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What is dermaplaning and is it actually safe to shave your face at home?

By Malavika Pradeep

Aug 1, 2021

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It’s 2021 and gen Z interests are more dynamic than ever. With dynamic interests come dynamic trends which, in turn, creates one of the most unpredictable markets to cater to. Presently gripping 3 a.m. satisfying videos on YouTube after food slimes is a cosmetic procedure guaranteed to make your skin smoother than a baby’s butt.

What is dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is a cosmetic procedure that removes the top layers of your skin using a surgical scalpel. The procedure gently scrapes away dead skin cells and facial hair (often referred to as ‘peach fuzz’) to reveal softer skin which is even in both tone and texture. In this regard, dermaplaning works as a physical exfoliant to remove barriers to effective skincare routines, meaning your serums would penetrate deeper than ever before. It also creates a smooth canvas for flawless makeup application.

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Also known as microplaning and blading, dermaplaning is recommended for those looking to make their skin more youthful and even. Each 30-minute session can run between $150 and $250 depending on your location and provider. You may also be advised to add a chemical peel to your treatment. This is because your skin will be able to deeply absorb and benefit from a chemical peel right after dermaplaning in a way it can’t at other times. A chemical peel can cost an additional $150 to $300.

However, results only last until your peach fuzz decides to grow back. Dermatologists also recommend leaving a gap of one month between appointments. Patients with sensitive skin can even limit their treatments to one session per season.

This begs the question, is there an ‘ideal candidate’ for the procedure? What about the downtime suggested for recovery? “Those with active acne, infection or cold sores in the areas of concern should avoid dermaplaning,” said Doctor Jonquille Chantrey, cosmetic surgeon and founder of ØNE aesthetic studiø. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Doctor Chantrey explained how dermaplaning may trigger the further spread of infections that can sometimes cause inflammation, pigmentation and permanent scarring.

Another reason to steer clear of the procedure, she explained, is “if this was used on darker hair in a patient with medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovaries Disease (who suffer from excess hair). Misuse could lead to potential worsening of hair growth.”

Unlike most cosmetic procedures, however, dermaplaning requires no downtime for recovery. The procedure is not invasive but superficial, remember? You may experience redness for two to three days after dermaplaning. You may also notice your skin looking super bright immediately after you’re finished with the treatment, but it takes a few days to appreciate the full results. As the redness subsides, you’ll be able to see the results more clearly.

Although there is no downtime required, experts stress on the need for proper hydration and sun protection post-treatment. Removing the top layer of your skin essentially makes it a moving target for harmful sun rays. So make sure to use SPF diligently afterwards.

Is it possible to dermaplane your face at home?

If you are someone camping out on BeautyTok, chances are that you must have already tried dermaplaning your face in the dorms with your roommate holding up a flashlight. With more than 1 billion views on #dermaplaning and 60 million on #dermaplane, the trend is kind of hard to breeze past.

With “My acne could never,” as the copypasta comment across the hashtag, dermaplaning videos on TikTok usually feature users effortlessly gliding a blade across their skin to tame their peach fuzz. Almost makes you believe that you could pull it off. Well, you can. But there are major downsides to the treatment if it’s not carried out properly.

“Over the last two years, I have treated scarring cases of patients who have seen trained practitioners for dermaplaningbut the scalpel was caught on hair and even dragged on the skin, leading to some permanent scarring,” said Doctor Chantrey. “Even with a guard it could lead to some damage if not carried out carefully.”

If you are an ‘ideal candidate’ for the procedure with a steady hand and heart, however, it all boils down to the tools that you want to use at home. “In a professional office setting, such as a dermatologist office or medical spa, the treatment is performed by a licensed aesthetician using a surgical blade that you can only purchase with a license,” said Rachel Roff, licensed esthetician and founder of Urban Skin RX. In an interview with Elle, Roff explained how professional-grade blades give deeper exfoliation that clients wouldn’t get when they perform it themselves.

However, a close second is the list of dermaplaning tools that you can purchase online. Make sure to invest in a quality dermaplaning tool and a cleanser to remove all the excess oil and dirt from your face before the treatment. And once you’re armed with both, grab some paper towels and join me as I guide you through the process.

1. Double-cleanse and prep your face

Before committing to the treatment, it’s essential to start with a nice and clean base. We want to keep infections to a minimum here. If you have makeup on, make sure to remove it using an oil or water-based cleanser. Most dermatologists suggest double-cleaning your face and then following up with toner after. Pat your skin dry and proceed.

2. Optional lubrication

An optional step before going in with the purchased hardware is to lubricate your face. This essentially helps the blade slide across your skin for a smoother and closer shave. Aloe vera gels are the most popular choice in this regard. Avoid slathering on the product, a generous amount is more than enough to do wonders.

3. Wield your blade

Take your blade in one hand and hold your skin taut with the other. Now place the blade at a 45-degree angle to your skin and start shaving in short, feathery strokes upward. Continue until you have covered the cheek and jawline area on both sides. Now repeat on the lip, chin, nose, forehead and neck, avoiding your brows, eyes and mouth. Avoid going over the same patch of skin twice and make sure to wipe off the debris on some tissues or towels. I can’t stress this enough but let’s do our best to minimise infections here, okay?

4. Follow and finish up

Once you’re done and dusted with the hard part, it’s time to pamper your skin a bit before heading out. SPF is crucial here. Apply generous amounts, follow up with some moisturiser and slay your makeup as usual. Oh, and make sure to toss that blade on your way out!

@estefisaavy

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♬ original sound - David Lawson