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Dermabrasion is an exfoliating technique that uses a rotating instrument to remove layers of skin, usually on the face. Dermabrasion is performed in a dermatologist’s office. Your skin is numbed with anesthesia before the outermost layers are sanded away.
There are several over-the-counter devices that simulate the cleansing process of professional treatments. These typically take longer to produce the desired skin-smoothing effects of professional dermabrasion.
Dermabrasion is used to remove damaged outer layers of skin. This exposes new layers of skin that appear younger and smoother.
Besides a more youthful appearance, dermabrasion can help treat or remove:
Dermabrasion is only one of many treatments for these conditions. For instance, advances in laser technology make laser tattoo removal quicker and easier. Talk to your dermatologist about all of your treatment options.
Risks associated with dermabrasion are the same as those associated with other surgical procedures. They include: bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.
Other risks, specific to dermabrasion, include:
Some skin conditions may prevent your doctor from performing dermabrasion, including acne, recurrent herpes infections, radiation burns, burn scars, or if you’ve taken medications with skin-thinning as a side effect.
Before your treatment, your doctor will give you a physical examination, review your medical history, and discuss your risks and expectations. Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medicine and nutritional supplements. You may need to stop taking them because they could increase your bleeding risk or adversely darken your skin.
Your doctor will also recommend that you not smoke for a few weeks before and after your treatment. Smoking not only causes premature aging of the skin, but it also decreases blood flow to the skin and slows the healing process.
Your doctor will also advise you about sun exposure. Too much sun exposure without proper protection two months before dermabrasion can cause skin discoloration.
Your doctor may also recommend that you use the following before your dermabrasion:
You’ll also want to arrange for a ride home after the procedure. The after-effects of anesthesia will make driving on your own unsafe.
The type of anesthesia you have during dermabrasion depends on the extent of the work you are having done. Your doctor will typically give you local anesthesia, but certain cases may require general anesthesia (putting you to sleep during the procedure).
During the treatment, an assistant will hold your skin taut. Your doctor will move a device called a dermabrader across you skin. The dermabrader is a small, motorized device with an abrasive surface. On large patches of skin, the doctor will use a circular dermabrader, while on smaller places, such as the corners of your mouth, he or she will use one with a small tip. Large sections of skin may be treated in multiple sessions.
Immediately after the procedure, your doctor will cover the treated area with a moist dressing. Usually, this will be changed at an appointment the following day.
Your doctor will give you complete at-home care instructions about how to change your dressings, how to cover the treated area, and which products to use. You can expect to return to work in about two weeks.
Following dermabrasion, the skin is typically pink and swollen and may feel like it is burning or tingling. The skin may ooze a clear or yellow liquid or crust over while healing. It will take about three months for your skin to fully heal and for the pink coloration to fade.
Here are some post-dermabrasion care tips from the Mayo Clinic:
Written by: Brian Krans
Published on: Aug 07, 2012
Medically reviewed on: Apr 25, 2016: [Ljava.lang.Object;@43c6f732
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