Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion

With dermabrasion, a dermatologist or plastic surgeon "sands" your skin with a special instrument. The procedure makes way for a new, smoother layer of skin to replace the skin that's been treated.

Microdermabrasion uses tiny exfoliating crystals that are sprayed on the skin. It works best on problems such as dull skin, brown spots, and age spots.

When Is Dermabrasion or Microdermabrasion Used?

Dermabrasion was developed to improve acne scars, pox marks, and scars from accidents or disease. It's not effective in treating congenital skin defects, most moles, pigmented birthmarks, or scars caused by burns.

Dermabrasion is generally only safe for people with fair skin. For people with darker skin, dermabrasion can result in scarring or discoloration.

Microdermabrasion works on all skin types and colors. It makes subtle changes, causing no skin color change or scarring. It is not effective for deeper problems such as scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, or deep acne scars.

With microdermabrasion, there is less down time than with dermabrasion. Skin is temporarily pink but fully recovers within 24 hours. It doesn't require surgery or anesthetics. That may help people who cannot take "down time" for healing.

Before You Get Dermabrasion or Microdermabrasion

You'll consult with the professional who's doing the procedure.

In a dermabrasion consultation, you'll discuss your goals, the procedure's risks and benefits, and the type of anesthesia that will be used. You'll also get instructions to follow before and after dermabrasion and perhaps have "before" photos taken to compare with your results later.

With microdermabrasion, the consultation is similar but with less talk about anesthetics and risks because it is a simpler procedure.

How Does Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion Work?

Dermabrasion is done in the doctor's office. You may get medication to relax you before the procedure starts. Your skin will be thoroughly cleansed, and you'll get shots of numbing medicine to anesthetize the area to be treated.

The doctor will use a high-speed instrument with an abrasive wheel or brush to remove the outer layers of your skin and improve any irregularities in your skin's surface.

In microdermabrasion, tiny crystals are sprayed onto the skin to gently remove the outer layer of your skin. This technique is less aggressive than dermabrasion, so you don't need numbing medicine. It is basically an exfoliation and skin rejuvenation procedure that leaves skin looking softer and brighter.

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices