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

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Stylist Beauty Team
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Dermaplaning, a fast-track treatment to a better complexion, has taken the beauty industry by storm. We walk you through this unusual exfoliation technique.

Between environmental aggressors, like pollution and free radicals, and dull complexions, more and more of us are looking to incorporate different methods of skin exfoliation into our beauty regimes.

Physical exfoliants can be harsh on skin, while overusing acids can cause irritation. If you aren’t keen on either, 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 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, £18.

Is dermaplaning safe?

Dermaplaning is a safe skin treatment, but Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at Skin55, 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 Dr 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, £8.98. 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.

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