What is dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning: think face-shaving but with either a specifically designed and safe device to use at home or, for a deeper treatment, a surgical-grade scalpel in the steady hand of a qualified practitioner. Either way, it is absolutely not a quick fix done with a disposable razor. As a chemical-free form of exfoliation, the specialist blade is scraped over your skin surface to gently remove the dead surface cells and that little layer of peach-fuzz facial hair, leaving the skin ultra-smooth, fresh and glowing. Plus, when you apply your makeup afterwards, you’ll find it goes on as smoothly as silk, which is why dermaplaning is in such demand as a pre-event treatment.
DIY dermaplaning at home
Not to be confused with face shaving, I only recommend doing this with a proper, reputable dermaplaning device – and though only developed four years ago, the Dermaflash does come with a ‘pedigree’ of 22 years of in-spa dermaplaning experience. Used on clean, cream-free skin, it feels – and even sounds – quite scratchy. But, once I have mastered the right technique (keep the device at 45 degrees to the skin, hold the skin taut and use small, feathery strokes), it is quick, easy and fuss-free to do. I quickly see little clusters of my peach fuzz floating in the air. More surprising is seeing exactly how much dead skin and hair is removed on the safety blade, given my extensive daily skincare regimen and twice-weekly peels.
What I like about this device is that it is pretty impossible to get it wrong; it only removes the very top layer of dead skin cells that makes the face look dull and accentuates fine lines – I even notice some of my pigmentation looks lighter. Immediately after my DIY treatment, I use my usual Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hydrating Serum and Augustinus Bader’s The Cream, but the difference is incredible. My skin is literally glowing with a dewy finish that lasts long after the skincare has sunk in. It’s like my skin is super polished, naturally highlighted and, without the fuzzy felt finish of baby hairs and layers of dead cells, it reflects every shaft of light. And this lit-from-within skin effect lasts for a good few days.
The whole procedure is not nearly as invasive, or probably as transformative, as the in-clinic treatment, as it doesn’t remove as much – I prefer to leave that level of treatment in the steady hands of a doctor. But as an at-home treatment, done once a week or every 10 days, it is a great addition to my skin regimen – and I now always follow it with a mask, ampoule or more potent product. I now genuinely look forward to using the Dermaflash, as it leaves my skin so glossy and smooth. Two months on and those baby hairs have not grown back thicker or darker (which is apparently the question most asked about dermaplaning), plus, makeup goes on like a dream and I’m sure my skin is less dry, which might be as a result of my products being better absorbed.
How does at-home dermaplaning compare to an in-clinic treatment?
Again, as there is no oil or cream used during a dermaplaning treatment, the blade does feel dry and scratchy, and as a clinic treatment works deeper, my skin is left red and a little bit sore. To counter this, I used a richer, soothing cream for a couple of days afterwards. Although some women claim to have this treatment on the day of an event, based on my personal experience, I wouldn’t recommend this level of dermaplaning on the same day as a special occasion. That’s definitely where the less invasive at-home Dermaflash can work better.
My skin is not sensitive, but it still took a couple of days to show the glowy benefits, rather than the post-scalpel redness. Also, I’m pleased I chose Dr David Jack in London’s Harley Street (whose clinic offers an Egyptian Facial dermaplaning treatment). Not only has he dermaplaned for eight years, but, as a plastic surgeon, I trust the scalpel in his experienced and steady hand. “It’s basically a chemical-free exfoliation,” he tells me, as the blade deftly scrapes away layers of faux tan and dead skin from my dry forehead. “Unless you have very sensitive skin, I combine dermaplaning with a peel, as it’s easier to lift off the dead cells. Also, I can create a bespoke treatment, using lactic acid for dry skin, mandelic for pigmentation or azelaic for rosacea.”
The benefits of dermaplaning
1. It removes the dead surface cells and facial hair that can trap oils and dirt, leaving the skin ultra-smooth, fresh and glowing.
2. Not only does it help product penetrate and absorb deeper into the skin, but makeup goes on more smoothly afterwards.
3. Using vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and retinol post-treatment will be more effective and fast-track the results.
4. Combined with a peel, dermaplaning can lift dry, dead skin, reduce the appearance of pigmentation, and help diminish rosacea and acne scars.
5. Fine lines are softened and the skin texture is left more even.
6. Dermaplaning is suitable for all skin types – if you have active acne, a clinical treatment is better, as you will need professional advice.
Dermaplaning: Before and after in-clinic
Immediately after, my skin looks more red than glowing and it feels like I have a light sunburn for at least 24 hours – which is why I definitely wouldn’t recommend having this done on the day of an event. I suggest investing in a velvety, comforting face cream or an overnight mask to use after the treatment, which will act like a barrier. That said, my makeup does go on like a dream, as though I’ve used the best primer possible. And, with no peach-fuzz hair to make my skin look matte, it visibly glows as though I’ve just had an indulgent facial – not a five-minute face scrape – and it lasts. “The real benefit of dermaplaning is that any active products you use will be better absorbed. Using vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and retinol after your treatment can be particularly effective,” says Dr Jack. (I’d recommend using something potent and active like my favorite 15-day program of Royal Fern Phytoactive Ampoules, or the Sarah Chapman Radiance Recharge System, which uses a 10-day program of skincare ampoules.) After my dermaplaning treatment, it takes a couple of days for me to see the real benefits, but what stands out is an evenness of texture. Plus, I’m now hair-free and my skin has an incredible reflective glow to it. Ideally, in-clinic dermaplaning is supposed to be repeated every six weeks (every skin-renewal cycle), but I think I might want it more often than that – because having one’s face professionally ‘shaved’ is clearly the secret to amazing skin.