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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Dermabrasion Overview

Written by FoundHealth.


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
Multiple Facial Injuries with Surgical Dermabrasion
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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.



American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

American Society of Plastic Surgeons


Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons


Harmon CB. Dermabrasion. Dermatol Clin. 2001;19(3):439-442.

Roy D. Ablative facial resurfacing. Dermatol Clin. 2005;23(3):549-559.

Skin-smoothing surgery. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Available at: . Accessed January 18, 2006.



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