STACKEDSKINCARE, SCHICK, SEPHORA
If you don’t like the look and feel of peach fuzz on your face or are searching for an exfoliating treatment, dermaplaning may be for you. The procedure, traditionally done by professionals, involves removing hair and cells from the outermost layer of skin on the face using a sharp blade. Yes, it’s pretty much just shaving your face. However, with the best dermaplaning tools, there are major perks.
“At first thought, the idea of shaving your face may not seem like a fantastic idea, but the more you think about it, the benefits are there,” explains Rachel Nazarian, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group. “The hair is gone, your skin feels soft, everything you apply afterwards goes on smoothly.”
Meet the experts: Vanessa Coppola, APN-C, FNP-BC, a board-certified and licensed family nurse practitioner and the founder of Bare Aesthetic; Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York; Lian A. Mack, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York; and Rachel Nazarian, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group.
Dermaplaning provides physical exfoliation by removing the top layer of skin. It also removes vellus hair (aka peach fuzz). When done properly and safely, the procedure reveals smoother, brighter skin. Not only does the treatment give your skin a fresh glow, but it may also help with the absorption of topical skin care products and the application of makeup.
It’s become more popular in recent years in part thanks to the prevalence of social media, according to Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. “In the era of filters, people are trying to get their skin to look and feel as smooth as possible,” she says.
The service is offered by licensed professionals, but you can also buy dermaplaning tools to use for yourself at home.
For those interested in giving the skincare technique a try at home, there are many dermaplaning tools available to buy online. Here are some of the best options, according to the pros.
How to choose the best dermaplaning tool
Consider the blade type. “It’s important to use a tool that is gentle, easy to use, making sure it is easy to manipulate to get into all of the crevices on the face,” says Dr. Garshick. “For beginners, it is especially important to see if the blade offers a safety mechanism to minimize cuts or irritation,” she adds.
Prioritize safety features. “You want to make sure the blade is either a safety blade or an electric version to reduce potential risk of injury,” says Coppola. “Most have skin microguards to prevent cutting your skin, and this is an obvious non-negotiable,” adds Dr. Nazarian. “A simple blade is way too risky to use.”
Ensure you can clean the device. “Make sure to read about the ways in which the device can be cleaned,” says Coppola. “It’s very important for hygienic purposes both to reduce the possibility of introducing an infection to the skin or spreading an infection on the skin.”
Look for replaceable blades. Replaceable blades are helpful for proper hygiene, says Coppola. “I like the ones that are disposable and come with a precision cover for harder-to-treat areas of the face,” adds Dr. Nazarian.
“First, it is important to cleanse the skin and rinse away buildup, dirt, makeup residue,” explains Dr. Garshick. “Then, using the dermaplaning tool, make sure to keep the skin taut, use short strokes, and keep it at a 45-degree angle in the direction of the hair growth,” she continues.
It’s also important to make sure the skin is dry before you use a tool, says Coppola. “At-home devices will vary in terms of their technique and orientation as to whether the blade is electric or mechanical, and the direction that you will proceed it,” she explains. “In general, you want to start from the center of the face and work your way out towards the lateral or outer aspects of the skin. You want to proceed in one direction and utilize a very light touch with minimal to no pressure.”
When you’re done, apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer and sunscreen for best results, recommends Dr. Garshick. You should also avoid potentially irritating products, such as retinol or retinoids immediately following the procedure, according to Coppola.
Do dermatologists suggest dermaplaning at home?
While the dermatologists we spoke to agree that dermaplaning has many skin benefits, they note that dermaplaning at home is not for everyone.
“The best way to have a safe and effective treatment is by visiting a licensed professional,” says Dr. Mack, who explains that many at-home tools have abrasive blades and a patient could cut their face if they don’t use them properly.
True dermaplaning may be best left to the pros, but “there are at home devices that do remove vellus hair and are typically safe to use at home, provided individuals follow common sense guidelines,” says Coppola. You’ll also want to make sure you’re comfortable using a tool before trying this skincare trend at home, adds Dr. Garshick.
What is the downside of facial dermaplaning?
“Outside of mild irritation and associated redness, there is no downtime if the procedure is done correctly,” says Dr. Mack. “If performed incorrectly, patients may develop cuts or abrasions, which may in certain skin types cause irritation. If the skin is not cleaned thoroughly, infection is a risk,” she adds.
“This is not a trend for everyone because it really requires continuous maintenance,” says Dr. Nazarian. On the flip side, dermaplaning too frequently can cause irritation and inflammation of the skin, says Coppola. It could also cause an active acne outbreak or skin infection to worsen.
“The idea that your hair grows back darker after removing the peach fuzz with a razor or scalpel is a myth,” says Dr. Mack.
Still, Dr. Nazarian points out that hair thins naturally the longer you’ve had it due to normal wear of the follicle. “Every time you shave your hair, the new hair that grows out will appear thicker—being in its most natural state—as it has not been worn down or thinned out yet.”
Is dermaplaning safe?
Experts say dermaplaning is a relatively safe procedure for those with all skin types, especially when done by a professional. However, there is a risk of cutting the skin from dermaplaning at home.
Additionally, if you have sensitive skin or inflammatory conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, you may want to skip this trend. It’s also not recommended for those taking Accutane or a high-dose retinol or retinoids. Lastly, if you have an active acne outbreak or skin infection, such as cold sore, you should avoid dermaplaning.
Benefits of dermaplaning
Dermaplaning removes the uppermost layer of skin, which is known as the stratum corneum, explains Coppola. This layer normally self-exfoliates every 28 to 36 days, but dermaplaning accelerates cell turnover. The result for many is brighter, smoother, softer skin.
By removing this layer of skin, topical skin care products may more effectively penetrate the skin. “This can help deliver topical to where they are needed most in the dermis and help boost their results,” says Coppola. Similarly, it can allow for easier, smoother makeup application, Dr. Garshick adds.
The procedure may even improve the appearance of acne scars for some, according to Dr. Mack . Plus, it’s a non-invasive vellus hair removal option, she points out.
Note: At-home dermaplaning tools typically only remove vellus hair from the skin, rather than removing the stratum corneum, which is necessary for true exfoliation, according to Coppola.
How we chose the best dermaplaning tools
We consulted Vanessa Coppola, APN-C, FNP-BC, a board-certified and licensed family nurse practitioner and the founder of Bare Aesthetic; Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York; Lian A. Mack, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York; and Rachel Nazarian, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group to learn what to look for in an at-home dermaplaning tool. We also read through tons of online reviews from real people who’ve given the tools a try.