What Is Dermaplaning? And Should You Actually be Shaving Your Face?

So long, peach fuzz

what is dermaplaning universal: a woman getting her face dermaplaned
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If you've spent any time on the internet over the last few years, you've probably come across at least one video of a perky influencer extolling the virtues of dermaplaning—or shaving their faces. And if you're wondering if it really is the secret to softer, clearer-looking skin, allow us to fill you in on the details.

Meet the Experts

  • Dr. Sheilagh Maguiness is a board-certified pediatric dermatologist and the co-founder of skincare brand, Stryke Club. She is also an associate professor in the department of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
  • Dr. Joyce Park is a board-certified dermatologist based in Washington, the founder of virtual dermatology clinic Skin Refinery and a content creator and educator at Tea with MD and all of its associated social media channels. She attended college and medical school at Stanford University, and completed her dermatology residency at NYU.

First of All, What Is Dermaplaning?

Simply put, "Dermaplaning involves using a razor blade at an angle to shave and exfoliate your face," explains Dr. Maguiness. "It removes the fine vellus hairs on the face (aka peach fuzz), along with a small amount of the stratum corneum (the top layer of your skin) and, in doing do, can give the immediate appearance of clearer, glowing skin."

What Are the Benefits of Dermaplaning?

  • Skin will feel smoother to the touch
  • Removes dead skin cells
  • Allows for a smoother application of makeup

Are There Any Downsides to Dermaplaning?

"This practice is mostly safe for those with normal skin, and if done correctly, with a sterile blade in a controlled setting like a dermatologist’s office," says Dr. Maguiness. "However, for those with acne, rosacea, eczema or other skin concerns, shaving your face might lead to irritation and abrasions, even a staph infection, so please consider talking to your doctor before attempting this at home," she adds.

Other things to consider for before dermaplaning: make sure you don't have any small cuts or scrapes that could increase the risk of infection, and if you're sunburnt or have any open or active sores on your face, please hold off and consult your doctor before proceeding.

What’s the Process of Dermaplaning Like?

A skilled aesthetician or dermatologist will gently sweep a sharp, sterile No. 10 surgical blade over dry skin at a 45-degree angle. The whole procedure can take anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how much peach fuzz you have to begin with and it's usually offered as an add-on to another facial treatment (though some places offer it as a standalone service).

How Should I Care for My Skin After Dermaplaning?

As is the case after any exfoliating procedure or treatment, you want to take extra care to protect your skin from the sun (always, but especially after something like dermaplaning, which can make your skin more photosensitive). To keep your freshly dermaplaned skin protected, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF30 before heading outside.

Will Dermaplaning Cause My Hair to Grow Back Thicker?

Despite what we’ve been told—that shaving anything would cause the hair to grow back thicker and darker—that’s typically not the case with dermaplaning. Since the blade shaves the ends off the fine hairs, nothing happens to the follicles themselves, so hair growth shouldn't be affected.

Any There Are Downsides to Dermaplaning?

If done right (that is, using a sterile blade on healthy skin, ideally by a trained professional), you shouldn't experience anything more than a little bit of redness and possibly some irritation immediately following, but it normally subsides within a few hours.

Any larger consequences (i.e., infection or scarring) would come from not using a properly disinfected or sterile blade or not following the proper technique, which we'll walk you through next.

How to Dermaplane (Safely) At Home

Again, we'll reiterate that, if you can, please see a professional for an in-office treatment if possible—especially if this is your first time dermaplaning.

That said, we know there are lots of dermaplaning tools on the market that are made for at-home use (and not everyone has the budget for or proximity to a board-certified dermatologist or trained aesthetician), so we'll share some of Dr. Park's best practices to keep in mind if you decide to DIY.

  1. Prep: Wash your hands, then wash your face and pat skin dry.
  2. Plane: Unwrap a fresh blade. Holding the blade at a 45-degree angle, pull the skin taut, and make small strokes, using very gentle pressure.
  3. Pamper: Afterward, apply a hydrating, non-comedogenic moisturizer. Avoid potentially irritating ingredients such as retinol for a few days afterwards, and don't forget the sunscreen when you're heading outside.
  4. Post-care: Make sure to clean your dermaplaning tool before and after use (or toss out, if it's a single-use blade).

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