Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

How does Microdermabrasion for Acne Scars Work?

How does Microdermabrasion for Acne Scars Work? How does Microdermabrasion for Acne Scars Work?

Overview

Microdermabrasion is not considered a leading treatment for acne scars, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Unlike surgical dermabrasion, which removes the top layer of the skin, microdermabrasion simply exfoliates the skin's surface and is therefore more appropriate for shallow, barely noticeable acne scars. Microdermabrasion performed in a dermatologist's office can reduce the appearance of acne scars on the face, neck and chest.

Preparation

Prior to microdermabrasion, the AAD states that a patient's medical history will be taken by the dermatologist to make sure that the procedure is appropriate for his needs. The patient's skin will also be examined. The AAD advises patients to inform the dermatologist if they have ever had any other cosmetic procedure performed, if their skin scars easily or if they've ever had a raised scar before (keloid). Patients who have recently taken the oral medication isotretinoin for acne may be advised to wait for six months before receiving microdermabrasion treatments. Additionally, a two-week at-home skin care plan may also be recommended or prescribed.

Process

Before microdermabrasion, the patient's skin is scrubbed clean of makeup and oils. Contact lenses may need to be removed and protective eyewear worn during the procedure, notes the AAD. No anesthesia is used. The dermatologist uses a hand-held device to blow tiny aluminum oxide crystals onto the skin. These crystals gently abrade or "polish" the skin as they circulate on its surface. A vacuum tube attached to the device removes the crystals along with dead skin cells.

A single microdermabrasion session takes less than an hour, according to the AAD--around 30 to 40 minutes for the face and 20 minutes for the neck. Several sessions of microdermabrasion are required to notice a reduction in the appearance of acne scars. These may be done once a week or once every other week. The AAD cautions that results will be modest compared to other types of acne scar treatment.

Post-Treatment

After a microdermabrasion treatment, a moisturizer or other emollient is applied to the patient's skin. A dermatologist may also prescribe or recommend a regimen that includes protecting the skin from sunlight to reduce possible side-effects, such as post-treatment redness and swelling.

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