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Like peels, dermabrasion works by removing the outer layer of skin so that new, rejuvenated skin can grow in its place.

Before You Go

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • What prescriptions medications can I use to address post-dermabrasion pain?
  • Are there any ointments or moisturizers that I can use to speed up the recovery time?

Pre-procedure prep for dermabrasion: Avoid medications that affect blood clotting like aspirin and ibuprofen. You'll be asked to stop smoking at least a week before surgery, since this bad habit can inhibit your skin's capacity to heal quickly.

On the day of treatment: Arrange for a ride home. You'll be unable to drive yourself.

What To Expect

First, your skin will be chilled using a type of skin-safe freon, CO2, or even everyday ice packs, freezing and numbing the treatment site.

Once the skin is cold, the doctor uses a too known as a dermabrader - a power tool with an abrasive brush or wheel (some of which contain diamonds) - to scrape away the top layer of skin and smooth out any bumps or unevenness.

You'll leave your appointment with red, swollen skin.

Who should do it: Prospective patients should seek out an experienced doctor or surgeon; the procedure has been known to be offered by under-qualified practitioners. Dermabrasion should only be performed by a licensed, certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist.

Duration: Dermabrasion takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area. The procedure is quick; it's the recovery that takes time.

How Painful Is It?

Dermabrasion is a painful procedure. Make sure you are sufficiently anesthetized.

Options for anesthesia: Dermabrasions are always performed under anesthesia. Depending on the scope of the procedure, a doctor may specify topical, local, twilight, or general anesthesia. After numbing the face with anesthesia, the doctor will freeze your skin with an ice pack or a cryogenic spray.

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