Dermabrasion for Acne Scars

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Dermabrasion is a relatively old technique that purports to be one of the most successful acne treatments available. It works by basically ‘sanding off’ the top few layers of your scarred skin with a high-powered, rotating tool. This tool is comprised of a wire brush or a diamond fraise. These tools scrape away at the skin’s surface, eliminating the upper layers of the skin and, hopefully, the scarring in it. This technique aims to reduce the depth and obviousness of your scars and can improve the overall quality of the skin too. The technique has proved successful on ice pick, boxcar and rolling acne scars but is not for use of raised keloid (hypertrophic) scars.

In order to prime your face for the process a spray is often used which temporarily freezes your skin. This is done because in order to perform dermabrasion well, the skin needs to form a firm surface for the ‘sanding’ tool to run over. The procedure is usually carried out under local anaesthetic but if a large area, for example the entire face, requires treatment a general anaesthetic is used.

The cons of the process are very similar to those of laser skin resurfacing and include: the possibility uneven skin pigmentation, redness, discomfort, the potential of reactivating dormant skin conditions like acne or cold sores and the slight chance that the process may, in fact, worsen your condition. Unlike laser treatment, dermabrasion has the immediate side effect of being a somewhat gory and bloody process. However, as with laser skin resurfacing, there are many positive aspects to the treatment. Many people have seen excellent results, which have changed their self-image, their confidence and even their lives for the better. The effectiveness of the treatment can significantly vary depending on the patient and the practitioner.

The technique of dermabrasion is sometimes muddled up with that of microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is a technique used to refine and improve the quality of the skin using tiny crystals used in much the same way as dermabrasion’s wire brush. It is not really suitable for the treatment of acne scarring although can sometimes be used effectively on very mild, shallow scars as it is far less harsh and more of a beauty treatment.

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Guide to Dermabrasion for Acne Scars