Exfoliating with a razor might sound scary, but the results are impressive.

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Updated May 24, 2019 @ 11:00 am
Credit: Liliya Rodnikova/Stocksy

There comes a time in even the most solid of skincare regimens where the honeymoon period wanes and some of your tried-and-true staples feel a little meh.

Sometimes that means you trade up for a new face wash or sub in something to make the relationship more exciting — a facial serum, perhaps. But in other cases, you might opt for a new treatment. And if you're in the market for top-notch exfoliation, then dermaplaning might just be your solution.

Want to know more about dermaplaning? Here's everything you need to know about the treatment and what it does for your skin.

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What Is Dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is the process of taking a scalpel blade to the skin of the face to provide exfoliation, according to Kenneth Mark, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs skin cancer surgeon. At first, the idea of a sharp tool and your skin might sound a bit scary, but Mark says in addition to exfoliation, dermaplaning just removes vellus hairs, which are more commonly known as peach fuzz, adding that "the result is a more radiant, less dull, smoother texture complexion."

So It's Basically Shaving?

Not exactly. While many people have drawn a comparison between shaving and dermaplaning, and even refer to dermaplaning as "shaving," Mark says that's not the case. That's because dermaplaning involves an extremely sharp, precise scalpel blade which is different from typical razor blades.

Norman Rowe, M.D., a NYC-based board-certified plastic surgeon, says another reason you don't want to chalk up dermaplaning as shaving is that proper cleaning and preparation before the procedure is necessary to avoid spread of bacteria and future break outs.

"Make sure you go to a practitioner who is properly trained to avoid any deep knicks as well," he says.

What Is the Treatment Like?

According to UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center, your provider will pull a sterile blade across the surface of your skin using gentle strokes. On average, the treatment takes about 30 minutes and you'll have to repeat it at least a few times for optimal results.

As for how the treatment feels, Mark says it should just feel like light scraping.

"When done properly, the procedure really is quite superficial and the cells that are exfoliated are actually the top layer of the epidermis which consists of dead cells," he says.

Who Should Consider Dermaplaning?

If you're just seeking exfoliation, then Mark says you might not need demaplaning. Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are other alternatives that might suit your exfoliating needs.

But he added: "For those with significant amounts of vellus hair, dermaplaning offers the additional advantage of removing it."

Any Reason I Should Avoid It?

Rowe says you'll want to skip dermaplaning if you have pustular acne, eczema, rosacea or cold sores.