be covered by insurance. Check your policy or call your insurance provider to be sure.
After dermabrasion, your skin will be fairly red and swollen, and sometimes eating and speaking may be challenging. You’ll probably feel some tingling, burning, or aching. The swelling should subside in a few days to a week. Your doctor will prescribe any medications you may need for pain or discomfort.
As your skin begins to heal, a scab or crust will form over the treated area. These will fall off as a new layer of tight, pink skin forms underneath. If your face itches as new skin start to grow, you may apply an ointment (as prescribed by your doctor) to make you more comfortable. If after the procedure, your face becomes increasingly red, raised and itchy after it has started to heal, it may be a sign that abnormal scars are beginning to form. Call your doctor as soon as possible, so that treatment can begin early.
After your procedure, you may also be advised to follow a post-procedure regimen that includes
- Cleansing the skin several times a day to avoid infection and remove crusting.
- Changing the ointment or dressing on the wound to keep the area moist and promote healing.
- Avoiding sun exposure and, after healing, using a daily sunscreen.
- Taking an antiviral drug to prevent infection, if needed.
- Scheduling several follow-up visits to monitor your skin’s healing and to identify and treat early signs of infection or other complications.
For men, you will be asked to delay shaving and advised to use an electric razor your first time shaving post-surgery.
After dermabrasion, you may return to work or school within 5-7 days post-surgery. However, it may take several weeks for you to resume your normal activities, as your new skin will be a bit swollen, sensitive, and bright pink for several weeks.
For the next 6-12 months, you must also be diligent about sun protection, as it may take a while until the pigment has completely returned to your skin.
It will take some time before you see the final results, as the healing process takes time and the pinkness of your skin will take about 3 months to fade. In the meantime, if you want to hide your condition while it heals, you may use nonallergenic make-up, such as Jane Iredale Mineral Make-up.
Once your new skin is fully re-pigmented, the color should closely match the surrounding skin, making the procedure virtually undetectable.
Dr. Pero is a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, who has performed hundreds of cosmetic procedures.
Click here to view our photos of some of our patients “before and after” photos.
Dr. Pero is a surgeon you can trust:
- He is trained and experienced in all facial plastic surgery procedures;
- He operates only in accredited medical facilities;
- He adheres to a strict code of ethics; and
- He is board certified by The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) and The American Board of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery (ABOTo).
Click here to request your consultation with Dr. Pero.