Dermabrasion: Cost, Risks, Recovery


Dermabrasion is a type of surgical skin planning that produces substantial changes in the appearance of the skin by injuring it in a controlled manner using an abrasive. It can soften the sharp edges of surface irregularities, making the skin smoother. It is often used to treat certain types of scarring and skin wrinkles.

Dermabrasion will reach the deeper layer of the skin. Older people heal more slowly after the surgery, but more important factors are your skin type, coloring and medical history. Before you decide to have a dermabrasion, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.


People who can meet the following creteria are the ideal candidates for dermabrasion:

  • Have acne scarring, traumatic scars, rhinophyma (nose enlargement in rosacea), wrinkles, tattoo removal, and actinic keratoses (very early stage of skin cancer)
  • Lighter-skinned
  • Patients who have not recently been treated with isotretinoin


According to 2018 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of dermabrasion is $1,249. The total cost can vary greatly based on factors like:

  • The expertise and qualifications of your surgeon
  • Type of dermabrasion procedure performed
  • Time and effort the procedure requires
  • The geographic location of the office


As with any surgical procedure, possible risks and side effects would occur in dermabrasion surgery. Potential risks include:

  • Infection
  • Redness
  • Rashes
  • Scarring
  • Swelling
  • Acne breakouts
  • Undesirable color, more common in darkly pigmented individuals
  • Enlarged pores, usually temporary

You should be aware of these risks and complications before you decide to have a dermabrasion treatment.


Before your surgery, your doctor will give you a physical examination, review your medical history, and discuss your risks and expectations for the procedure. He or she may also ask you to:

  • Stop taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs or herbal supplements because they may increase bleeding or adversely darken your skin
  • Avoid smoking for a few weeks before the surgery
  • Protect yourself from too much sun exposure at least two months before the procedure

You’ll also want to arrange for a ride home after the procedure because a dermabrasion is usually on an outpatient basis.

Surgical Steps

The type of anesthesia you will have during dermabrasion depends on the extent of your treatment. Typically, your doctor will give you local anesthesia. However, certain cases may require sedation to help you relax or feel drowsy.

During the procedure, an assistant will hold your skin taut. Your doctor will move a device called a dermabrader, which is a small, motorized device with a rough surface, across your skin.

On large patches of skin, the doctor will use a circular dermabrader, while on smaller places, such as the corners of your mouth, they’ll use one with a small tip. Your doctor may treat large sections of skin over multiple sessions.

At the end of the procedure, your doctor will cover the treated area with a moist dressing. Usually, they’ll change this dressing at an appointment the following day.


Directly after the dermabrasion procedure, your skin will be red and swollen, and eating and speaking may be difficult. You’ll probably feel some tingling, burning or aching in the treated area. The swelling will begin to subside within a few days to a week.

The skin may ooze a clear or yellow liquid or crust over while healing. You can expect to return to work in about two weeks. But it will take about three months for your skin to fully heal and for the pink coloration to fade.

Keyword: dermabrasion.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.