Latest update: July 14, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey, MD


Dermabrasion is a skin resurfacing treatment. 

It uses an intensive tool to scrape and sand away the surface layer of the skin right down to the deeper layers. The procedure creates controlled injuries encouraging cell renewal and collagen production for rejuvenated skin.

Dermabrasion is considered a surgical procedure. It is more invasive than microdermabrasion, but the results are more noticeable, especially for scars. Dermabrasion is also great in treating pigmentation such as age spots and sun damage. It encourages collagen formation to iron out fine lines and wrinkles and lift the face. The procedure can target smaller areas of the face like the cheeks or above the lip or the entire face. 

Candidates for dermabrasion treatment need to undergo an examination first. Doctors will inspect their skin and look through their medical history.

This procedure is not suitable for everyone. 

Dermabrasion can cause hyperpigmentation for darker skin tones. Patients with a higher risk of developing keloids may not be candidates for dermabrasion. Those who received isotretinoin therapy less than a year ago should delay dermabrasion. Retinoids could slow down healing and cause scarring. 

Dermabrasion can also aggravate certain skin conditions. Those with cold sores, acne, rosacea, dermatitis, and a history of radiation treatment or burns to the affected area must first consult their medical provider.

Before the procedure, the doctor will first cleanse the face with antiseptic cream. A general anesthetic is used if a patient is undergoing treatment on their entire face. The procedure uses an electrical handheld instrument with different head applicators. These can include an abrasive diamond wheel or wire brush that comes in different shapes and levels of coarseness. Doctors will move the rotary device over the skin to remove the epidermis. A smaller area will take a few minutes to complete, while more extensive areas could take 1-2 hours.

After the treatment, patients may experience redness and crusting. Doctors will provide an ointment for effective healing and recovery. The surgical dressings need changing every day with gentle cleansing of the area. Doctors often administer topical steroids to reduce swelling and irritation. Complete recovery can take up to 2 weeks.
Operation Time
depends on treatment
Inpatient Period
Number of Appointments
depends on treatment
Recovery Period
2 weeks

Dermabrasion For Acne Scars

This video shows the Dermabrasion process, performed to combat the appearance of acne scars. Dr. Leif Rogers, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, shows the means by which the skin is removed to correct the defect. The video shows the needle injecting anesthetic into the skin. It then shows the device removing the affected skin. The doctor explains the process and the expectations for healing.

Dermabrasion Explained by Dr Alexander Anzarut

Dr. Alexander Anzarut is a cosmetic and plastic surgeon based in Vancouver Island, Canada. The video uses pictures and videos to show the procedure. He describes the process and gives details about aftercare and necessary precautions. He also talks about different instances where Dermabrasion improves the appearance of scars.