Dermaplaning is a procedure that uses a sharp scalpel blade to shave dead skin and hair off of the face in order to promote healthier, brighter and smoother skin. Dermaplaning can be received in a dermatologist’s office or at a medical spa. The process can also be done at home using DIY dermaplaning tools.
- What is it Like?
- Technical Description
- Not a Candidate
- Before & After Care
- Pros & Cons
- Side Effects
A dermaplaning treatment involves using a surgical scalpel held at a 45-degree angle to shave away dead skin and vellus hair - AKA peach fuzz - from the face. Shaving the face is a practice often associated with men, but women have also uncovered the exfoliation benefits of the practice, which is known as dermaplaning. Another name for dermaplaning is dermablading, because a razor or a sharp scalpel is used to get rid of “peach fuzz” hairs and dead skin.
Dermaplaning is not a new beauty trick for females. Well before Kim Kardashian entranced the world with her bloody vampire facial, or prior to folks raving about Meghan Markle’s sparkle, stars like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor shaved their faces in order to experience the exfoliation benefits of the practice that provides freshly-shaven skin that’s free of fine downy hairs and dead skin that can dull the complexion.
Not only can dermaplaning help get rid of dull skin in a social media-loving world full of high-definition cameras, but certain aestheticians recommend a regular dermaplaning ritual in order to rid faces of hairs above the upper lip, on the cheeks and elsewhere.
What is the Goal and Purpose of Dermaplaning?
During a dermaplaning session, a technician holds the skin taut while using a surgical blade held at an angle to literally shave off dead skin and fine hair from the face. Dermaplaning can provide a clean and sterile way to get rid of the vellus hair - better known as "peach fuzz" - that appears on the faces of many women. It is a form of hair removal that can exfoliate the skin and provide a brighter visage and a younger appearance.
Unlike laser hair removal, dermaplaning uses a sharp scalpel to manually shave off dead skin, a process that can improve acne scarring, the appearance of fine lines, and help to rid the face of clogged pores.
What is it Like to Get a Dermaplaning Treatment?
Dermaplaning is a procedure much different than hair removal techniques such as waxing or threading. Dermaplaning uses a scalpel that is held at a 45-degree angle while short strokes are used to scrape off dead skin and facial hair. Waxing, on the other hand, rips out the hair shaft by the root after heated wax that has been spread on the face is allowed to cool atop the hair before being removed quickly. Dead skin is also removed along with facial hair during the waxing process.
Threading is a 6,000-year-old hair removal process that uses a thin, doubled thread that is twisted and rolled across the face in order to remove unwanted facial hair from the follicle level. Threading can also provide an exfoliating effect upon the skin at the top layer.
Because dermaplaning is a skincare regimen that involves holding the skin taut as the blade cleanly shaves off dead skin cells and peach fuzz, certain individuals may find it more or less effective and painful than waxing or threading. Individual results received from waxing, threading, and dermaplaning may vary, based upon skin and hair types.
Technical Description of Dermaplaning
Dermaplaning involves scraping a surgical blade held at a 45-degree angle in short strokes across the epidermis, which is the top most outer layer of the skin. The procedure goes a bit deeper than microdermabrasion, which stops at the stratum corneum, called the “horny layer” of the outer skin.
Usually conducted using a simple surgeon’s sharp ten blade, dermaplaning can also be performed by using an oscillating blade within a handheld device called a dermatome. With a sterile device used to gently shave away the dead skin on the surface, dermaplaning can help trigger the skin cells to regenerate. Folks with certain hyperpigmentation dark spots that mar their skin tone may find that dermaplaning helps improve the look of acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.
The results of dermaplaning can appear instantaneously, with smoother, softer and brighter skin being uncovered once the fine hairs and dead skin are shaved off.
Who is the Ideal Candidate for Dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning is ideal for anyone who wants to remove the “peach fuzz” hairs from their faces, and have found that waxing irritates their skin. Anyone with generally healthy skin might find dermaplaning a beneficial process, especially in light of the fact that 75% percent of women in the U.S. from 18 years of age to 34 had their facial hair removed - or performed DIY facial hair removal, likely watching “how-to” YouTube videos - in the past year.
According to most licensed aestheticians who perform dermaplaning, it is a myth to think that shaving facial hair will make “peach fuzz” grow back thicker and coarser, or that those with dry skin can’t get dermaplaning.
However, if these are your fears, list them among your questions to ask during your dermaplaning consultation, and consult with your dermatology practitioner about any dry skin concerns prior to receiving dermaplaning.
Who is Not Recommended to Receive Dermaplaning?
If you suffer from any of the following conditions, dermaplaning is not recommended:
- Those with skin types featuring active acne breakouts
- Skin types with raised vascular lesions
- Eczema sufferers
- Skin with hypertrophic scarring or keloid formations
- Excessive facial hair or hirsutism sufferers with hormonal imbalance conditions
- Skin types with pigmentation problems
- Sensitive skin types
- Inflammatory skin condition sufferers like those with rosacea and psoriasis
The Cost of Dermaplaning
The cost of dermaplaning can vary widely, specifically since dermaplaning treatments often involve additional spa services and skin care products used in the wake of the treatment. Dermaplaning can range anywhere from $75 per treatment to $200 per treatment and above, with at least one New York City spa charging $185 per session.
Of course, there are people who eschew the costs charged by licensed aestheticians and practice their own form of physical exfoliation by shaving at home with a regular razor. Although skipping the office of a plastic surgeon and the plastic surgeon’s prices to use an average razor or a Tinkle razor at home to shave your face with extra virgin olive oil would be a lot cheaper, experts advise that the DIY process may not be as effective.
Dermaplaning Before and After Care
After dermaplaning, the skin is more exposed. Although anti-aging solutions can penetrate deeper - in the form of vitamin C or E serums - care should be taken to also protect sensitive skin with an SPF 50 moisturizer. Chemical peels are sometimes used in conjunction with dermaplaning, which may make the skin even more sensitive to the sun.
Retinol, which is vitamin A, can be used at night liberally in the wake of a dermaplaning treatment, about 72 hours later. However, other things should be avoided, like shaving, exfoliating and waxing.
Recovery from Dermaplaning
Dermaplaning is a treatment that doesn’t require much - if any - recovery, although you should treat your skin with care in the wake of the skin care shaving ritual.
Those who receive dermaplaning can resume their normal activities immediately after having their skin shaved - but be aware that there are a few products and actions that should be temporarily avoided, such as using harsh cleansers, swimming and too much sun exposure.
The Pros and Cons of Dermaplaning
Some people have fallen in love with dermaplaning, because it is a relatively easy way to see immediate results without experiencing any pain.
The pros of dermaplaning can include the following:
- Liquid makeup and foundation glides on easier
- Skin care products penetrate better
- Even skin tone
- Provides a glowing appearance
- Sikier skin
- Dermaplaning is clean exfoliation from a blade, without the scratching caused by harsh exfoliating scrubs or microdermabrasion
Can be repeated every six weeks or more often, as the skin tolerates it
The cons of dermaplaning may include:
- The expense of the treatments
- The risk of cutting
- Redness, tenderness and skin sensitivity in the wake of the treatment
- Temporary results
Side Effects of Dermaplaning
The side effects of dermaplaning may be minimal, but could include pink or red skin that is slightly more sensitive to the sun and certain skincare products for about a week following the treatment.
Those who have received dermaplaning may also experience dry skin flakes, especially after an aggressive dermaplaning session. The skin could feel dry approximately one day or two days after treatment, with the skin appearing its best about three days following dermaplaning.
Choose an expert in dermaplaning by performing due diligence research online, and by viewing the real before-and-after results of others before you settle on a practitioner. Consult with a dermatologist to get advice about your specific skin type as well.
Dermaplaning Risks and Complications
Overall, dermaplaning is generally a safe treatment, when it is performed by an expert who follows safe procedures when using a sharp blade on the face. However, if you sign a waiver that mentions the risks and complications associated with dermaplaning prior to your treatment, you’ll likely notice the fact that cuts and nicks are a possibility.
Lacerations of the skin can occur during the process, because a sharp surgical blade is oftentimes used. However, just like when men nick their faces with razors while shaving, it is usually a small cut that heals quickly.
Dermaplaning is considered a non-invasive treatment - even though a surgical scalpel is used to shave off fine facial hairs - that can help improve the skin’s texture and appearance.
Other risks associated with dermaplaning could include changes in skin pigmentation, if there has been too much sun exposure following the treatment without adequate sun protection. Dark spots or a darkening of the skin could potentially occur.
Certain skin types may develop bumps or whiteheads following dermaplaning, which could disappear on their own without any treatment. In certain cases, a plastic surgeon can remove the whiteheads.
It is a rarity that infections or scars result after a dermaplaning session, but it is a possibility. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the person performing the dermaplaning session is using clean and sterile instruments, and is well versed in the safe manner of performing dermaplaning.