Dermabrasion helps to improve the look of scarred or sun-damaged skin. It is frequently used to treat acne scars or to erase fine, facial wrinkles for a more youthful look. The procedure is not used to remove birth skin defects, moles, birthmarks and burn scars, although it may be used to remove tattoos and chicken pox scars.

Learn more about Dermabrasion in our Plastic Surgery Forum.


A few minutes to 1 ½ hours. Some cases require several sessions of treatment.

Side Effects

Face feels slightly sunburned, with skin that weeps a clear fluid and redness lasting about a week. A scab or crust usually forms over the treatment area as it heals.


Most patients are able to return to work right away. Pinkish skin may take about 3 months to fade. Your surgeon may ask you to stay out of the sun for six to twelve months.


Possibility of infection and scarring. Patients taking Accutane are at risk for scaring. Some patients develop excessive scar tissue which can be treated later. Ethnicities with dark complexions, including African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, may become blotchy after dermabrasion. Freckles may disappear in the treated area.


After 18 months, patients should expect a 50 to 80 percent improvement in the skin.



A surgeon scrapes away the skin’s top layers so that newer, smoother skin grows back using a rough wire brush, or a burr containing diamond particles, attached to a motorized handle; continuing until he or she reaches the safest level that will make the scar or wrinkle less visible. Dermabrasion is similar to Microdermabrasion, only that more deep layers of skin are targetted for treatment.

Patient Status

Outpatient -


Local with Sedation


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