The wear and tear of a busy life takes its toll on our skin. Every…
Patients with imperfections and blemishes on their facial skin may opt for dermabrasion treatment. Dermabrasion is a method of skin resurfacing that uses a mechanical tool to remove the top layer of skin, taking with it any wrinkles, marks or other imperfections. It also helps to promote healthier and younger looking skin as the top layer begins to grow back.
A good way to explain dermabrasion is to compare it to the way in which a craftsman or carpenter might sand and plane a piece of wood before using it. The carpenter uses a sanding tool to remove imperfections in the surface and to smooth it, without damaging the integrity of the wood. A slightly less intensive version of the same process occurs during a dermabrasion procedure.
Your skin is made up of millions of skin cells that are arranged in two main layers. The external layer is known as the epidermis and is thinner than the deeper layer, which is known as the dermis. It is in the epidermis that most superficial facial imperfections and blemishes occur, and so a dermabrasion procedure will remove most of this layer.
However, the procedure will also penetrate into the dermis. By targeting the dermis, dermabrasion causes the production of collagen protein chains in this layer, which will make the patient’s skin appear healthier and more youthful when the epidermis grows back. As blood capillaries are often found between the epidermis and dermis, deeper dermabrasion techniques can result in mild bleeding. However, a well-trained professional like Dr Shahidi in Sydney will know precisely which cooling methods and dressings to apply to minimise discomfort and accelerate healing.
Firstly, you will arrange a consultation with your specialist to assess the right kind of skin resurfacing treatment for you. Different skin types and conditions will suit different types of treatment and you might find that another skin resurfacing method – such as a chemical peel or laser treatment – is more suited to your needs. Your specialist will be able to advise you on which treatment will yield the best results for you.
If you decide to opt for dermabrasion treatment, your specialist will then advise you on how to prepare for the procedure. While the risks of infection and other complications from dermabrasion treatment are very small, there are things you can do to further reduce this risk. For example, if you have suffered bouts of cold sores in the past, your specialist will ask you to begin taking medication before the procedure and for up to a week afterwards. This reduces the potential for infection caused by a flare up of cold sores while the skin is still vulnerable.
Shortly before the procedure begins, the patient will be given an anaesthetic, the strength of which will have been decided on beforehand by the specialist. Depending on the size of the area of skin being abraded, this might be a local or topical anaesthetic or a full sedation under general anaesthetic. The procedure will then take place and be completed within a couple of hours.
You will be instructed to wear a dressing for the first few days after treatment and will be prescribed painkillers to deal with any discomfort. After the bandages are removed, it is advisable to wear light sunscreen to protect the re-growing skin from the ultra-violet rays that are found in sunlight. Your specialist will be able to assess how long you need to continue applying the sunscreen for.
It will take around a week for the skin to completely regrow. In this time, there will be some redness to your face and also some swelling. At the end of the week, many patients will return to work, using light makeup to mask any redness or discolouration that is still evident.
One of the best things about dermabrasion is how predictable it is. This means that specialists can accurately predict the kind of results the treatment will achieve, and can reproduce those results time and time again. Because of this, the risks of the procedure are small when compared with other non-surgical and surgical treatments. The most serious risk is from infection, but this can be countered with the application of dressings in the week following the procedure.
Another risk is from milia, which occurs when minuscule pieces of the removed skin are left on the face and are sealed within the new skin as it grows over the top. This is usually not serious and the effects of milia can be easily treated with a return visit to your specialist.
I will need to spend the night in hospital after my dermabrasion treatment: This is completely untrue. Dermabrasive skin resurfacing treatments are almost exclusively carried out in day clinics and are usually outpatient procedures. This means that you will not need to stay in hospital for observation afterwards. However, if you receive an anaesthetic during your treatment, it is advisable to arrange for someone to drive you home.
Dermabrasion treatment always yields the best results: Dermabrasion treatments are one of the most predictable of all cosmetic procedures and their results are amongst the most consistent. However, it is not correct to say that the treatment ALWAYS yields the best results. There are always some risks, however minimal, inherent to any cosmetic procedure, and your specialist may advise a different treatment more suited to your circumstances.
Dermabrasion treatments are painful: Not true. A patient undergoing a dermabrasion treatment should not experience any pain. Practitioners ensure that an appropriate dose of anaesthetic is administered before the procedure begins, eliminating any feelings of discomfort or pain. Depending on the size of the area of skin being worked on, this anaesthetic may be local or general, but your specialist will discuss this with you before the procedure. You can expect some mild discomfort in the days following the procedure, but this can be alleviated by using appropriate aftercare measures.