You can find everything from silicone makeup blenders to vampire facials. (Kim Kardashian, we’re looking at you), it’s easy to lose count of the gimmicks, fads and trends that filter into the beauty sphere and back out again, but dermaplaning – using a sharper-than-sharp scalpel-like razor to shave your face of hairs and dead skin cells – is one craze that just won’t budge.

You might have seen some celebrities or beauty editors doing the same thing if you are active on Instagram. Their faces were then shaved and then retouched using all sorts of lotions, potions and tools. But why are people so obsessed? Is it right for you?

woman with blue and green paint on her face

What is dermaplaning? And what are its benefits?

“Dermaplaning is a physical form of exfoliation similar in theory to microdermabrasion,” says Dr. Jonquille Chantrey, a cosmetic surgeon and skin specialist. “It requires a surgical scalpel, which is not as frightening as it sounds, to gently shave the skin’s top, remove the dead skin, and remove any fine vellus hairs.”

The stuff we call “peach fizz” is basically the same thing. So, why all the fuss?

Dr. Chantrey continues, “Dermaplaning cleverly triggers cell regeneration process.” It can improve the appearance of acne scarring or hyperpigmentation. The effects of the procedure are immediate and leave your skin smooth and radiant. It results in silkier, healthier skin.”

It sounds amazing, but what are the cons?

According to dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, Dr. Anjali Mahto, for those with normal skin types, there are no specific cons, but as a woman who suffers with excessive facial hair (otherwise known as hirsutism thanks to polycystic ovaries, a hormonal condition that affects one in 10 women in the U.K.), I wasn’t as impressed with the finished result – and I really regretted it.

A flawless, smooth, and free of any fuzz was something I wanted to be a beauty journalist. However, after booking in for dermaplaning at the clinic of my choice, my sensitive (and sometimes spot-prone) skin became sore and unnervingly red. The tender, uncomfortable feeling that arose from the skin could take up to 48 hours to go away.

The sensitivity went away and I was able to enjoy the silky smooth texture of my skin. It had been clogged with baby hairs that would not allow my foundation to sit properly. While it is true that hair can grow thicker and darker after shave, it felt different. It was coarse and prickly because of its blunt ends. I had to constantly remove ingrown hairs.

I tried DIY shaving for months with a Tinkle razor, which was almost identical to the ones used in Dermaplaning. I saw stubbly spots and shadows under my skin. I couldn’t conceal them with three layers of concealer. I realized it wasn’t the right treatment for me. Dr. Anjali has more information.

“Those that [have] excess facial hair are better off having treatments such as regular waxing, threading or better still, laser hair removal,” she says. These treatments don’t permanently remove hair and may need to be maintained. However, I believe they are better than dermaplaning.

Should you avoid dermaplaning?

woman surrounded by sliced lemons

We have now established that dermaplaning may not be an effective way to remove hair, particularly for people with hormone imbalances. Dr. Anjali says that dermaplaning should be avoided if you have pigmentation or acne problems. They could get worse.

She advises that sensitive skin types might not be able to tolerate the procedure well. “Those with inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea or eczema should also avoid it.” Dr. Chantrey concurs: “Those with active skin conditions and vascular lesions might not be suitable for this procedure.”

Are you still interested? Meet with your technician before you book in. This will allow your skin to be evaluated. It is important to discuss with your technician how your skin will react.

Do it right if you are going to do it.

No, I’m not talking about shaving to a YouTube video (and there are hundreds). Professionals are the best, and I mean that every time. Dr. David Jack, a Harley Street-based dermatologist, knows more about dermaplaning. David Jack.

He says, “I do dermaplaning either alone or with skin peels. I call it my Egyptian Facial treatment.” The process of dermaplaning, which can be done once every six weeks, involves preparing the skin with antiseptic and then applying a light exfoliant to the skin. Finally, I gently shave the entire face using a sterilized surgical scalpel blade. I then apply a mixture of serums, and finish with a high-factor SPF. This is very important.

Dermaplaning is not a quick fix. Your skin will need some extra care after the procedure. It might be a good idea to overhaul your skin-care routine.

Dr. Jack says that dermaplaning exposes deeper layers of skin, which makes penetration of active ingredients much easier. This is a great time to add anti-aging products. A vitamin C or E serum should be used in the morning, followed by an SPF50 moisturizer. The downside to this is that your skin might be more sensitive. Retinol, which is vitamin A in its purest form, can be used in large quantities as a night cream.

He continued, “Usually the skin will look a little reddened and dry for about a day, but it usually looks its finest a few days later.”

Are you a little bit scared? There are other ways to get your skin glowing

We’ve already touched on hair removal but if the thought of taking a scalpel to your face sends chills down your spine, there are other ways to attain luminosity. Dr. Anjali says that regular use of AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), and retinoids, among other skincare products, can help exfoliate well.

Recently launched, Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold Rose is a gentler version of its sell-out sister, Liquid Gold, and harnesses glycolic acid to slough away dull surface cells, brightening and refining at the same time. Simply dip a cotton pad in the liquid and then swipe away.

We also have a look at NeoStrata’s Smooth Surface Daily Peel pads. The two-part package is packed with glycolic acid and includes handy dry pads as well as a 60ml travel-friendly solution. This improves skin texture, tone, and color. It is an AHA that can easily be used every day, unlike other AHAs.

And if you’re after even quicker results, pick up The Ordinary’s 2% Retinoid instead. This retinoid stimulates cell renewal at lightning speed, leaving you with radiant, clear skin. However, it is important to remember that AHA and retinoid use together can cause irritation. And whatever you do, don’t choose an exfoliator containing beads or crystals as they could potentially tear skin. Ouch.

Dr. Jack concludes, “I think that is the greatest thing about dermaplaning. It is a clean exfoliation that doesn’t involve scratching.”

Are you brave enough?

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