MeSH D003869

Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure that involves the controlled abrasion (wearing away) of the upper layers of the skin with sandpaper or other mechanical means. Nowadays it has become common to use CO2 or Erbium:YAG laser as well. The procedure requires a local anaesthetic. Afterward, the skin is very red and raw-looking, and it takes several months for the skin to regrow and heal.

The purpose of dermabrasion is to smooth the skin and, in the process, remove small scars (as from acne), moles (nevi), tattoos or fine wrinkles.[1]

The mechanical method remains popular because it is the most affordable and has practically the same results as the laser method.[2]

One of the disadvantages of dermabrasion is that it can exfoliate skin only 15-25 micrometers deep, which means that it cannot be used for deep wrinkles.[1]

Dermabrasion treatment carries few possible side effects or complications. However, some patients may experience dryness, sun sensitivity, and temporary bruising in the area of skin treated.[3]



Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic technique that uses a mechanical medium for exfoliation to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells from the epidermis. It is a non-invasive procedure and may be performed in-office by a trained skin care professional.[4] It may also be performed at home using a variety of products which are designed to mechanically exfoliate the skin. Many salon machines and home-use machines use adjustable suction to improve the efficacy of the abrasion tool. Recently cosmetic scrub products that contain fine grit made from the pits of various fruits and from other materials are using the term microdermabrasion in their marketing.

Dermabrasion is generally used to refer to a surgical procedure that abrades away the top layers of the skin. The term microdermabrasion generally refers to a non-surgical procedure that abrades less deeply than dermabrasion. Although the mechanism of the two procedures is similar, the difference in the depth of the abrasion results in different recovery times. Dermabrasion recovery time may take as much as several weeks to several months whereas microdermabrasion recovery time may be as little as one to two days.[5]

Microdermabrasion may be performed to decrease the appearance of superficial hyperpigmentation, photo-damage, diminish fine lines, wrinkles, and shallow acne scars. Removing the dead skin will aid in the penetration of skin care products by up to 50% and make-up will go on much more smoothly.[6]

The first microdermabrasion unit was developed in Italy in 1985, using small inert aluminium oxide crystals to abrade the skin. In 1986, other European markets had introduced the technology, which was immediately adopted by physicians for mechanical exfoliation. There were 10 microdermabrasion units on the market in Europe by the end 0f 1992. In 1996, Mattioli Engineering partnered with one of the Italian designed machines and started working towards meeting FDA requirements for the USA. By the end of 1996, the FDA issued the first approval letter for microdermabrasion machines. In January 1997, the first microderm machine was being sold and marketed in the US. The diamond tip was introduced in 1999 and the bristle tip was introduced in 2005. [7]

Microdermabrasion has evolved from rocks, stones and shells to crystals, particle-free diamond tips and particle-free bristle tips. Once the desired amount of exfoliation has been reached, some microdermabrasion units will then infuse a skin specific solution into the skin.

Microdermabrasion media

  • Aluminium oxide crystals: 100 micrometres; aluminium oxide is relatively chemically inert and generally recognized as safe.[citation needed]
  • Sodium bicarbonate & sodium chloride crystals.
  • Organic grains: used to buff and polish; made from trees, plants, agricultural crops, straw, reeds, maize, sunflower, cane sugar
  • Diamond tips: can be natural but usually synthetic for lower costs; erythema (redness) is partially due to circulation rather than only irritation.[8]
  • Bristle tips: bristles are pliable, so they move with the skin allowing for aggressive treatments without added irritation.

External links


  1. ^ a b The Ageing Skin - Plastic Surgery
  2. ^ J. P. Campbell, M. H. Terhune, S. D. Shotts, R. O. Jones (1998). "An ultrastructural comparison of mechanical dermabrasion and carbon dioxide laser resurfacing in the minipig model". Arch. Otolaryngol. Head Neck Surg. 124 (7): 758–760. PMID 9677109. 
  3. ^ "Dermabrasion side effects". 
  4. ^ Freedman Bruce, Rueda-Pedraza E, Waddell S. "The Epidermal and Dermal Changes Associated with Microdermabrasion." Dermatologic Surgery 27 (2001):1031-1034.
  5. ^ Coimbra, Maria M.D.; Rohrich, Rod J. M.D.; Chao, James M.D.; Brown, Spencer A. Ph.D. "A prosepctive Controlled Assessment of Microdermabrasion for Damanged Skin and Fine Rhytides." American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Vol. 113, No.5 (2003):1438-11443.
  6. ^ Microdermabrasion in Practice. 1995. Mahuzier, Francois MD.
  7. ^ Dermatologic Surgery 28 (2002): 390-393.
  8. ^ Cosmetic Dermatology. 2005. Cheryl Burgess, MD, Ed.