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Vibrant, healthy skin is one of the main indicators for health and beauty. Dermabrasion is a procedure that can improve the appearance of skin, most commonly on the face. Dermabrasion and dermaplaning help to “refinish” the skin’s top layers through a method of controlled surgical scraping. After the treated skin is removed, new skin will grow in its place. This skin re-surfacing procedure will soften the sharp edges of surface irregularities, revealing better contoured skin, and a smoother appearance.

Commonly, dermabrasion is used to improve the look of facial skin left scarred by accidents or previous surgery, or to smooth out fine facial wrinkles. It is also sometimes used to remove the pre-cancerous growths called keratoses. Dermaplaning is also commonly used to treat deep acne scars.

Both dermabrasion and dermaplaning can be performed on small areas of skin or on the entire face. They can be used alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as facelift, scar removal or revision, or chemical peel.

If you are in the Chicago or Gold Coast area and are interested in dermabrasion, please contact Dr. John Kim at his Chicago offices at Northwestern Plastic Surgery.

Choosing to have Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but neither treatment will remove all scars and flaws or prevent aging. Dermabrasion is a mechanical process of smoothening fine contour irregularities in your skin (acne scars, for example).

Men and women of all ages, from young people to older adults, can benefit from dermabrasion. Although older people heal more slowly, more important factors are your skin type, coloring, and medical history.

During your consultation Dr. Kim will discuss your medical history, conduct a routine examination, and photograph your face. Dr. Kim will explain the procedure in detail, along with the risks and benefits and the recovery period.

The Procedure

Typically, dermabrasion is performed under local anesthesia. The area is numbed, and can be combined with a sedative which will make you drowsy so you are awake, but relaxed. You will feel minimal discomfort. In more severe cases, Dr. Kim may prefer to use general anesthesia, in which case you will sleep through the procedure.

Depending on the area of skin involved, the length of time for the procedure varies anywhere between a few minutes to an hour and a half. The procedure may be performed in a series of stages, particularly for deep scars or large areas of skin.

During the procedure, Dr. Kim scrapes away the outermost layer of skin with a mechanical device. The smoothing process continues until the Dr. Kim determines that he has reached the safest level that will make the scar or wrinkle less visible.

fterwards, Dr. Kim will treat your skin in a number of ways, including ointment, a wet or waxy dressing, dry treatment, or some combination of these.


Following dermabrasion, your skin will be red and swollen, and you will probably feel some tingling, burning, or aching. Pain can be controlled with medications given to you by Dr. Kim. The swelling will begin to subside in a few days to a week. During this time, you can begin gradually resuming your normal activities.

As your skin begins to heal, a scab or crust will form. This will fall off as a new layer of tight, pink skin forms underneath. Dr. Kim may recommend an ointment to make you more comfortable. If ointment is applied immediately after surgery, little or no scab will form.

Washing with gentle soap and water 4 to 6 times a day and placing Vitamin A and D ointment is important. The affected area should stay clean and moist at all times. For men, this will include delaying shaving for a while, then using an electric razor at first.

It’s very important that you understand the instructions and follow them exactly to ensure the best possible healing. Above all, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun until the pigment has completely returned to your skin- as long as six to twelve months.

More about Dr. John Kim

Dr. John Kim is a board certified plastic surgeon Chicago patients trust to provide excellent aesthetic results and professional, attentive care. He is a leading provider of facial plastic surgery, including face lift, brow lift and eyelid lift. Other procedures he performs include breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, tummy tuck and liposuction. If you have been considering cosmetic surgery, schedule a free consultation with Dr. John Kim by calling 312-695-3615.

Galter Pavilion Suite 19-250
675 N. Saint Clair, Chicago, IL 60611
T: 312.695.3615 | F: 312.695.5672
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John Kim, MD
675 North Saint Clair St. #19 Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 695-3615
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