Find out how this skin-resurfacing procedure can change the appearance of your skin.
Dermabrasion is a skin-resurfacing procedure that uses a rapidly rotating device to remove the outer layer of skin. The skin that grows back is usually smoother.
Dermabrasion can decrease the appearance of fine facial lines and improve the look of many skin flaws, including acne scars, scars from surgery, age spots and wrinkles. Dermabrasion can be done alone or in combination with other cosmetic procedures.
During dermabrasion, your doctor numbs your skin with anesthetics. You might also have the option of taking a sedative or receiving general anesthesia, depending on the extent of your treatment.
Skin treated with dermabrasion will be sensitive and blotchy for several weeks. It might take about three months for your skin tone to return to normal.
Dermabrasion is a skin-resurfacing procedure that uses a rapidly rotating device to sand the outer layers of skin. Immediately after dermabrasion, treated skin will be reddish and swollen. The skin that grows back is usually smoother.
Dermabrasion can be used to treat or remove:
Dermabrasion can cause side effects, including:
Redness and swelling. After dermabrasion, treated skin will be red and swollen. Swelling will begin to decrease within a few days to one week, but might last for weeks or even months.
Your new skin will be sensitive and blotchy for several weeks. It might take about three months for your skin tone to return to normal.
Dermabrasion isn't for everyone. Your doctor might caution against dermabrasion if you:
Before you have dermabrasion, your doctor will likely:
Before dermabrasion, you might also need to:
Dermabrasion is typically done in an office procedure room or outpatient facility. If you're having extensive work done, you might be admitted to a hospital.
On the day of your procedure, wash your face. Do not apply any makeup or facial creams. Wear clothes that you don't have to pull over your head because you'll have a facial dressing after your procedure.
Your care team will give you anesthesia or sedation to decrease sensation. If you have questions about this, ask a member of your care team.
During the procedure, the doctor moves a small motorized device across the skin with constant, gentle pressure. The device has an abrasive wheel or brush for a tip that removes the outer skin layers.
Dermabrasion can take a few minutes to more than an hour, depending on how much skin is being treated. If you have deep scarring or you're having a large amount of skin treated, you might have dermabrasion done more than once or in stages.
After dermabrasion, treated skin will be covered with a moist, nonstick dressing. You will receive self-care instructions to follow at home and you might be given prescription pain medication.
You'll likely need to schedule a checkup soon after treatment so that your doctor can examine your skin and change your dressing.
At home, change your dressing as directed by your doctor. Your doctor will also let you know when you can begin regularly cleaning the treated area and applying protective ointments. Your self-care instructions will vary depending on the extent of your procedure.
While you're healing:
To relieve pain after the procedure, take prescribed pain medication or an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox DS, others). Ask your doctor which pain reliever is best for you.
You might prefer to remain at home while you're healing from dermabrasion, though you can usually return to work after two weeks. Keep treated areas away from chlorinated swimming pool water for at least four weeks. Your doctor might recommend avoiding active sports — especially those involving a ball — for four to six weeks.
Once new skin completely covers the treated area, you can use cosmetics to conceal any redness.
If your treated skin appears to be getting worse — becomes increasingly red, raised and itchy after it has started to heal — contact your doctor. This might be a sign of scarring.
After dermabrasion, your new skin will be sensitive and red. Swelling will begin to decrease within a few days to a week, but can last for weeks or even months. It might take about three months for your skin tone to return to normal.
Once the treated area begins to heal, you'll notice that your skin looks smoother. Protect your skin from the sun for six to 12 months to prevent permanent skin color changes.
If your skin tone is blotchy after healing, ask your doctor about prescription hydroquinone — a bleaching agent — to help even out your skin tone.
Keep in mind that dermabrasion results might not be permanent. As you age, you'll continue to get lines from squinting and smiling. New sun damage also can reverse the results of dermabrasion.