Dermabrasion is used to improve the appearance of the skin. It is done by removing the top layers of skin to promote the growth of new skin.

Multiple Facial Injuries with Surgical Dermabrasion

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Reasons for Procedure

Dermabrasion is done to help repair damaged skin. The procedure is believed to promote skin rejuvenation by stimulating the production of skin cells. Dermabrasion can be used to treat the following skin conditions:

  • Benign tumors
  • Chickenpox]]> scars
  • ]]>Acne]]> scars
  • Surgical scars
  • Scars resulting from accidents or disease
  • Tattoos
  • Age (liver) spots
  • Wrinkles


Possible Complications

If you are planning to have dermabrasion, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Common temporary side effects:
    • Scarring
    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Flare-ups of acne or tiny cysts
    • Increased color in the skin
    • Increased sensitivity to sunlight
    • Flare-ups of cold sores]]> (caused by herpes simplex 1 virus) if done on the face
  • Less common complications:
    • Permanent scarring
    • Lasting redness
    • Prolonged loss of color in the skin.
    • Infection

Dermabrasion is not recommended for those with the following conditions:

  • Active herpes or bacterial infection and sores
  • Current or recent use (less than one year) of ]]>isotretinoin]]> (Accutane)
  • Skin, blood flow, or immune disorders that could make healing more difficult


What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may:

  • Complete a general health evaluation.
  • Do a skin exam.
  • An antiviral drug may be given if you have a history of herpes infection. Examples of these drugs include: acyclovir]]> (Zovirax), ]]>famciclovir]]> (Famvir), and ]]>valacyclovir]]> (Valtrex).

Photographs will be taken before and after surgery to help evaluate improvement.


A local anesthetic will be used. It will numb the area. You may also receive a sedative. This medicine will help you relax.

Description of the Procedure

Your doctor will use a high-speed rotary instrument with an abrasive wheel or brush. The tool will be used to remove the upper layers of the skin in the chosen area.

How Long Will It Take?

The length of time is dependent on the number and size of areas to be treated.

How Much Will It Hurt?

Once the anesthesia has worn off, the skin will feel raw and irritated. Over-the-counter pain relievers will help manage any pain and discomfort.

Post-procedure Care

Pain relievers and a corticosteroid, such as prednisone, may be prescribed to reduce swelling. Healing normally takes 7-10 days. It is extremely important to promote healing with proper care:

  • Your doctor will recommend when to resume normal activities.
  • Clean the skin several times a day. This will help you to avoid infection and to remove the crusting that develops during healing.
  • Keep the treated area moist. Change the ointment and dressing on the wound.
  • Avoid sun exposure. After peeling has stopped, use sunscreen every day.
  • Go to follow-up visits as recommended by your doctor. They are important to monitor the skin's healing and regrowth.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.

Dermabrasion injures the skin, causing it to bleed. As the skin heals, new skin replaces the damaged skin that was removed during the procedure. The new skin generally has a smoother, more uniform appearance. Results are long-lasting.

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the treatment site
  • Skin redness or loss of color that does not go away
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given

In case of an emergency, CALL 911.