Dermabrasion losing its luster in facial skin rejuvenation

January 1, 2008

While dermabrasion is not aspopular as it once was to treat aging skin, it is still an effective treatment for deeper wrinkles.

Key Points

While he does not use dermabrasion as much as he used to for photo-aged patients, the professor emeritus and chairman of dermatology at Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, says dermabrasion works to rejuvenate aging skin.

The problem is that today's cosmetic surgery-savvy public thinks of dermabrasion as old and outdated, compared to the more "sexy" lasers. And those who want more immediate gratification do not want the downtime associated with dermabrasion, he says.

"If you use the CO2 laser or try to use the Erbium laser, you will get to a certain depth and then the laser does not work anymore," he tells Dermatology Times. "If you use it three passes, you will get down to a certain depth and, then, if you try to go four or five passes, nothing more happens."

In those situations, Dr. Roenigk uses his dermabrader to sand the skin. It adds a nice touch, he says, to the results from the laser. He also recommends dermabrasion alone or in combination with the CO2 laser to patients who want to rejuvenate their skin and smooth acne scarring.

"So, I do the CO2 laser first, and if I cannot get rid of the wrinkles, I will add the dermabrasion," he says.

"In the old days, I would 'dermabrate' the glabellar area, the forehead, upper lip - all kinds of areas for photodamage. It was commonplace. It worked well, and still would, but perception is the problem today."