Dermabrasion: to Remove Acne Scarring

Dermabrasion: to Remove Acne Scarring

Nothing fully stops the effects of time, but you have options to help lessen the appearance of wrinkles and other minor skin conditions, such as age spots or acne scars. Resurfacing your skin with one of several techniques, such as a chemical peel, radiofrequency ablation or dermabrasion, may be the answer. Laser resurfacing — a popular option in the family of skin resurfacing techniques — removes the aged or sun-damaged skin to allow younger looking skin to grow in its place.

Dermabrasion is the procedure which utilizes manual abrasion of the skin to remove acne scarring, hyperpigmentations, wrinkles such as peri-oral (around the mouth) wrinkles, scar revision and even tattoo removal. The most common being the peri-oral lines (also called smoker's lines) and acne scarring. Although this procedure is usually performed by itself for the above indications, dermabrasion can be used in combination with other types of treatments as well. However, not all patients will need dermabrasion and may receive great results with more simple treatments such as a chemical peel, punch graft or other acne scar revision techniques -- some may even chose laser resurfacing if they are a candidate. This is really a very common and beneficial procedure.

During dermabrasion, or surgical skin planning, the dermatologic surgeon freezes the patient's skin, scarred from acne, chicken pox or other causes. The doctor then mechanically removes or "sands" the skin to improve the contour and achieve a rejuvenated appearance as a new layer of remodeled skin replaces the damaged skin. The new skin generally has a smoother and refreshed appearance. Results are generally quite remarkable and is a reliable, effective method of improving lip and chin wrinkles and facial scars. Rough textured acne skin may also be improved with dermabrasion.

The difference between a chemical peel and dermabrasion is the method used. Dermabrasion involves the surgeon utilizing a high speed rotating brush to remove the top layer of skin. The size and depth of the scars as well as the degree of wrinkling determine the appropriate level of skin that will be surgically sloughed.Dermabrasion removes the upper layers of skin with an electric burr. The skin is usually healed sufficiently by 7-10 days to allow the use of make-up and resumption of normal activities. However, it may take several weeks for complete skin healing.

A study was carried out in North Surgical Ward, Mayo Hospital over a period of four years between 1987-91. Twenty-one patients were selected for this study. Various indications for this surgical procedure included acne vulgaris and smallpox scars, pigmented moles, persistent cholasma, adenoma sebaceous, burn scar of the face and post-herpetic scarring. Tungstan Carbide cylinders were used for abrasion. A few complications were noted like, accidental laceration, excessive pigmentation and overbrasion. Majority of these patients showed good results. This procedure can be recommended for a variety of facial scars and pigmented lesion to improve the cosmosis.

If you're planning "surface repairs" on your face, you may also be considering chemical peel, an alternative method of surgically removing the top layer of skin. However, dermabrasion and dermaplaning use surgical instruments to remove the affected skin layers, while chemical peel uses a caustic solution.

Many plastic surgeons perform all three procedures, selecting one or a combination of procedures to suit the individual patient and the problem. Others prefer one technique for all surface repairs. In general, chemical peel is used more often to treat fine wrinkles, and dermabrasion and dermaplaning for deeper imperfections such as acne scars. A non-chemical approach may also be preferred for individuals with slightly darker skin, especially when treating limited areas of the face, since dermabrasion and dermaplaning are less likely to produce extreme changes and contrasts in skin color.

Afterward, the skin is very red and raw-looking.For a few days, the skin feels as though it has been severely "brush-burned." The newly formed skin, which is pink at first, gradually develops a normal appearance.

Not everyone is a candidate for dermabrasion. If you are prone to keloids, hyper or hypo pigmentation or do not react well to burns (like me!) or excessive scarring due to minor cuts and abrasions, dermabrasion is not such a good idea. The abrasive medium literally rubs off the top layers of skin to reveal the younger-looking, fresh skin beneath. If you scar badly from abrasions, or scrapes, the results of dermabrasion could be disastrous. Important factors that help determine the potential effectiveness of treatment include the following:

You may prone to hyperpigmentation (too much pigment) or hypopigmentation (too little, or no, pigment) resulting from any level of dermabrasion.Patients are instructed to avoid unnecessary direct and indirect sunlight for three to six months after the procedure and to use a sunscreen on a regular basis when outdoors.


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