Microdermabrasion Questions and Answers Archive

Jan
2002

Q&A: Will microdermabrasion remove mild-to-moderate acne scars mainly on my checks?

Question:

What kind of results can I expect from microdermabrasion? I have mild-moderate acne scarring mainly on my cheeks. I want a treatment that doesn't require much recovery time but still works. I know this is probably not your specialty but any advice or other ideas would help. Thank you!

- Jenny

Answer:

 Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon - LocateADoc.com

To the contrary, Jenny, I have two aestheticians who perform at least 10 dermapeel procedures each day. The results to expect from a full course of 6 to 8 treatments spaced apart by about two weeks each would be an improvement of 20 to 30%- much the same as with a conservative surgical dermabrasion procedure. Laser resurfacing, with down-time, etc. for moderate acne scarring, would improve your scars by 70 to 80%.

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



Dec
2001

Q&A: What treatments are there to remove dark pigment scars resulting from past acne on my back?

Question:

My questions regards bad achne scars. I have had bad achne problems through out my teenage years and now it has somewhat scared my back with dark pigments that's obvious when i take off my shirts. Its very embarassing around friends and I would like to know if there are any treatment of resolving it. Lazer treatment ?? Its an embarrassing fact and i can't seem to find someone to ask these personal problems. Where should i start looking and who can help me? Thank you much for your time...

- Jon

Answer:

Amy Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

There are a few potential treatments: microdermabrasion, mild chemical peels, and laser treatments. I would start by seeing a dermatologist who is affiliated with the American Society of Dermatological Surgery by going to www.asds-net.org and seeing if you can locate someone in your area by clicking on where it says "find a dermatologic surgeon". These are dermatologists who are more oriented towards cosmetic problems and hopefully can find a solution for you. Good Luck!

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



Nov
2001

Q&A: Would chemical peel be recommended to remove my patches of red acne scars?

Question:

I am 18 years old and have dealt with mild acne since i was 13. My skin has scarring and i would like to know if a chemical peel would be recommeded. I have little to no acne now, and would like to rid my face of the red scar patches. Is a peel worth it?

- Jennifer

Answer:

Amy Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

You call them red scar patches. Does this mean they are mainly red, or red and indented. The redness makes me think you may be a candidate for a procedure called photorejuvenation, a new treatment for rosacea and sun damage. If there is red in the scar this procedure will help to remove it, plus stimulate the skin underneath to grow new collagen. Find a practitioner in your area or more about this at www.aslms.org or photorejuvenation.com or at esc-med.com. Microdermabrasion can help smooth out superficial scars (indents) but needs to be performed multiple times. Similarly, mild chemical peels would need to be done in a series. Neither peels nor microdermabrasion will help with redness.

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



Oct
2001

Q&A: What is the best way to get rid of acne scars and now hair on my face?

Question:

I have a couple of questions wrapped into one. When I was younger, I had pretty severe acne which left me with many scars on my face. Some of them are purplish, and others are what look like little "pits". Although they've faded quite a bit, I still find them hard to look at in the mirror each morning. What is my best bet to get rid of them? Also, I've noticed that I've been developing more facial hair (which I find disgusting) and it's to the point that I can't handle plucking and waxing anymore. I've heard of laser hair removal-what is this exactly? Is it painful? Is there any kind of miracle treatment that will cure me of my scars AND hair? If not, which should I try to clear up first? Approximately how expensive are the treatments? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

- Stephanie

Answer:

Amy Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

3 of the best choices for the acne scars would be laser resurfacing with either a carbon dioxide or an erbium yag laser, surgically removing the scars and then having a more superficial laser such as photorejuvenation, mild peels or microdermabrasion, or having treatments with the Cool Touch Laser. You need to find a laser specialist and aesthetic dermatologist. I would go to the American Society for Laser Surgery and Medicine website www.aslms.com and they have listing of their members in all geographic locations. Your hair, if dark, would best be removed by a laser as well (unfortunately a different one than we use for scars). The most expensive option is laser resuracing which would probably run more than $2500 for a full face. Most of these solutions for scarring will probably run into the $1000 range. But it would be better to consult with an experienced aesthetic dermatologist and laser surgeon to determine what it best for you. Good luck!

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



Nov
2001

Q&A: How can I get rid of two dark spots on my cheeks that came from the use of an acne medicine called Dernovat?

Question:

a dermatologist proscribed me a creme called Dernovat for my acne. after use of this creme I have 2 dark spots on my sheeks ever since(almost 10 years now) how can I get ride of them?

- shukri

Answer:

Amy Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

I am not familiar with the cream you name. Assuming that you had a reaction to them and developed some type of hyperpigmentation, I would attempt to use a hydroquinone containing cream (preferably a 4% hydroquinone prescription cream such as Lustra) or an OTC version (such as Bleaching cream or gel on the skinfo.com website) as well as a retinol containing cream (again such as Afirm on the skinfo.com website) and even consider some mild chemical peels or microdermabrasion. Even though they have been there for a long time, interventions such as these may help. If these do not help, find an experienced laser surgeon who may be able to help you by going to www.aslms.org and searching for a practitioner in your area.

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



Oct
2001

Q&A: What can I do to smooth out acne scars from bad acne when I was younger?

Question:

When I was younger I had pretty bad acne. Now I have deep and numerous pores. Is there anything I can do to smooth them out?

- Ken

Answer:

Amy Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

There are a number of things you could do for enlarged appearing pores or acne scars. You could consider a microdermabrasion treatment, a very gentle "sanding" of the topmost layer of the skin. This helps the skin to smooth out over the course of a number of treatments. You could consider a few "Beta-Lift" peels, which place salicylic acid in the pores to exfoliate them and allow them to shrink. You could also start on a skin care regimen such as with a retinoid (like Retin-A or Differin- both are prescription) or you could try an overy-the counter version of retinol (such as Afirm 2X available at my website, www.skinfo.com) or a combination with an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser. Or let the skinwizard tell you what to do at www.skinfo.com- click on the skinwizard and answer 3 questions (your skin care goal would be "toning") and it will guide your selection of a skin care regimen for your individual needs.

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



Sep
2001

Q&A: Is there a non-surgical option to remove stretch marks?

Question:

I was looking for information on stretch marks and how to get rid of them. I'm looking into an oitment called stretch away, does it really work? Is there a safe effective non-surgical way to get rid of stretch marks? Also if this product is somewhat effective where can I purchase it?

- Sandra

Answer:

Amy Taub, M.D. - LocateADoc.com

Stretch marks are notoriously difficult to get rid of. They are almost like a Slinky that has been decoiled, or like a rip in the lining of a pair of pants. The only thing that can be done is to attempt to stimulate the body to make new connective tissue (collagen and elastin) and there are many things which claim to do this, but very few are proven. The most scientifically proven ingredients for new collagen production are retinoids (such as Retin-A) and alpha-hydroxy acids. You could purchase products in these families on the website at www.skinfo.com (Afirm 2X is a retinol and Soft and Smooth Body Lotion is an alpha-hydroxy acid moisturizer). Expect modest improvements that take a long time (months). Other treatments to consider would be laser and microdermabrasion.

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



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 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 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



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