Beautiful, healthy skin doesn't just belong on the glossy cover of a magazine. Dermabrasion can help minimize skin irregularities to leave you with glowing, radiant skin.

What is Dermabrasion?

Female patient undergoing microdermabrasion treatment

In dermabrasion, the goal is to remove more than just a superficial amount of surface skin, as you would, say, in a light or moderate chemical peel. Dermabrasion seeks to remove all of the outer layers of the skin to encourage the growth of new, healthier, less damaged skin to replace the removed skin.

To remove the outer skin, a handheld wand with a rotating tip is moved across the face. The tip rotates and abrades the skin. As you would assume, there is recovery after this aggressive skin treatment, but the results can really improve patients with conditions such as pervasive acne scarring.

Who is a Candidate for Dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion works to aggressively remove damaged layers of outer skin. At Plastic Surgery of Hampton Roads, we find that this procedure is excellent for patients with extensive acne scarring. These are skin issues that would make a person a good candidate:

  •     Acne scarring
  •     Numerous age spots and pigmentation areas
  •     Fine wrinkles and lines
  •     Precancerous skin patches
  •     Redness and thick skin on the nose
  •     Extensive sun damage
  •     Uneven skin tone

You can’t have dermabrasion if you have inflammatory acne, recurrent herpes flare-ups, radiation burns, or burn scars. Also, if you’re prone to the development of keloid scars, this isn’t a treatment for you. You cannot have dermabrasion if you’ve taken the oral acne medication isotretinoin in the past year.

At What Age Can You Have Dermabrasion?

There isn’t an age criterion for dermabrasion. At Hampton Roads, we have younger patients who’ve had cystic acne and they seek to remove the scars. Of course, it necessary for them to be finished with their acne. Older patients come in often to remove extensive sun damage they’ve accrued across their faces.

No matter what your age, you simply need to consider the recovery involved with dermabrasion. Plus, you have to be absolutely diligent about fully protecting your skin from sun exposure for a full year after these treatments. This helps to prevent a complication with hyperpigmentation.

Patient Testimonial

I felt so at home! The entire staff was amazing and so kind! PSCHR is my go to from now on! I’m so happy, thank you!” — A.K., Actual Patient Review*

How Is Dermabrasion Performed?

The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis under sedation and local or general anesthesia. The superficial layers of the skin are sanded or planed to achieve a smoother and more even surface.

The patient goes home with the treated area covered with medicated ointment. The procedure usually hurts very little and discomfort is controlled easily with oral medication. The treated skin is usually "healed" within 5 to 7 days, when makeup may be applied.

The redness of the skin gradually fades over a 2- to 3-month period. The treated area usually heals to the same color as the surrounding skin, but may be either lighter or darker. The need to use makeup permanently to hide discoloration is unusual.

Are The Results Of Dermabrasion Permanent?

The skin removed is gone for good, and the new skin that your body builds to replace it will be markedly better skin. In the cases of acne scarring, the improvements made with dermabrasion are permanent, as the acne scarred skin is abraded away.

That said, nothing with our skin is permanent. It is ever-changing, all or our skin cells turn over once every month or so. Plus, just as your skin was damaged before by sun exposure, it can be damaged again. Still, if you really work to protect your skin and use good skincare products, you’ll enjoy your revitalized skin for a long time.

Recovery After Dermabrasion

Happy woman looking at clear skin in mirror These treatments involve recovery; your skin needs to rebuild its outer layers. Immediately after your session, your face will be red and swollen. We will have your treated areas covered with ointment and moist bandages. You will likely feel tingling, burning, and aching sensations on your skin, and you’ll need to use the prescription medication we provide at least for the first few days.

You’ll also have swelling as the skin reacts to the treatment. It can be relatively extreme around the eyes, nose, and mouth areas. This will begin to resolve around one week.

Your skin will transition. First, as with any wound, the skin will crust and scab. You must leave these alone: picking will scar the unprotected developing skin beneath. As your skin forms the new cells, this will eventually force the scabs to fall away. As the new skin starts to grow, your face may itch. We provide ointment to keep things from drying out and to mitigate this. Diligent application of the ointment also can limit any crusting or scabbing.

Your skin will remain red or bright pink for several weeks. Swelling can linger for this period, as well. But you can start to get back to your normal activities.

You can expect to go back to work or school in about two weeks. You can’t do anything that could bump your face. No active sports. Nothing with a helmet. These will be off limits for up to six weeks. You need to stay out of pools, hot tubs, and natural water sources for about one month to lessen the chances of developing an infection on your healing skin.

If you drink alcohol during your first three or four weeks of recovery, your skin will flush, but this isn’t damaging. Sun exposure, however, is. You need to fully protect your treated skin with 30+ SPF sunscreen and hats for at least six months and more likely up to a fully year. This needs to happen until the pigment has completely returned to your skin.

Is Dermabrasion Painful?

As mentioned above, there is a good deal of discomfort as your skin recovers and heals after dermabrasion. Burning, tingling, and aching are all common sensations for at least the first week or two. We provide prescription pain medication to help you manage this.

What Are The Risks Of Dermabrasion?

These are aggressive skin resurfacing treatments, and they do involve some risk. These are the potential side effects:

  •     Redness and swelling — Your skin is red and swollen after dermabrasion. This can last for a period of weeks. Blotchiness is standard, and this can take up to three months for normal skin tone to return.
  • Acne — Tiny white bumps, known as milia, can develop on treated skin. They usually resolve on their own.
  • Enlarged pores — This treatment can cause your pores to grow larger.
  • Changes in pigmentation — Dermabrasion often causes treated areas to become darker than normal (hyperpigmentation), lighter than normal (hypopigmentation), or blotchy. These are temporary but can linger for weeks.
  • Infection — If not attentive with your after-care, patients can develop bacterial, fungal, or viral infections.
  • Scarring — If done too deeply, dermabrasion can cause scarring.
  • Skin reactions — If you are prone to developing allergic skin rashes or other skin reactions, dermabrasion can cause these to flare up.

Additional Procedures

Additional procedures that may enhance the result are Scar Revision and Dermabrasion of the upper and lower lips. This procedure can be done in conjunction with other facial cosmetic procedures.

Learn About Our Other Med Spa Treatments

Payment for Plastic Surgery

This procedure is considered cosmetic and therefore is not covered by insurance. The patient is responsible for payment. Our patient counselors can help you with your financial arrangements, including financing.

Schedule a Consultation

Contact us today to set up your consultation and find out how dermabrasion can help you!

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