Dermaplaning: Would you scrape your face in the quest for smoother skin?

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Jacqueline Kilikita
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Dermaplaning, a fast-track treatment to a better complexion, is currently taking the beauty industry by storm. We walk you through this unusual exfoliation technique.

Following the  ban on microbeads, more and more of us are looking to incorporate different methods of skin exfoliation into our beauty regimes. But if you aren’t keen on acids, you might be sold on dermaplaning. 

Beloved by beauty editors and skin specialists alike, the treatment promises clearer, radiant and more even-toned skin.

Here, Stylist answers your questions about it.

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What is dermaplaning?

Not as scary as it sounds, especially when undertaken by a professional, dermaplaning is a form of mechanical exfoliation, where both dead skin cells and vellus hairs (the fine hairs on your face, otherwise known as ‘peach fuzz’) are scraped away from the surface of the skin using a sterile surgical scalpel. 

What happens during dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning treatments will vary wherever you go but the concept is more or less the same.

Skin expert and Harley Street-based aesthetic doctor Dr David Jack performs dermaplaning in combination with skin peels, first cleansing the skin with antiseptic, then applying a light exfoliant before gently ‘shaving’ the face of skin cells and fine hairs. Skin-perfecting serums and a high-factor SPF follow.

What does dermaplaning do for your skin?

According to experts, the benefits of dermaplaning are pretty much endless.

“Dermaplaning triggers the cell regeneration process, which helps to improve, soften and smooth the appearance of acne scarring, hyperpigmentation and sun damage,” says cosmetic doctor and skin expert Dr Jonquille Chantrey.

But radiant skin isn’t the only plus. Dermaplaning specialists at Woodford Medical say the removal of dead skin cells during the treatment maximises the absorption of skin peels, as well as serums and moisturisers, which means you’ll get much better results from your army of expensive skincare products.

What does dermaplaning feel like?

Don’t let the word ‘scalpel’ put you off. During dermaplaning, you can expect a slightly cold, scraping sensation (a bit like shaving your face with a razor blade). It’s slightly unusual but not remotely painful.

What is the aftercare like?

Unlike treatments such as microneedling or acid peels, there isn’t any major downtime, so you can brave the outside world without the fear of scaring everyone off. Jack tells us the skin will be a little pink and dry for a day or so, but that it usually looks its best a few days after dermaplaning. Patience is a virtue, after all.

Also, make sure you stock up on a high-factor SPF, either 30 or 50, to protect your skin – which is likely to be a little sensitive post-treatment – from UV damage. Dermatologists rate Heliocare Advanced SPF 50 Gel, £19.

Is dermaplaning safe?

Dermaplaning is a safe skin treatment, but Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, says it should be avoided in those with acne or pigmentation problems. Why? They could potentially become worse.

“Sensitive skin types may not tolerate the procedure well,” she says, “and those with inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis should avoid treatment.”

How often should you book in for a dermaplaning treatment?

You might exfoliate with acids or physical exfoliators every other day, but you should definitely leave it longer in between dermaplaning treatments. According to Mahto, dermaplaning can be repeated every 3-4 weeks without any issues.

What about DIY dermaplaning?

Yes, DIY dermaplaning is a thing, but don’t even think about picking up the razor you use to shave your legs. 

If you want to do it in the comfort of your own bathroom, choose a stainless-steel blade specifically designed for dermaplaning, like the Hollywood Browzer, £15. It has safety guards to minimise nicks and is compatible with delicate skin.

Is dermaplaning good for hair removal?

Dermaplaning is simply a method of exfoliation, and the fine hairs it removes will grow back, but the idea that they’ll return thicker or darker is a myth. If you’re looking into dermaplaning as a form of hair removal, be aware that there are more effective, permanent solutions, such as laser hair removal, IPL and electrolysis.

Stylist contributor, Jacqueline Kilikita, shares her experience of professional dermaplaning

“I’ve always suffered with dull skin and struggled to get rid of the hyper-pigmentation left behind acne, so I decided to give dermaplaning a go instead of booking in for an acid peel. Despite the rather scary-looking blade, the process wasn’t at all uncomfortable. The blade felt a little cold, but instead of an unbearable scraping sensation, it glided across my pre-moisturised skin. After the process, a vitamin-packed serum was then smoothed over my fresh skin (it penetrates better once the dead skin cells are sloughed away) and my specialist also applied SPF 50 to protect my sensitive skin from UV. A day later, my skin felt a little dry in patches but once it let up, my complexion was noticeably brighter and my skin was smoother. It’s a myth that hair grows back thicker after dermaplaning, but since mine is coarse anyway, it felt slightly prickly, as the hairs grew back blunt. It did give me the clearer, more even-toned skin I wanted, but in terms of hair removal, I’d opt for a different treatment.”

Stylist’s Junior beauty writer, Ava Welsing Kitcher, shares her experience of DIY dermaplaning

“I’d tried everything to keep my upper lip hair in check, but my skin always reacted. I opted for DIY dermaplaning and loved how fast and easy it was. Soon, I moved onto the rest of my face – there’s something so satisfying about sweeping off all the dead skin and peach fuzz. It seems nerve-wracking to do it yourself, but just use gentle scraping motions and ensure you clean the blade after every use. Also, make sure you don’t use any products immediately afterwards - they  might irritate the newly sensitive skin.”

Main Image: Prince Akachi


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Jacqueline Kilikita

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