If you enjoy scrolling through skincare and beauty trend videos on social media (like us), you have probably already seen a few posts about dermaplaning. The in-office skincare procedure is a popular method for getting smooth skin fast. Involving the removal of hair on the skin’s surface using a specific scalpal, dermaplaning can lead to a brighter-looking complexion.
“Dermaplaning makes the skin smoother, softer, and brighter. It can help reveal healthy skin beneath dead skin cell layers. It also helps improve the penetration of skincare products and preps the skin for additional procedures like lasers and peels,” says Brendan Camp, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with MDCS Dermatology in New York.
With more than 1.8 million Instagram posts tagged #dermaplaning, ranging from videos of the procedure to before and after photos, this skincare procedure has gained major popularity among beauty enthusiasts.
Ahead, experts share everything you need to know about dermaplaning, including how much it costs and how to care for skin post-procedure.
What is dermaplaning and how does it work?
“Dermaplaning is a procedure in which the skin is manually exfoliated to remove dead skin buildup and fine hairs. It’s different from shaving because the intent is to improve the appearance of the skin as opposed to the removal of hair,” says Dr. Camp.
“Dermaplaning uses a sharp No. 10 surgical blade (a larger, fatter surgical blade) held at a 45-degree angle to gently scrape the outer layer of the skin which consists of dull, dead skin cells,” explains Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology in New York.
“At the appointment, a doctor or aesthetician will gently pull your skin tightly and lightly while gliding the blade in an upward motion using delicate, feathering strokes,” explains Alix J. Charles, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Illinois.
Dermaplaning usually takes 10 to 20 minutes and can be done as a stand-alone option or as part of a facial.
How much does dermaplaning cost?
The cost of dermaplaning may vary based on various factors including the type of provider (aesthetician or dermatologist), your location, and the number of treatments needed.
“On average, prices range between $100-$150. Results last around three to four weeks. That is because the cycle of life of skin cells is about 28 days,” explains Dr. Camp. One thing to note: dermaplaning isn't typically covered by insurance and is charged per session.
What are the benefits of dermaplaning?
“First, your skin will feel seriously smooth and look super even thanks to a solid exfoliation,” says Dr. Levin. Still, this procedure isn’t exactly a wonder cure for your skin. While some experts are curious about whether or not dermaplaning could improve how well creams and serums are absorbed into the skin (which should, in turn, boost their benefits), its effect on product absorption isn’t 100% clear, says Dr. Levin. Furthermore, “claims that dermaplaning can stimulate collage or improve pigmentation have not been proven,” says Dr. Levin.
But if you’re simply looking for a great exfoliating treatment—and want something manual versus chemical (like a face peel)—the procedure is a great alternative. “Dermaplaning is a great exfoliating option for all skin types. This makes it stand out against laser resurfacing and peels, which may not be suitable for all skin types,” says Dr. Camp. “It’s also a good option for pregnant women or people with sensitive skin who are not able to use certain products.”
How to prep your skin for dermaplaning
To get the best results, experts recommend prepping your skin properly before the procedure. “Inspect your skin for cuts or scrapes. The skin should be healthy and free of any injuries that may increase the risk of infection. Some folks also prefer to avoid exfoliants or other skincare products that may make the skin more fragile, such as acne retinoids, a few days before the procedure,” says Dr. Camp.
You should hold off on dermaplaning if you have a tan, sunburn, active acne, a flaring rosacea breakout, or an inflammatory skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, says Dr. Levin, as the procedure can worsen these issues. “If you have a lot of deep acne scarring, you also want to be careful with dermaplaning since there may be an easier chance of nicking your skin during the procedure,” says Dr. Charles.
Is dermaplaning safe and are there any side effects?
While it might be taking over social media, dermaplaning isn’t necessarily new—it’s been around for decades and is generally safe if done correctly, says Dr. Levin. The person you visit for dermaplaning should use a sterile blade that you see being removed from a sterile pouch to avoid potential skin irritation or infection. If you’re worried about this, you might want to consider a board-certified dermatologist over an aesthetician.
As for those tiny hairs that dermaplaning does away with? Many patients worry that they’ll result in stubble after the procedure. “In theory, your facial hairs shouldn’t grow back thicker, says Kavita Mariwalla, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. “But just like with laser hair removal, there can be unexpected cases of hair darkening and perceived thickening—especially around the sideburns and chin area,” she says.
Have areas of hair that you pluck? “Avoid dermaplaning there as this will act as if you are shaving the area,” says Dr. Mariwalla, meaning there’s a chance the hair could grow back thicker.
Lastly, let your dermatologist know if you have a history of cold sores since dermaplaning can re-activate them (anything that irritates the skin can reactivate the virus responsible for cold sores), Dr. Levin says. If you tell them beforehand, your doc can give you an antiviral to prevent outbreaks.
What to do right after dermaplaning
“It’s important to protect your skin from the sun right after a dermaplaning procedure, as it can make the skin more photosensitive,” warns Dr. Camp. In need of a new sunscreen? Check out our roundup featuring the best sunscreens for every skin type. Experts also recommend avoiding the use of makeup for up to 24 hours after a procedure.
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