Dermabrasion is a type of facial treatment that is used to treat acne scars and any other form of traumatic lacerations of the face. During the treatment, a wire brush or a diamond wheel with rough edges is used to remove and level the upper layers of skin, encouraging new skin growth.
Usually, multiple sessions of dermabrasion may need to be combined with scar revision procedures for the best results. However, it is important to remember that while this treatment can improve scarring, it may not be possible to remove it completely.
Facial skin is unique and usually responds well to dermabrasion. However, certain skin types respond better to dermabrasion than others. On the other hand, some skin types cannot tolerate it at all.
During your consultation, the doctor will discuss your skin sensitivities, history of fever blisters, previous skin treatments, radiation treatments, and prior use of acne preparations, such as Accutane. All these factors can influence how the skin will heal after treatment.
Dermabrasion is often used for scar revision. It is also useful for local or generalized facial resurfacing to treat the following.
- Acne scars
- Age/brown spots
- Sun-damaged skin
Dermabrasion is not recommended for people who have the following.
- Used isotretinoin (Accutane) to treat acne within the last 6 to 12 months
- Had keloid or hypertrophic scarring
- Active herpes infection/cold sores or other skin infections
- Any skin, blood, or immune disorders that impede healing
In such cases, patients may want to consider chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing as alternative methods.
Dermabrasion can be somewhat uncomfortable, and local anesthetics are used to numb the skin before treatment. For larger treatment areas, such as full face dermabrasion, twilight anesthesia may be needed.
After treatment, most patients report little or no pain, though some patients may need pain relievers. Other medications may be needed for appropriate healing.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Greco will ask about your medical history and examine your face. He will also take photographs of your face.
Some scars have a raised edge or surface. Dermabrasion treatments use a high-speed rotary instrument (diamond fraise or wire brush) to slough away or ‘sand down’ these raised surfaces.
This abrasive action improves your skin contour as a new layer of skin replaces the old skin, giving it a smoother appearance when healed.
Depending on the area of skin to be treated, the length of the dermabrasion treatments can vary. It takes as little as 10 minutes for individual scars and up to 2 hours for a full face treatment. The latter is performed under twilight anesthesia.
After treatment, your skin will likely be red and swollen, and you may feel some tingling or burning. Pain medication will be provided if you experience discomfort. Most of the swelling and redness will subside in about one week.
As your skin starts healing, a scab or crust will form over the treated area. These will fall off as a new layer of tight, pink skin forms underneath. Dr. Greco will prescribe ointments to assist in healing and provide comfort during this period.
Treatment results will start becoming apparent once the residual redness in the skin fades in about three months. Be mindful of protecting your skin from sun exposure after dermabrasion treatment.
The risks with facial aesthetic treatments are minimal. However, there is a risk for:
- Uneven changes in skin color and texture
- Infection caused by blocked oil glands (acne)
- Scarring (rare)
Dr. Timothy Greco is Philadelphia’s leading facial plastic surgeon, skilled at all types of facial treatments and procedures that help counter the effects of aging and reduce facial scarring. He is double board-certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) and the American Board of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery (ABOto).
Dr. Greco focuses solely on plastic and reconstructive surgery of the face, head, and neck at his in-office, state-certified aesthetic surgical center. If you're looking for a younger, fresher appearance customized to your facial structure, Dr. Greco can help!
Get in touch today to schedule a consultation with Philadelphia’s leading facial plastic surgeon. For appointments, call (610) 664-8830 or check the doctor’s schedule online.