Dermabrasion Questions and Answers Archive

Sep
2001

Q&A: Should I consider laser skin resurfacing to remove pitted scars from plucking ingrown hairs on my chin?

Question:

I have pitted scars from plucking ingrown hairs on my chin area, not knowing that plucking was making them worse. I have been having laser treatments for the ingrown hairs which has made a big difference and has helped me alot. Although I am still left with these small (not red) scars that are not deep, but bothersome to me and have heard alot of bad things about chemical peels which I do not think I want to have done. I have looked into laser treatment for resurfacing and was wondering if that is the way I should go, although these scars only on the chin area are not deep nor are they red, so I am stuck as far as where to turn, where to go, as the laser place has suggested the peels giving me all the side affects. I am ivory skin colored with dark hair, facial hair all over, which most is blode and not bothersome, aside from the dark ones that started appearing on the chin area, had hormones tested and that was not the case, was told that this was and is hereditary. Can you please give me some guideline as to where to start, if laser resurfacing would be the best route to go, so forth?

- Nadine

Answer:

 Amy Forman Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

Laser resurfacing is a really intensive treatment which I would use only as a last resort. Chemical peels vary by the strength and the chemicals that are used. Mild chemical peels- salicycilic acid 20-30% (Beta-LIft Peel) or glycolic peels 30-40% virtually have no risks and in a series may help you. Another option would be microdermabrasion, which I favor as a treatment for this type of problem, but you will also need multiple treatments, at least 5-6. Finally, you could try to find someone who has a Cool Touch II Laser. These are known to improve acne scars without much risk. Go to the web site www.aslms.org to find a laser practitioner in your area.

-- Amy Forman Taub, M.D.
Lincolnshire, Illinois



Aug
2001

Q&A: After bad acne reaction to makeup, what do you recommend for scar removal?

Question:

A couple of months ago I had a real bad reaction to some makeup. I broke out with really bad acne. The acne has cleared, but some scars were left. What would you recommend to have these scars removed?

- marie

Answer:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear Marie, I wish it was easy to remove scars. It depends upon their character and depth. If they are very deep, they may need to be surgically removed. If more superficial, a type of deep resurfacing will improve them markedly and, if very superficial, a light treatment such as microdermabrasion performed a few times will make them much better. I would suggest that you visit with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who offers all of the options in order to determine what is best for you.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



Jul
2001

Q&A: Is dermabrasion the proper procedure for removal of lip lines and lines around the eyes?

Question:

Is dermabrasion the proper procedure for removal of lip lines and lines around the eyes?

- Beverly

Answer:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear Beverly, Many practitioners have used this for years around the mouth. It is dangerous on the lower eyelid and upper eyelid skin. Microdermabrasion is safer but not effective for all but the finest of lines. Most of us have taken to using lasers in this area for smoothing the skin with minimal risk of scarring. The only down side to this is the fact that it will be red for about one month to 6 weeks after the procedure. The choice of treatment should be based upon how severe the wrinkles are and not on the favourite procedure fo the surgeon.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



Jun
2001

Q&A: Would dermabrasion be appropriate for the removal of acne scars on my back?

Question:

I had a mild case of acne all over my back and now want to get rid of the scarring with dermabrasion. Micro-dermbrasion is too mild for the problem. Can you please let me know how much a procedure like dermabrasion usually costs? Does insurence cover it? And anything else about this skin procedure. Thank you very much.

- Sylvia

Answer:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear Sylvia, Dermabrasion has largely been supplanted by laser resurfacing due to its predictability and ease of healing. There are very few physicians who still perform dermabrasion or who would so so on as large an area as your back. I would suggest that you visit with a local plastic surgeon so that you can get more information on the options open to you to improve your back scarring.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



May
2001

Q&A: What surgery and the cost will rid me of my extensive stretch marks from pregnancy?

Question:

Hi, I'm a 17 year old single mother of a 6 month old son. During my pregnancy I developed horrible strech marks that completely cover my stomach and go in circles around my belly button. I was wondering what type of surgery would best get rid of my battle scars and an approximate price. I would love to show off my stomach in a bikini again!

- Julie

Answer:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear Julie, If you have a lot of excess skin in addition to the stretch marks and plan on having no further children, a tummy tuck is still the best option. Despite the long, low scar, it is the best means of removing the stretch marks if a tummy tuck is needed for other reasons. If your skin is not loose and the muscle are still tight, successful treatment options are limited. Many have tried laser and microdermabrasion treatments with very limited success. New non-resurfacing lasers which stimulate collagen production may be useful but they have not yet been extensively tested.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



May
2001

Q&A: Can you recommend Obagi Blue Peel if after six microdermabrasion treatments I still have acne scars?

Question:

I have some VERY shallow acne scarring, that really isn't noticeable, looks like enlarged pores, and just basically lends to an overall rougher looking texture. I have undergone 6 microdermabrasions, which cleaned out my pores and got rid of the red marks, but now I am interested in the Obagi Blue Peel to smooth out my skin once and for all. How effective would this procedure be on very shallow scars/rough skin texture? I am 21 years old. Also, is the Obagi Nuderm skin system a good face program to get on? What has its success been? And do you know if it is good at getting rid of persistent blackheads, say on the nose? Oh, also, what are the complications of the Blue Peel, and how frequent are they? I have very fair skin. Also, how long does it take for the skin to heal to the point where it's not so sensitive to the sun anymore and not red? Sorry to ramble on so much! Thanks for your time! Lauren

Answer:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear Lauren, The blue peel system is simply a TCA peel of the skin with an indicator in it to let the person performing the peel know how deep it is being performed. It truly does not work as well as mechanical means of removing the top layer of skin. If the microdermabrasion has left you with some residual scarring and skin uneveness, I would suggest more of them or a light laser resurfacing for a better result. The Nuderm system is one that I carry in my office and which has some good results. The down side is that the price is very high for what is actually in the products. I would suggest that you visit with an aesthetician, preferably, one that works with a plastic surgeon or is in his/her office in order to coordinate your treatment regimen.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



Apr
2001

Q&A: What can I do to treat minor to substantial wrinkles for deeper procedures?

Question:

I'm probably between minor and substantial in thew wrinkle department. Could you tell me what the other deeper procedure would be?

- L.

Answer:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear L. Studies with the N-lite and similar non-resurfacing lasers show a contraction of collagen of about 10% with slightly more benefit in deeper dermal layers. Mocrodermabrasion will usually improve your minor wrinkles by about 10 to 20%. Laser resurfacing, to a deeper level may improve textural wrinkles by as much as 70 to 80% but, that is with about 2 to 3 weeks of recovery and redness which may last up to 6 to 8 weeks. If your wrinkles are between minor and substantial, that may be too much for you in terms of recovery.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



Apr
2001

Q&A: Would I need dermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing to remove lines, small scars and discoloration on my face?

Question:

I have some fine lines in various areas of my face and some small scars. Do you think dermabrasion would fix the problem or would I need laser resurfacing. I also have some discoloration.

- Debbie

Answer 1:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear Debbie, It is hard to know without seeing the scars and lines. The healing time for both procedures is the same if the same depth is attained. You might look into microdermabrasion if the problems are slight since there is no down time associated with that procedure (it does need to be repeated frequently though).

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii

Apr
2001

Q&A: Can an NLite laser procedure or microdermabrasion reduce wrinkles?

Question:

Can you tell me if the Laser procedure done with NLite has good results? Also is microdermabrasion a good alternative for wrinkle reduction?

- L.

Answer:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

Dear L. The Nlite is a very superficial laser as is microdermabrasion. If your problems are minor, both would be of some help. I would suggest that a deeper procedure be performed if you have substantial wrinkling.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii



Mar
2001

Q&A: What should I do if my facial dermabrasion treatment causes me pain and redness for hours?

Question:

I have had two dermabrasion treatments, and both hurt very much. My friend is doing the same treatments (at another center) and says it does not hurt. Will you provide me with more information, please? And is it supposed to hurt? My face usually stays red for several hours afterward and I can see every stroke the wand made. Thank you very much.

- Donna

Answer 1:

Jonathan Ross Berman, MD - LocateADoc.com

I WOULD NOT ASSUME ONE IS A MICORDERMABRASION AND ONE A DERMABRASION. ONE THING IS FOR SURE. IF IT HURTS, IT PROBABLY MEANS THAT THE DEPTH OF THE DERMABRASION IS DEEPER. REMEMBER, NO PAIN NO GAIN! YOU ARE PROBABLY PAYING A LOT FOR WHAT YOU WANT. MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT.. IT WOULD BE ADVISABLE TO DISCUSS THESE SIMILAR QUESTIONS WITH YOUR PLASTIC SURGEON. I AM SURE THAT HE/SHE WOULD BE HAPPY TO DISCUSS WHAT HAS BEEN DONE. GOOD LUCK JRBERMAN

--Jonathan Ross Berman, MD
Boca Raton, Florida

Answer 2:

Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

I take it that you mean microdermabrasion treatments which are very different from dermabrasion. There are settings for varying the intensity of the suction and the flow of crystals on the various machines avaialable. If it hurts, it is likely delivering a deeper peel and you may get better results than your friend. If it bothers you too much, though, tell the operator and have them turn down the power.

--Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon
Honolulu, Hawaii