Dermabrasion is the mechanical scraping of the top layers of skin using a high-speed rotary wheel. This softens the sharp edges of surface irregularities, including acne and other scars and fine wrinkles, especially around the mouth. Dermabrasion is typically an outpatient procedure lasting a few minutes to 1.5 hours. More than one session may be required. Anesthesia may be local, numbing spray, or general. Side effects include temporary tingling, burning, itching, swelling, or redness, lightening of treated skin, acute sensitivity to sun and/or loss of ability to make pigment (tan). Risks include abnormal color changes (permanent) and/or tiny whiteheads (temporary), infection, scarring, flare-up of skin allergies, fever blisters, and/or cold sores. Patients are usually back to work in 2 weeks and can perform more strenuous activities in 4 to 6 weeks. It takes about 3 months for redness to fade and 6 to 12 months for the return of pigmentation. It is necessary to refrain from any UV exposure for 6 to 12 months following this procedure. The duration of results is permanent, although new wrinkles may form as skin ages. Learn more about dermabrasion.