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Dermabrasion is a cosmetic medical procedure in which the surface of the skin is removed by abrasion (sanding). It is used to remove sun-damaged skin and to remove or lessen scars and dark spots on the skin.

The procedure is very painful and usually requires a general anaesthetic or twilight anaesthesia, in which the patient is still partly conscious. Afterward, the skin is very red and raw-looking, and it takes several months for the skin to regrow and heal. Dermabrasion is useful for scar removal when the scar is raised above the surrounding skin, but is less effective with sunken scars.

Dermabrasion is intended to help repair damaged skin by removing the top layers. The surface trauma to the skin is believed to promote skin rejuvenation by stimulating the production of skin cells and collagen. Dermabrasion is used to treat the following skin conditions:

  • Benign tumors
  • Superficial malignancies
  • Chicken pox scars
  • Acne scars
  • Scars resulting from accidents or disease
  • Tattoos
  • Age (liver) spots
  • Wrinkles
  • Certain types of skin lesions
Dermabrasion is not recommended for those with the following conditions:
  • Active herpes infection and sores
  • Recent facial surgical procedure (less than six months)
  • Current or recent use (less than one year) of Accutane (isotretinoin)
  • High sensitivity to cold (if freezing spray needs to be used)
  • Skin, blood flow, or immune disorders that could make healing more difficult

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