Dermaplaning: Everything you need to know

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We answer all the questions you have about the face-shaving treatment that leaves you fuzz-free and glowing.

There are so many skincare treatments at this point in time that it can be difficult to keep up with them all. One that has slipped relatively under the radar, only to have a massive resurgence over the past year or so, is dermaplaning.

Put simply, dermaplaning is an exfoliation technique that gently sloughs off dead skin cells and hair from the face to reveal radiant, smooth skin underneath. Interested? Before you say goodbye to your peach fuzz in the search for luminous skin, we've compiled all the information you want to know (but didn't want to ask) about this rather unusual beauty treatment.

What does dermaplaning involve?

Being greeted at your facial appointment with a surgical blade may not seem like the most relaxing beauty treatment in the world, but it isn't as scary as it seems. In place of you taking a blunt Gillette to the face to rid yourself of those pesky white hairs, a doctor or medical aesthetician will use a single blade to scrape off all hair follicles along with the dead upper layer of the epidermis. The scalpel does not enter into the skin at any point, but is used at a 45-degree angle to the skin and brushed back and forth. This process creates a stimulating effect which boosts your skin's production of collagen and allows for an even distribution of melanin. The end result of this is skin that is less pigmented and tighter in texture.

Dermaplaning is also usually accompanied by growth serums that include vitamin's A and C to boost and maintain the results of the procedure.

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What are the benefits of dermaplaning?

Ever notice your skin becoming dull and flaky in a way that not even the best moisturiser seems to be able to solve? You can blame a build-up of dead skin cells and microscopic hairs for your woes. When your aesthetician scrapes away your facial fluff and unwanted extra skin cells during dermaplaning, they're also helping to stop breakouts caused by clogged pores and hair follicles. The outcome is healthy, glowing skin and an even complexion.

The absence of peach fuzz will also massively improve your makeup game. If you've ever applied foundation or powder under bright lighting, you probably would have noticed how much more obvious those little hairs on your face become after the fact. Since the dermaplaning blade removes all excess hair, your makeup will apply seamlessly, leaving you with flawless-looking skin.

Zoe Foster Blake is an outspoken fan of the treatment, claiming that the experience left her skin looking a level above "retouched". The skincare entrepreneur took to Instagram to share her experience, saying, "Dermaplaning is exfoliating, brightening, skin-tone-evening, non-inflammatory (so: great for pigmentation sufferers), helps skincare penetrate better, and makes your skin freakishly smooth (because, um, it's hairless), meaning your make-up will sit PERFECTLY." Do you need anymore reasons? Honestly, sign us up.

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Who can get dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is one of those miracle treatments that seems to work equally well on almost all skin types. The great news for anyone with dry, dull, sun-damaged skin? You're an even better candidate for the treatment and are likely to have more noticeable results. If, like me, your skin turns red and sensitive at the mere thought of trying new skin procedures, you can also rejoice. As it is a non-invasive procedure, any redness caused is minimal and will disappear quickly. Only those with deep wrinkles or those who are suffering inflamed acne should avoid the treatment as the procedure uses a sharp scalpel which can aggravate the acne further. Best to wait until your complexion has cleared up a little before booking an appointment.

Another benefit of dermaplaning is that no chemicals are necessary for the treatment, making it safe for all clients, including those who are pregnant or have pre-exisiting medical conditions.

Where can you get it done?

While we are living in a DIY society and there are plenty of at-home options available, some things are better left to the experts. Remember, licensed professionals have access to special curved surgical scalpels and a sterile environment, lessening your chances of injury or infection.

For the best and safest results, dermaplaning should be performed by a doctor or medical aesthetician from a dermatology or cosmetic clinics, such as Sydney clinics Silkwood Medical or The Clinic. Both beauty clinics are very highly rated and are run by licensed professionals, so you know you're getting the safest treatment available.

How much does it cost?

Dermaplaning typically costs around $220 per treatment (prices based on The Clinic), but special package pricing is sometimes available for the purchase of multiple treatments. A hydrating mask and/or peel can usually be added to your treatment for an additional fee.

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How long does the treatment take and how long does it last?

Dermaplaning is a relatively quick procedure, taking around 45 minutes. The procedure removes around three weeks' worth of dead skin cells, meaning that your new-found glow should last around a month. After this time, you will need to book another appointment if you want to maintain the results. It is generally recommended that you get around 4–5 treatments in order to see optimal results, especially if you've never had an exfoliating treatment before.

Does dermaplaning hurt?

Unlike threading, waxing or laser, dermaplaning is pain-free. You may experience a tingling or tightening sensation, similar to that of regular shaving, but no pain. The treatment is extremely safe when performed by trained professionals. On rare occasions, slight nicks can occur in the skin, but the chances of that happening are fairly minimal.

Are there any side effects of the treatment?

Possibly the best part of dermaplaning is that there's almost downtime for the treatment. A small amount of redness can sometimes occur, but for the most part you can expect to go straight back to work after a lunchtime appointment with no embarrassing side effects. If any itching or redness does arise, a moisturiser or calming serum can be applied to alleviate the symptoms. Ask your aesthetician for product recommendations.

Will dermaplaning make hair grow back thicker?

Hair growing back thicker after shaving is one of the oldest beauty myths there is. While it may appear that way, the prickly unwanted guests are just growing back blunt-ended. This gives them a coarse texture, but rest assured, they aren't actually any thicker or darker than they were originally. In the same way, shaving your face will not stimulate more hair growth so you have nothing to fear from the treatment and the growth cycle of your hair will remain the same regardless.

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Will dermaplaning help with acne scars?

While dermaplaning is not specifically a treatment for scars, it can definitely help to minimise their look. Sometimes, when a pimple ruptures, the infected pore causes a deep break in the skin. This causes bacteria to spill out and come into contact with healthy skin, effectively damaging it. Collagen then goes into repair mode, but the collagen that forms after the damage is haphazard, which creates acne scarring. Dermaplaning skims the surface layer of the skin surrounding the deep scars, helping to reduce their appearance.

Be aware that dermaplaning is not suitable for those with active acne. As well as potentially aggravating the acne, the procedure can also lead to overactivity in the sebaceous glands. This leads to excess oil on your face which causes, you guessed it, more acne. If you're struggling with breakouts, it's best to speak with a skincare professional to determine the best treatment for you.

What precautions should you take before and after treatment?

There are no special requirements for dermaplaning, meaning you can exercise, shower and apply makeup as normal after a treatment. It is best to remove all makeup prior to your appointment, though.

Your medical aesthetician should warn you that your skin may be sensitive for three-to-five days after a dermaplaning treatment. During this time, you should not exfoliate, apply retinol or expose your skin to sun. The last point is especially important as many of us are guilty of being a little lax in the SPF department at the best of times. Post-exfoliation, though, your skin is even more susceptible to sunburn and damage, so make sunscreen your best friend and stay in the shade where possible for the first few days post-treatment. You should also avoid having any other skin procedures for about a week following your treatment. With skin so radiant, though, why would you need to?

Using a peel approximately two weeks after your treatment can be beneficial to help hydrate the new tissue and encourage the removal of any skin that is still yet to shed. Discuss treatment plans with your aesthetician at your dermaplaning appointment.

How does dermaplaning compare to microdermabrasion?

While both dermaplaning and microdermabrasion are treatments that involve the resurfacing of skin, they are not one and the same thing. Both procedures focus on skin rejuvenation, but where microdermabrasion only takes off the surface layer of skin, dermaplaning goes deeper by taking off most of the outermost layer of skin. Microdermabrasion also does not remove any facial hair, while dermaplaning removes all peach fuzz and stray hairs from the face. Microdermabrasion does, though, have the added benefit of suctioning enlarged, clogged pores.

So which one is best for you? Microdermabrasion is a much more aggressive treatment than dermaplaning and utilises a vacuum that pulls the skin by suction. It is therefore potentially harmful to those with sensitive skin, rosacea or any other red, sensitive skin conditions. Microdermabrasion is best-suited for those who are looking for more of a maintenance type of exfoliation and for who dermaplaning would make no real significant difference. If you are unsure about which treatment would be best for you, it is best to ask an aesthetician for a recommendation before making a booking.

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