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We all want smooth, lovely skin – but time and the environment can take a toll. Dermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure used to enhance and refine the surface of the skin. Most often used to improve facial skin after a previous surgery, scarring from accidents, or to smooth out facial wrinkles, dermabrasion helps “refinish” the skin’s top layers through a technique involving controlled surgical scraping. Pre-cancerous growths, called keratoses, can also be removed with this procedure. Dermabrasion can be used to treat small areas of skin or the entire face

What is dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion is performed with a rotating aesthetic treatment device, applied to the skin to remove dead skin cells and trigger new cell growth. Pre-cancerous growths called keratoses can also be removed with this procedure. Dermabrasion can treat small areas of skin or the entire face. The treatment is not typically painful, as your skin will be prepared with a numbing topical cream or gel.

Microdermabrasion vs. Dermabrasion: Quick Comparison

Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that gently exfoliates the outer layer of the skin using fine crystals or a diamond-tipped wand. It's suitable for mild skin issues and requires no downtime.

Dermabrasion, on the other hand, is a more intensive procedure that uses a rotating instrument to deeply sand away the top layers of the skin.

It's effective for treating severe skin concerns but typically involves a longer recovery period.

Microdermabrasion is a milder, non-invasive option, while dermabrasion is a more aggressive surgical procedure. The choice depends on your specific skincare needs and goals.

Candidates for dermabrasion 

Dermabrasion is safe for most people. If you have fine lines, wrinkles, pigmented or raised scars, clogged pores, or your facial skin appears dull, dermabrasion can achieve a remarkable improvement in skin quality and glow. We do not recommend this procedure for darker skin tones.

What does dermabrasion treat?

Skin coloring and complexion play a large part in dermabrasion candidacy as dark complexions may become blotchy or discolored after treatment.

However, men and women of all ages can benefit from dermabrasion as this comprehensive treatment can be used to address many issues:

  • Acne scarring
  • Crow’s feet
  • Age spots, brown spots
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Skin growths
  • Skin lesions
  • Wrinkles
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Facial scars, surgical or trauma-related

How is dermabrasion performed?

Because dermabrasion is a surgical procedure, MAC anesthesia (Monitored Anesthesia Care) Twilight Sedation is required and is administered by one of our plastic surgeons. During the dermabrasion treatment, a nurse will hold your skin taut. An abrasive device is then applied to the skin in the form of a diamond-encrusted wheel, a rapidly rotating wire brush, or even abrasive screening. The instrument used is dependent upon the area and location being treated.

Skin scraping is repeated until the plastic surgeon reaches the safest level that will make the scar or wrinkle less visible. Dermabrasion can take a few minutes to more than an hour, depending on how much skin is being treated. A topical refrigerant spray may also be applied to reduce movement of the skin during the procedure. Once completed, your skin will be fairly swollen and red. You may experience aching, tingling or burning, but these can all be managed with medication. The swelling will start to subside within a few days to a week later.

Dermabrasion at-a-glance

  • Procedure time: 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Anesthesia: Numbing topical cream and IV sedation 
  • Typical recovery time: seven to ten days
  • Added procedures: None

Recovery after dermabrasion

After treatment, a crust or scab will develop over the treated area but will fall off as the new layer of tight, pink skin forms underneath. An ointment is applied immediately after surgery to help with any itching and scabbing. The new skin will be pink, gradually fading to normal color over time, but may require from six to eight weeks to fully resolve. 

Active sports should be avoided for at least four to six weeks. If you’re a swimmer, avoid chlorinated water, sun, and wind exposure. Avoid drinking alcohol to speed healing and follow your aftercare instructions. Dermabrasion treatments can result in dramatic improvements to the surface of your skin, but you will need some patience. The pinkness takes up to two months to fully fade but can be camouflaged with non-allergenic makeup. Protecting your skin from the sun until its pigment returns to normal is vital. 

Why choose Rousso Adams Facial Plastic Surgery for Dermabrasion?

As a world-renowned plastic surgeon specializing in the face and neck, Dr. Rousso has more than 30 years of experience and has gained worldwide recognition for his contributions to the fields of plastic surgery and hair restoration. Dr. Adams is double board-certified in facial plastic surgery and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, making him an expert in facial anatomy. 

Dr. Rousso and Dr. Adams will never give you a result that looks artificial; your results will always look subtle, natural, and inherent. Our facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art dermabrasion system, and we offer a superior patient experience, from start to finish.


Will I be able to wear makeup after my dermabrasion?

Your healing needs to be far enough along before you can resume wearing any makeup—usually several weeks. Dr. Adams or Dr. Rousso will give you medical clearance when appropriate.

How much downtime is required?

You should be able to resume regular activities in about two weeks. You will need to avoid sun exposure for several months.

When will the swelling go away?

Swelling may increase for a few days, peaking on the third day before it begins to subside.

Will I be able to shower after my dermabrasion treatment?

Yes, we encourage you to shower only with water numerous times per day and pat dry afterward. This will help your body slough off the old skin, promoting fresh new skin.

Is there a minimum or maximum age for dermabrasion?

Condition of the skin is a greater determining factor than age when considering dermabrasion treatment, however, it may be performed on patients starting in the mid-teens. There is no maximum age.

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