Dermaplaning: Fast facts
- Dermaplaning is a cosmetic procedure that removes the top layers of your skin. The procedure aims to remove fine wrinkles and deep acne scarring, as well as make the skin’s surface look smooth.
- Dermaplaning is safe for most people, with little risk of side effects when it’s performed by a certified dermatologist.
- This procedure doesn’t require any downtime for recovery, which makes it extremely convenient. The most difficult part may be finding a trained provider who can administer this treatment.
- Dermaplaning isn’t covered by insurance, and sessions can run between $150 and $250 each.
- Dermatologists say this treatment is effective for people looking to make their skin appear more youthful, smooth, and bright, but results typically only last three weeks.
Dermaplaning is a skin treatment that uses an exfoliating blade to skim dead skin cells and hair from your face. It’s also called microplaning or blading.
Dermaplaning aims to make your skin’s surface smooth, youthful, and radiant. This treatment claims to remove deep scarring from acne and uneven pockmarks on your skin. It’s also used to remove “peach fuzz,” the short, soft hairs on your face.
Dermaplaning can be used for any skin type and anyone with:
- acne scars
- dull skin
- dry skin
- sun-damaged skin
- fine wrinkles
Dermaplaning isn’t covered by insurance, and treatments are charged per session.
Costs per session may vary depending on the cost of living in your area and the provider you choose. Get a cost estimate before you book your appointment, but be prepared to spend up to $250 on one 30-minute session of dermaplaning.
You may be advised to add a chemical peel to your dermaplaning treatment. Right after dermaplaning, your skin is able to deeply absorb and benefit from a chemical peel in a way it can’t at other times. A chemical peel can cost an additional $150 to $300.
There’s little to no downtime required after a dermaplaning treatment. You won’t need to take time off from work, and you may even be able to fit it in during your lunch break.
How it works
If you look at the tool used for dermaplaning treatments, you may notice it looks like a razor you would use on your body hair.
The basic concept of dermaplaning is the same as shaving. By aiming a sterile blade at a 45-degree angle and dragging it slowly across your skin, you remove dead cells, scar tissue, and other debris that may be making your skin’s surface look uneven.
Your skin is exposed daily to harsh environmental toxins, irritants, and sun damage. This can cause the top layer of your skin to appear dull, and it can make you look aged. Dermaplaning clears away those damaged skin cells so newer skin cells are what you see when you look in the mirror.
Reports on how effective dermaplaning is are mostly anecdotal. Everyone has different results, and it’s hard to objectively quantify whether the treatment is a success or not.
During a dermaplaning procedure, you shouldn’t feel any pain. You may feel a tingling sensation during the treatment.
First, you’ll lie down on your provider’s chair in a clean, comfortable room. Sedation options may be available, and these often include a numbing spray or local anesthesia combined with an oral sedative or rarely general anesthesia.
After you’re relaxed, your provider will use an electronic or manual dermaplaning tool to scrape over your skin at a 45-degree angle. This will continue for 20 to 30 minutes, on average, as your provider gently works to exfoliate the skin.
After the treatment is finished, your provider will soothe your skin with a substance like aloe. They will also apply sunscreen to protect your face.
Risks and side effects
Dermaplaning is a low-risk procedure. Side effects may include slight redness in your face in the hours after getting the treatment. Some people develop whiteheads on their skin in the day or two after dermaplaning.
Infection and scarring are rare after dermaplaning, but they do occur. If you develop a scar from dermaplaning, your doctor may need to treat the scar tissue with a steroid injection to soften the scar tissue.
Another possible side effect is a patchy skin pigment in the area where you have the procedure, which may decrease or disappear as time goes on.
What to expect
You don’t need to plan any downtime to recover from a dermaplaning treatment. You may experience redness or feel like your skin is scraped in the two or three days right after the procedure.
You may notice that your skin looks brighter immediately after you’re finished with a dermaplaning treatment, but it often takes a few days to appreciate the full results. As any redness subsides, you’ll be able to see the results more clearly in the days afterward.
Results of dermaplaning aren’t permanent. The procedure claims to clear away up to three weeks’ worth of dead skin cells. After three weeks to a month, your results will have faded.
After a dermaplaning treatment, you’ll need to be extra careful about sun exposure. Sun damage could reverse the effects of dermaplaning, or create pigment blotches on your freshly uncovered skin cells. In the weeks after a dermaplaning treatment, don’t leave the house without wearing sunscreen on your face.
Before and after pictures
Here’s an example of one person’s results with dermaplaning treatments:
Preparing for dermaplaning
Before you have a dermaplaning treatment, you’ll need to have a conversation with your provider. Your medical history, skin type, and skin coloring will be discussed, as well as the results you want.
If you have an active acne flare-up, you may need to reschedule your appointment to avoid irritating your skin further or tearing your skin’s surface.
You’ll also need to avoid direct sun exposure in the week prior to your appointment, as sun damage, such as a sunburn, could compromise your skin and make the treatment painful.
Is it safe to do at home?
You can purchase the tool that’s used in dermaplaning and perform the procedure on yourself. But giving yourself a dermaplaning treatment may not yield the results that you’re hoping for, and there are some risks.
Anecdotally, the risk of infection, complications, and experiencing pain during home dermaplaning is higher when you do it yourself.
An exfoliating tool used for dermaplaning may be called a razor, an exfoliator, a beauty wand, or an exfoliation system. You can use any of these products to do your own dermaplaning.
Dermaplaning vs. microdermabrasion
Dermaplaning and microdermabrasion are both exfoliating skin treatments that claim to soothe your skin.
While dermaplaning uses a knife’s edge to remove dead skin cells, microdermabrasion “sands down” your skin using an abrasive surface. Fine particles may be directed at your face in a blast of air, or a special tool may make contact with your skin directly to exfoliate skin cells.
Both procedures are similar in their:
- possible side effects and complications
- out-of-pocket costs
Microdermabrasion tends to involve several rounds of treatments, with results that can last several months.
If you’re deciding between these two procedures, your best bet is to speak with a dermatologist who can advise you based on what kind of results you’re expecting.
How to find a provider
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has a website where you can search for licensed plastic surgeons who can perform dermaplaning.
You can also call your dermatologist’s office to ask if they do dermaplaning, and if not, request a referral.