Dermabrasion is a form of skin resurfacing used to treat acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dermabrasion is a method of manually removing outer layers of the skin. Once removed, the skin reproduces itself from the deeper layers where blemishes are not present. It also stimulates more collagen growth which in turn plumps out the skin. The same result can be achieved using ablative lasers.
How Dermabrasion Works
The procedure is carried out by using a dermabrasion machine (called a dermabrader). The equipment is basically a drill with a diamond wheel. The revolutions turn around 15,000-20,000 per minute. The surgeon uses the dermabrader to shave your skin layer by layer. The doctor can adjust the depth by shaving off more layers if required. However this method is prone to human error. Taking off too much skin can lead to scarring and loss of pigmentation. Not taking enough may require further treatment.
The procedure is painful and may be performed under general anaesthetic. It generally takes about an hour and is performed at the clinic rather than in hospital.
Since dermabrasion is an invasive process, recovery can be slow and painful. You will have redness for about a week or two. You may also experience bleeding, oozing, swelling and crusting. During the healing process your skin will develop scabs. Do not pick at them or scratch them off as this will lead to scarring. When skin is healing it’s always itchy. Don’t be tempted to scratch. The itchiness can be treated with topical creams or ointments. Once the scab falls of (on its own) your face reveals a tighter soft pink skin.
If you experience any healing problems after dermabrasion, contact your surgeon immediately. You should have follow up visits to monitor the skin’s progress. It will be several weeks before you can return to work. You must avoid exposing your skin to the sun. You can see the final results after several months.
The risks associated with this procedure include:
- Scarring – this can be prevented by thoroughly looking after your skin during the recovery process. Advise your surgeon if you are prone to problem scarring. You may not be a suitable candidate for dermabrasion.
- Infection and loss of pigment – the risk is increased as more layers are taken off. If the surgeon is inexperienced or not careful and goes too deep then you may lose pigment in your skin and develop an infection, which can be treated with antibiotics.
- Reaction to anaesthetic – this is a complication associated with any type of surgery or treatment.
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