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Dermabrasion has been used for decades to “refinish” and refresh the skin. It is a minimally invasive surgical process that removes several layers of the skin, and can treat deeper scars, lines, and wrinkles when compared to other methods of skin resurfacing. It is also used to remove pre-cancerous lesions, tattoos, and pigmentation.

What is dermabrasion?

Sometimes called “facial sanding,” dermabrasion makes your skin smoother and can improve scars (including acne scars), fine lines and wrinkles (especially around the mouth), dark spots, sun damage, rhinophyma, and actinic keratosis. The procedure can be performed on your entire face, or on specific areas.

Dermabrasion Palo Alto

How am I prepared for the treatment?

Prior to the procedure, we will apply an anesthetic and/or ice for about 30 minutes to numb your skin. If you prefer and, depending on the extent of the treatment, the area will be numbed. Our goal is always to have you be as comfortable as possible during any type of treatment.

Elbert & Jacqueline Cheng MD A family of Surgeons

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What is the recovery period?

After the procedure, we will give you instructions for changing the dressings and cleansing. You will also be given ointments to speed healing and soothe the skin.

You will probably experience some redness, swelling, itching, burning, tingling, and crusting of the skin. Non-prescription medication can be taken to ease the discomfort as you heal.


Most patients return to work and other activities in about two weeks. Swimming and active sports can be resumed in about a month. You can use makeup again when new skin covers the treated areas. Your skin will be much smoother, but it might have a pinkish tone for a few months as you fully recover.

What is dermabrasion?

Sometimes called “facial sanding,” dermabrasion makes your skin smoother and can improve scars (including acne scars), fine lines and wrinkles (especially around the mouth), dark spots, sun damage, rhinophyma, and actinic keratosis. The procedure can be performed on your entire face, or on specific areas.

Dermabrasion Palo Alto

Are there any precautions I should take as I heal?

As you heal, your skin will be more vulnerable to sunburn. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat is recommended, since it will shield your skin from the direct rays of the sun. A sunscreen of SPF 30 or more should also be worn when outdoors. Although a hat will protect you face from the direct, overhead rays of the sun, you will still be susceptible to the reflective rays that bounce off sidewalks, cars, and other parts of the environment. In general, it would be good to avoid sunlight as best you can until after the pinkish color has faded.

FAQ

What is rhinophyma?

Rhinophyma is a disorder of the skin that causes the nose to become red, enlarged, and bulbous; rhino, from the Latin, meaning nose, and phyma, from the Greek, a small nodule or rounded tumor. Dermabrasion can eradicate the surface appearance of rhinophyma, allowing healthy skin underneath to take its place.

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a scaly or rough patch on the skin from overexposure to the sun; actinic refers to a chemical reaction from radiant energy, and keratosis, skin bumps. With dermabrasion, our providers gently remove the unwanted appearance of actinic keratosis.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with dermabrasion?

As with virtually any surgical procedure, there will be some redness and swelling at the site of the treatment area. Following Dr. Cheng’s guidelines for post-procedure healing will ensure your risk of infection or complications will be substantially lowered. Both will begin to decrease within a few days to a week after the procedure.

Will I need more than one treatment?

More than one treatment might be required, depending on the extent of the treatment area. Your doctor will discuss this with you during your consultation, so you completely understand the rationale and can prepare, logistically, for the complete treatment program, since total healing can take as much as six to twelve months. This is the time it could take for the pigment to completely return to your skin rather than the fading away of the pinkish color from the procedure.

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