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Dermaplaning: What to Know About This Soft Skin Treatment

While men have gotten a straight razor face shave at their local barber for centuries, now everyone can benefit from baby smooth skin with a popular – and effective – skin treatment called dermaplaning.

Dermaplaning is somewhat like shaving your face, only there’s a scalpel and not a straight razor and it removes a heck a lot more than just your peach fuzz. It can get rid of all those dead skin layers you have hanging out on your face.

Nowadays, you can’t scroll through your social feed without seeing something about it. Hollywood stars rave about dermaplaning and YouTube Influencers swear by it, but does it really work?

If you’ve been stuck at home during the pandemic and slacked a bit on your skincare routine, your face probably could use a little pampering. Before pulling the trigger on a professional appointment, Brynne Livingston, a dermatology physician assistant at Banner Health Center, in Sun City West, AZ, helps explain what you should know about this soft skin treatment.

What is dermaplaning?

Yes, there is a scalpel involved with dermaplaning, but it’s not as scary (or invasive!) as you might think.

“Dermaplaning is a way to mechanically remove the outer damaged, dead layer of the skin using a blade or scalpel and can be safe and effective when performed by a trained medical professional or licensed esthetician,” Livingston said. “It is often done to improve the appearance and texture of the skin, remove peach fuzz hair and to increase the efficacy of the products used in a quality skincare regimen.”

At your appointment, a doctor or esthetician will gently pull your skin tightly and will lightly glide a surgical blade in an upward motion using short, delicate strokes. Typically, the treatment can be done in less than half-an-hour, unless you are doing it as a part of a facial or chemical peel.

What are the benefits of dermaplaning?

“One of the main benefits of dermaplaning over other methods of exfoliation is that there is little to no downtime after the treatment,” Livingston said.

The results are pretty instantaneous too. You’ll immediately have softer, smoother, brighter and more radiant appearing skin. The treatment will also temporarily remove facial hair or peach fuzz, which can harbor dirt and oil, and you may possibly see a reduction in sun damange, acne scarring and fine lines and wrinkles. With the peach fuzz and dead skin gone, your foundation will also go on smoother and “your skincare products will penetrate deeper and be more effective,” Livingston said.

How is it different from a chemical peel or microdermabrasion?

Chemical peels use chemicals and enzymes to exfoliate the skin, which results in a physical peeling process that can take five days or more to complete. Unlike chemical peels, dermaplaning doesn’t require any additional products or chemicals and has no downtime. “However, dermaplaning can prepare the skin to be followed by a chemical peel for more dramatic and visible results,” Livingston said.

Microdermabrasion is a mechanical method of exfoliation like dermaplaning but uses a diamond or crystal tip technology and a gentle suction to clean out the pores. “The exfoliation is more aggressive than dermaplaning which helps to remove debris but does not remove the peach fuzz hair on the face,” Livingston said. “It can also result in more temporary redness and discomfort than dermaplaning.”

Who should avoid it?

In the right hands, dermaplaning is safe for most skin types. But like with any procedure, it isn’t without some potential risks or side effects.

“Some people may experience some redness or irritation, small cuts or nicks on the skin and small bumps or whiteheads, but usually the side effects are minimal and temporary,” Livingston said. “In some cases, however, more severe complications like skin infections or scarring are possible.”

If you are experiencing an acne flare up or rosacea breakout, have a sunburn or an inflammatory skin condition, like psoriasis, you may want to consider another treatment option as dermaplaning can “further inflame and irritate the skin,” Livingston said.

Dermaplaning can also leave skin more sensitive and prone to burning, so don’t forget to apply a moisturizer with SPF after your session to both hydrate and protect the skin from sunburn.

How much is it going to cost me?

Like with microdermabrasion and many other cosmetic treatments, costs can vary, depending on where you live and the type of facility you go to—but can range from the tens to hundreds of dollars. Results aren’t permanent but typically last up to a month, which may be a bit cost-prohibitive for some.

Don’t try it at home

With the pandemic, sales of dermaplaning devices have skyrocketed, but is it really something safe to do at home? Probably not. Using a razor or another Amazon gadget you find won’t be as sharp or effective as the medical-grade scalpel. Plus, it could be quite dangerous. “Attempting to treat yourself at home can increase your risk for side effects like nicks and cuts, skin infections and scarring,” Livingston said.

Instead of taking a “stab” at it at home, see a licensed and experienced esthetician, dermatologist or plastic surgeon who has the experience, sterile tools and clean environment to help you put your best, softest skin forward.

To find a Banner Health dermatologist or medical specialist skilled in skin treatments, visit bannerhealth.com.

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