Premature aging of the facial skin is a common concern among our patients at the Landings Surgical Centre. The face is exposed to a number of harsh elements, including UV rays, pollutants, and environmental toxins, that damage skin cells and accelerate aging. As a result, patients are likely to notice imperfections such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, or an uneven skin tone. Dermabrasion removes the outer layer of damaged skin to refresh a patient’s appearance and restore healthier, more youthful skin. Dermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure, but it does take time for the skin to heal after treatment. By following recommended dermabrasion aftercare procedures, our Halifax, Nova Scotia patients can ensure that the skin heals in a timely manner without any complications.
Cleansing the Skin
Immediately following dermabrasion treatment, the facial skin will be covered with a dressing that absorbs any blood or fluids that drain from the face. It is normal for there to be some discharge in the first 24-48 hours after dermabrasion treatment. Once the dressing is removed (which is usually within 24 hours after treatment), it will be important to keep the skin clean and moist. Following are some steps for cleansing the skin following dermabrasion:
- Use a solution of water and vinegar to moisten the face (proportions should be one cup of water to 1tbsp of vinegar, though less vinegar can be used if the solution feels too strong)
- Soak gauze or a washcloth with the solution and apply gently to the face, moistening the skin completely
- Gently pat the skin dry (do not rub the skin and do not pick at any areas that have crusted over)
- Apply a thick layer of ointment (such as Aquaphor or A&D) to the skin
- Repeat this process six to eight times a day, ensuring that the skin never dries or scabs over
It can take up to two weeks for a new layer of skin to cover the area of dermabrasion. Until this layer develops, patients will need to continue to cleanse the skin and apply ointment as directed.
Avoiding the Sun
It is vital that patients avoid the sun following dermabrasion. The skin will be especially sensitive and susceptible to sun damage after dermabrasion. This sensitivity will last for six to 12 months. We realize that it is unrealistic to stay indoors for this extended length of time. However, we do recommend that patients stay out of the sun for at least a few weeks. When dermabrasion patients do go outdoors, they should take the following precautions:
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher at least twice a day
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the facial skin
- Try to avoid the midday sun, which has the strongest sunlight (between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM)
How Long Will Recovery Take?
Every patient will heal at their own rate, and the skin will remain sensitive for quite some time. However, the initial dermabrasion recovery period takes a few weeks. Most patients find that the side effects of dermabrasion have dissipated and they are ready to return to work and other routine activities within one to two weeks after treatment.
Dermabrasion removes damaged skin to provide patients with a fresher, more youthful appearance. If you have questions about dermabrasion, or would like to find out if you are an ideal candidate for this skin treatment, contact us at your earliest convenience. The experienced doctors at the Landings Surgical Centre look forward to meeting you.