You may have heard of dermaplaning, a buzzy minimally invasive treatment that is sometimes called face shaving. But what is it, and are there pros and cons of having it performed?

What Is Dermaplaning?

Using a sterile, medical grade scalpel, dermaplaning is a form of manual exfoliation that gently removes dead skin cells in the stratum corneum (the top layer of the skin) and vellus hair (a.k.a. “peach fuzz”) from the face and body. It can be done as in-office treatment or with a device developed for at-home use. Most individuals get dermaplaning on their face, however it can be used on the body as well.

The process of dermaplaning helps remove unwanted hair and even out skin tone by helping to stimulate new skin cell growth and turnover in addition to improving cell metabolism, which leaves the skin looking smoother and brighter. When used solely for hair removal, dermaplaning is only a temporary solution since the hair will continue to grow back.

Dermaplaning can also help reduce the appearance of scars, including acne scars, in addition to other skin imperfections since it reveals new, undamaged skin once the treatment has been performed. However, it doesn’t stop the aging process, so the treatment will need to be done with some level of frequency to maintain its benefits.

Who Should Receive Dermaplaning Treatments?

Like most treatments, they are not appropriate for everyone. Individuals who can be good candidates for this minimally invasive treatment include those with acne scars, dull or dry skin, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles, and scaly patches of skin that can lead to skin cancer known as actinic keratosis.

Who Should Avoid Dermaplaning Treatment?

Individuals who suffer from active acne, cold sores, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, skin rashes, skin growths like moles, freckles, skin tags, and burns should avoid dermaplaning. If these individuals still want to have dermaplaning performed, they should talk to their healthcare provider first.

What Does Dermaplaning Feel Like?

A licensed skincare provider may apply a numbing cream about a half hour before the treatment. The procedure may cause some slight stinging or tingling, but typically dermaplaning doesn’t cause any pain despite superficial layers of skin being removed. Treatments can range anywhere from a few minutes to an hour and a half depending on what areas are being treated.

What To Expect After Dermaplaning?

After a dermaplaning treatment, individuals can expect some swelling, tenderness, and slight redness in the treatment area. But it should subside quickly on its own. In fact, most individuals resume their normal activities right after the treatment. However, there are differences in in-office treatments when compared to at-home treatments. The biggest difference between the two is that an in-office treatment is performed by a licensed skincare professional who may be more aggressive at removing the outer layers of the skin, whereas the at-home devices are designed for lay people with some safety measures built in to minimize risks of the treatment.

Since the top layer of the skin has been removed, the skin is more susceptible to sun damage. An over-the-counter pain reliever may be taken to help with any swelling that may occur. Sun exposure should be avoided for at least three days to avoid getting burned or causing further sun damage. A 30+ SPF (or higher) sunscreen that offers full-spectrum protection should be used if the sun cannot be avoided in addition to a hat. If any of the side effects don’t go away within a week on their own, you should contact your service provider.

The Pros Of Dermaplaning

So, what are the benefits of dermaplaning? Let’s take a deeper look.

Hair Doesn’t Grow Back Thicker:Unlike tweezing or waxing that can make hair grow back thicker, dermaplaning offers a temporary hair removal solution that doesn’t make the new growth thicker than what was removed. This occurs because when you tweeze or wax, you can remove the hair’s papilla (a vascular process at the root of the hair that plays a crucial role in hair formation, growth, cycling, and regrowth), which can make the hair grow back thicker. When an individual shaves or has dermaplaning performed, the hair is cut at the base of the skin leaving the papilla intact.

Can Be Done Prior To Other Treatment Types: Dermaplaning can be performed prior to a variety of other skin treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, lasers, and facials.

Skin Glows Afterwards: Since dermaplaning removes dead skin cells and helps stimulate new ones, skin texture and tone are improved. It can also help diminish existing post-inflammatory scars caused by acne or an injury. Furthermore, dermaplaning removes unwanted hair leaving a smooth, hairless base for make-up applications to look even more flawless.

A Low-Cost Treatment: Whether done in the privacy of one’s home or done in-office, dermaplaning is generally a cost-effective treatment when compared to other treatment types. Devices for at-home use can cost less than $100, while in-office treatments can range upwards of a couple hundred dollars, depending on treatment areas.

The Cons Of Dermaplaning

While dermaplaning offers many advantages, it also has some downsides, which we will break down in further detail below.

Skin Irritation: Dermaplaning always comes with a risk of nicking or cutting the skin, which could lead to an infection or even a scar. This risk increases even more when dermaplaning is done by a non-licensed skincare professional. Moreover, if dermaplaning is done excessively, it can further cause irritation to the skin and make it more prone to dryness and sunburn. A licensed skincare professional should be consulted to determine an individual’s treatment schedule based on their skin type. However, one to two dermaplaning treatments per month is common.

Not A Permanent Hair-Removal Treatment: Since the hair is not removed from the root, individuals who use dermaplaning for hair removal will not get the results they would expect from lasers or waxing. Results for hair removal may also vary since results will be dependent on the individual’s hair growth cycle.

Not Everyone Is A Candidate: Anyone with active or cystic acne should avoid dermaplaning, as it can spread infection in the skin. Individuals who suffer from hirsutism, a condition that causes excessive male-pattern hair growth in women should also avoid dermaplaning.

Bottom Line

Dermaplaning can present a fairly low-risk means to exfoliate the skin and remove unwanted hair temporarily as long as there is no active or cystic acne present. While there are at-home devices, this treatment should be performed by a licensed skincare professional to minimize the risks of knicks, infection, and scarring. However, with that said, for those simply looking to remove peach fuzz from the face, shaving it with a razor may be the safest at-home option.