Potential Risks and Complications of Dermabrasion

There are many reasons to consider undergoing dermabrasion, a procedure which removes top layers of the skin and encourages healthy new skin growth. It's commonly used to treat skin conditions like acne scars, sun damage, wrinkling and even tattoo removal. Considered to generally improve skins' appearance and minimize other unwanted skin conditions, the outcome depends on many things including skin type and the kind of brush or method used.

If you are a good candidate, keep in mind minor complications can happen even when the procedure is performed correctly.

Variations in Skin Color

For some with certain health conditions, dermabrasion may not be a good option. These conditions include candidates who are overly sensitive to cold or have a herpes simplex virus. It should not be considered by someone who has recently undergone a face lift or a brow lift, has freckles or dark skin, or someone with active acne. Certain immune disorders are considered as a negative factor, too.

If you've taken different types of acne medicine in the last two years, you are generally not considered to be a good candidate for this procedure. Skin pigmentation changes between old and new skin can result in a lighter or darker appearance as the skin heals.

Scarring and Skin Conditions

Post surgery, patients may experience swelling which should diminish after 7 days. New, exposed skin is prone to infection and large scars, called keloids, which are due to excessive collagen production. Keloids can be treated with additional surgical procedures. Patients can experience an occasional flare-up of acne and acne scars can be made worse with dermabrasion. The skin will appear to be raw and irritated and some patients can experience persistent skin redness. Milia, (whiteheads) can also develop, a condition which can be treated with retinoitic acid. Patients with a herpes simplex infection who have cold sores and fever blisters should be aware this condition can worsen with a dermabrasion procedure. Pore size may appear to be noticeably larger, although this is usually just temporary.

Physician Consultation

Dermabrasion requires an in depth medical evaluation and should be performed by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon in a medical setting. The physician will make note of skin-type, skin coloring and medical history. It should be taken into consideration if a patient does not heal quickly from burns or minor cuts. Prospective patients need to be forthcoming about a tendency to scar, or if they have experienced any previous complications from other types of treatments. Patients also need to be realistic about the outcome of any cosmetic procedure.

After dermabrasion, new skin is susceptible to sun damage so wearing sunscreen and staying away from tanning salons is essential. General healing time and recovery is 7-10 days. Dermabrasion procedures are not usually covered by insurance.

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