Overview of Skin Planing
Dermabrasion, also called surgical skin planing, is used to remove wrinkles, tattoos, blemishes from sun damage, broken blood vessels, acne scars, and pre-cancerous lesions. In this procedure, the top layer of skin is essentially "sanded" down, revealing a smoother, clearer layer.
Prior to dermabrasion, the treatment area is cleaned and sprayed with a freezing agent that acts as an anesthetic. Then, a tool with an abrasive wheel or brush is used to "sand" off the top layer of skin and, along with it, the undesired features.
Risks of dermabrasion are minimal and recovery usually occurs within 10 days. Prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used to reduce discomfort following the procedure. This skin will be pink for a short time, but eventually returns to its natural color. For 3 to 6 months following the procedure, patients should avoid direct sunlight and use sunscreen whenever outdoors.
Microdermabrasion is a less intense method of skin resurfacing. In this procedure, small sterile particles are used to wear away the top skin layer and a suction tool is then used to remove the particles and the dead skin.
Microdermabrasion is similar to a superficial chemical peel and can be used to complement other cosmetic procedures. In most cases, anesthesia is not required and patients recover quickly with no complications.