Mechanical Dermabrasion

Written by Sarah Provost
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Mechanical dermabrasion is a procedure that has been used for over 100 years. For this treatment, a small wire brush, rotating rapidly, is used to "sand" off the top several layers of the epidermis. A scab forms, and eventually fresh new skin is generated.

In recent years, mechanical dermabrasion has become less popular, with patients opting for chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and microdermabrasion, which removes only the very top layer of the skin. These procedures are less painful and involve much less recovery time. There are some circumstances, though, where mechanical dermabrasion is the treatment of choice.

Mechanical Dermabrasion for Scar Revision

Since microdermabrasion removes only the layer of dead cells on top of the epidermis, it can only soften scars, not remove them. Several treatments are usually necessary to see any results, and deep scars, such as ice-pick scarring from acne, are not much improved. In fact, with only the top layer removed, ice-pick scars can actually look worse, since they are typically wider at the bottom than at the top.

Since mechanical dermabrasion goes deeper, the results are more drastic. In addition to scar revision, mechanical dermabrasion can also be used to remove tattoos, reduce deep wrinkles and improve skin disfigured by rosacea. Recovery time is typically two to three weeks. Since the new skin formed is extremely sensitive to sunlight, it is imperative to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher at all times. Scars from burns, pigmented birthmarks and congenital defects of the skin are not good candidates for this procedure.


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Mechanical dermabrasion is a technique for removing the tattoos. The purpose of dermabrasion is to make smooth the skin and remove the scar. The mechanical method is as popular as laser technique but it has some disadvantages. It can exfoliate skin only 15-25 micrometers deep so it cannot use for removing deep scar. It is generally use for surgery procedure. At this time laser technique is most usable.
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