What is dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning is a safe (provided the person performing it is properly trained) and highly effective physical exfoliation procedure. It requires the use of a sterile, surgical scalpel to gently “shave” the skin’s surface, removing the top-most layer of dead skin along with fine, vellus hair (aka peach fuzz). The procedure can be performed monthly, in less than thirty minutes, with no downtime post-treatment. Dermaplaning is only performed on the face; however, it is not meant to be used to shape eyebrows, which are made up of “terminal” (not vellus) hairs. The nose is also avoided. Estheticians, nurses or doctors may perform the treatment, depending on state regulations.
Benefits of dermaplaning
Physical exfoliation triggers the cell regeneration process and allows products to better penetrate skin. Some practitioners perform a chemical peel post-dermaplaning (I wouldn’t recommend this if you’ve never had either treatment before or have sensitive skin). Dermaplaning is also excellent to rid the face of excess fine hairs which can often accumulate dirt and oil. Contrary to popular belief, vellus hairs, as opposed to terminal hair, will not grow back thicker or darker. Microdermabrasion, which also physically exfoliates skin, does not remove vellus hair. Exfoliation of dead cells along with the removal of fine hairs results in healthier, brighter skin that has a smoother look and feel.
Who should consider dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning is especially effective on those with dry or rough skin texture and helps to minimize superficial acne scarring or uneven skin tone. It is also beneficial for mature skin, which tends to have a buildup of dead cells as cellular turnover slows down with age. Dermaplaning is safe for pregnant or lactating clients who cannot have chemical peels (peels penetrate skin to act at the cellular level, thus are contraindicated). Those with very oily or active acne should avoid this procedure as well as anyone with thick, dark facial hair.
Don’t try this at home
It’s important to note that dermaplaning employs a specific technique requiring a delicate touch and a skilled approach to resurface skin. Thus, I don’t recommend shaving at home as an alternative to dermaplaning (see Shaving – the ultimate anti-aging tool?). Unlike shaving, dermaplaning is performed freehand with a surgical scalpel (the average razor has two blades which are also duller than surgical blades) on tautly stretched skin. The methodology requires short strokes at a certain angle in particular patterns depending on the facial region.
Note: Please do your homework (obtain referrals and read reviews) prior to receiving treatment. It takes training to handle a scalpel properly; thus, I can’t stress how important it is to ensure you visit a licensed, skilled professional for dermaplaning.