What Is Dermaplaning? It Might Just Be the Answer To Smooth, Glowy Skin

Your complete guide to the treatment that can slough away dull, aged, or clogged skin.

Person smiling with glowing skin
Photo: Getty Images

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

Sometimes that means you try a new face wash or sub in a product 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.

VIDEO: We Tried It: Vampire Facial

What Is Dermaplaning and What Benefits Does It Have?

Dermaplaning is the process of taking a scalpel blade to the skin of the face to provide exfoliation, according to Dr. Kenneth Mark, 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 Dr. 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."

Dr. Annie Gonzalez, board-certified dermatologist of Riverchase Dermatology in Miami says that the act of dermaplaning "slices off the dull and damaged skin cells affected by free radicals and the sun, as well as 'peach fuzz,' to reveal smoother, softer, and more even-toned skin." She adds that dermaplaning also allows for your product to penetrate the skin barrier better and allows your makeup to go on smoother and more evenly

How Is Dermaplaning Different From Shaving?

While many people have drawn a comparison between shaving and dermaplaning, and even refer to dermaplaning as "shaving," Dr. 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. And in the process, you're removing dead skin cells in addition to hair.

Dr. Norman Rowe, 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 breakouts.

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

What Is the Process of Dermaplaning?

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 to 45 minutes and you'll have to repeat it at least a few times for optimal results.

"The licensed skin care professional performing the dermaplaning will hold the skin taut and run the blade over the top of the skin in short, upwards movements," explains Dr. Gonzalez. "The strokes should not be repeated several times in one area to avoid irritation. This process will be repeated throughout the entire face and down the neck."

While at-home dermaplaning has grown in popularity, Dr. Gonzalez advises against performing the treatment yourself and seeing a professional.

"Depending on your skin type, dermaplaning can become tricky and needs to be performed correctly in order to see results and to avoid harming the skin," she says. "Professionals will know whether certain areas of the skin — like acne lesions, psoriasis or scars — should be dermaplaned and can give recommendations for patients to care for their skin after the procedure."

Plus, she adds that it's much easier to knick your skin while doing it yourself.

Before receiving the treatment, Dr. Gonzalez says washing with a gentle cleanser (like this CeraVe Foaming Face Wash followed by a toner (like this Pixi By Petra Glow Tonic) to remove any bacteria from the surface. (Make sure your skin is also completely dry!)

Following the treatment, apply a moisturizer with peptides (Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer), and add aloe vera (Cetaphil Soothing Gel Cream with Aloe) to reduce redness and irritation.

Who Should Consider Dermaplaning?

Dr. Gonzalez recommends the procedure to those seeking more youthful, glowing skin. She says that over time, dermaplaning can help reduce or remove wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, and UV damage, as well as get rid of the vellus hairs that hold oil and can clog pores, which can lead to acne.

She also adds that it can be a great treatment for expectant mothers who are looking for some deep skin exfoliation.

Does Dermaplaning Have Any Side Effects?

While Dr. Gonzalez says the procedure is practically safe for everyone, she does warn that those with inflamed acne, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis may want to stay away from the treatment because it can have "adverse effects."

"Skin reddening may be present for a few hours after the procedure, along with some whiteheads that can last for a couple of days," she notes. "However, as long as dermaplaning is done under the supervision of a board-certified dermatologist, there are not many drawbacks associated with the procedure."

Related Articles