Dermabrasion is a widely used method of refining and smoothing the facial skin via a controlled surgical removal of the top layer (the epidermis). Dr. Hand uses a procedure called perioral dermabrasion to remove the thickened, plaquish skin of the upper lip and to refine the wrinkles around the mouth caused by repetitive motion. Many patients needing this procedure are reformed smokers or may just have a familial tendency for the mouth to develop deep wrinkles. The best candidates for dermabrasion are lighter skinned individuals with no current acne issues.
The procedure is performed by Dr. Hand in our accredited Marin County outpatient facility under local anesthesia. Most procedures are finished in about an hour. The area to be dermabraded will first be covered with a numbing cream and then infiltrated with topical anesthetic. The dermabrasion procedure should be virtually painless. During the procedure, Dr. Hand utilizes a burr with diamond particles attached to a motorized handle to scrape away the top layer of skin. He will lightly abrade the skin to a level that is safe, making sure that the wrinkle or thickened area is dramatically softened.
Afterwards, a sticky, occlusive dressing will be applied that is to remain undisturbed until the following day when the area is examined by Dr. Hand. The dressing should stay on the surgical area as long as possible. Polysporin ointment may be used to keep the dressing flattened and sticking to the wound. After 3 days, the area may be gently washed and patted dry. It will be healing and forming new skin underneath the abraded area. A product called Aquafor may be used to keep it lubricated and to relieve tightness. The new skin will remain pink for a period of weeks, perhaps longer. Camouflage makeup may be applied and used after the scabbing of the perioral area is resolved. The lower facial area should be protected from sun exposure until it has faded to the normal color of the skin. A hat and sunscreen are always advisable if the patient will be outside.