How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Before you have dermabrasion, your doctor will likely:

  • Review your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions about current and past medical conditions and any medications you're taking or have taken recently, as well as any cosmetic procedures you've had in the past.
  • Do a physical exam. Your doctor will inspect your skin and the area to be treated. This will help him or her determine what changes can be made and how your physical features — for example, the tone and thickness of your skin — might affect your results.
  • Discuss your expectations. Talk with your doctor about your motivations and expectations, as well as the potential risks. Make sure you understand how long it'll take to heal and what your results might be.

Before dermabrasion, you might also need to:

  • Stop using certain medications. Before having dermabrasion, your doctor might recommend stopping blood thinners and any medications that cause skin to become darker than normal (hyperpigmentation).
  • Stop smoking. If you smoke, your doctor might ask you to stop smoking for a week or two before and after dermabrasion. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process.
  • Take an antiviral medication. Your doctor will likely prescribe an antiviral medication before and after treatment to help prevent a viral infection.
  • Take an oral antibiotic. If you have acne, your doctor might recommend taking an oral antibiotic around the time of the procedure to help prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Use a retinoid cream. Your doctor might recommend using a retinoid cream (tretinoin) for a few weeks before treatment to promote healing.
  • Avoid unprotected sun exposure. Too much sun up to two months before the procedure can cause permanent irregular pigmentation in treated areas. Discuss sun protection and acceptable sun exposure with your doctor.
  • Arrange for a ride home. If you'll be sedated or have general anesthesia during dermabrasion, you'll need help getting home after the procedure.
Jul. 10, 2012