As the name suggests, ‘derm’ means ‘skin’ and ‘abrasion’ means ‘the action of scraping something off’. Dermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that involves surgical scraping of the top layer of skin to improve the appearance of scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. It uses a rotating wire brush or diamond-tipped wand to abrade the skin's surface physically. The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia and can cause temporary redness and swelling. The skin will take several weeks to heal, and keeping the area clean and moisturized is important. Sometimes, a follow-up treatment may be necessary to achieve the desired results. Dermabrasion can provide noticeable improvement in the appearance of certain skin conditions. However, it may not suit all skin types or individuals with certain medical conditions.
What is Dermabrasion?
Refinishing of the upper layers of skin is accomplished through dermabrasion and dermaplaning, which involve the gentle scraping of the skin's surface. This effectively softens the sharp angles of any irregularities, resulting in a softer and more supple skin. Dermabrasion is often used to improve the appearance of facial skin that has been marred due to accidents, melasma, prior surgeries, or to reduce wrinkles. It can also be used to remove keratoses. On the other hand, dermaplaning is usually employed to treat blemishes and deep acne scars. These treatments can be used on a small portion of the skin or the entire face and can also be used in combination with other facial procedures, such as facelifts, scar removal/revision, or chemical peels.
Dermabrasion is an effective method for removing scars that are caused by acne, other traumas, wrinkles that are not too deep, skin that has been damaged by sunlight, rhinophyma, and patches of skin that could turn into cancer.
When to consider alternative procedures
Plastic surgeons typically carry out dermaplaning, dermabrasion, and chemical peels, deciding on one or a mixture of the treatments to serve an individual patient's circumstances and desired objectives. Others prefer to stick to one method for all skin repairs. Dermabrasion can yield excellent results for those with lighter skin complexions, yet, those with darker skin hues may be more likely to experience discoloration or scarring, thus, it's suggested to consider alternatives when it comes to skin resurfacing.
A dermabrasion procedure can take place in a doctor's office, a surgical clinic, or a hospital. It is generally done as an outpatient procedure to keep costs down and make it more convenient. Nevertheless, if you require more extensive work, you may have to stay in the hospital. Usually, the process involves the following steps:
Before the procedure occurs, the skin is sanitized and the individual is given a local anesthetic to desensitize the region and a sedative to relax them. There could be minimal uneasiness felt. On occasion, a numbing spray, such as freon, is administered with or as an alternative to a local anesthetic. In more serious cases, the surgeon may provide general anesthesia, which will cause the patient to be put to sleep during the process.
The abrasion procedure is relatively speedy. It may take a few minutes up to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the skin to be treated. A dermabrasion device like a diamond-tipped wand is utilized to remove the outermost layer of skin. The wand is rotated at rapid speeds to make the texture of the skin smoother and even.
Before continuing, the treated area is wiped down to get rid of any debris and diminish the risk of infection. The process of scraping will continue until the specialist achieves the most secure level, making the scar or line less noticeable. The skin will start to mend and grow a new layer. The recovery period can be a few days to many weeks, relying on the degree of the operation.
Your healthcare provider will explain how to take care of the treated area, like how to clean it, how to deal with any aches or uneasiness, and when to come back for check-ups. The treated spot may be swollen, tender, and very bright pink for a few weeks after the treatment. You can start doing normal activities again slowly during this period. It is essential to keep away from the sun until the color of your skin comes back completely. This can take up to a year or even more.
Types of Dermabrasion
Which Dermabrasion is Right for You?
Dermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that involves removing the top layer of skin with the help of a rotating instrument or laser. This procedure can help reduce the appearance of scars, fine lines, and wrinkles and can help treat hyperpigmentation and sun damage. Dermabrasion Is suitable for all age groups but if you are aging, you must keep in mind that your healing would be slower. Moreover, you could risk a flare-up if you have medical conditions like allergic rashes, skin reactions, fever blisters, or cold sores. Also, if your acne is ongoing, dermabrasion isn’t an option for you because there’s a potential risk of infection.
The type of dermabrasion that is right for you depends on your individual needs and the extent of the skin damage you are looking to address. Regardless of which type of dermabrasion you choose, it is vital to find a reputable and experienced dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon who can perform the procedure safely and effectively. With the proper care and attention, dermabrasion can help restore your skin's youthful appearance, leaving you looking and feeling your best.
It’s important to weigh up the risks and rewards of each dermabrasion method to help decide which method to go for. The following is a comprehensive overview of different dermabrasion methods to get an idea of what method are suitable for your specific needs and desired outcomes:
Mechanical dermabrasion involves using a rotary instrument with a rough surface to exfoliate the skin physically. This dermabrasion treats moderate to severe skin damage, including deep scars and age spots. The procedure can also be used to improve the texture and tone of the skin, leaving it looking smoother and more youthful.
Mechanical dermabrasion is a relatively fast procedure performed under local anesthesia with light sedation to ease you during the procedure. After the procedure, the skin reddens, swells, and distills a serous fluid. In the subsequent days, some scabs can form that fall in a few days. Sun exposure should be avoided many weeks following the procedure because it may cause skin discoloration.
Cryogenic dermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure involving freezing temperatures to remove dead skin cells from the skin's surface. It is typically achieved through a cryogenic device that pumps liquid nitrogen spray onto the face, which cools the skin to a very low temperature, causing the dead skin cells to break away and reveal smoother, healthier-looking skin underneath. The procedure can help treat various skin conditions, including wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and sun damage, in as little as 15 minutes. The procedure is unsuitable for people with darker skin tones as it carries the potential risk of discoloration. Moreover, you must consult your service provider before the procedure if you are a pregnant or lactating mother.
Laser dermabrasion is a cosmetic skin resurfacing procedure that uses a laser to improve the skin's appearance and minor facial skin flaws by removing the outer layer of the skin. It is used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, sun damage, and other skin imperfections. The procedure works by directing laser energy onto the skin, which removes the skin's top layer and stimulates collagen production (a protein responsible for skin firmness and texture), leading to new, healthy skin growth. The procedure typically takes 30-60 minutes, and recovery time can vary from a few days to a week, depending on the individual and the extent of the treatment.