When I was 19 and plagued with horrible first-semester-of-college acne, my mom told me she was taking me to a dermatologist who was going to "shave the top layer of skin off my face with a straight razor," to help with my pimples. I walked into the treatment completely terrified of what was going to happen to me, and walked out a whole new woman with perfect glowing skin. The process, I later learned, is called "dermaplaning," — but what is dermaplaning, and is it safe?
Dermaplaning is the process of taking a 10-gauge scalpel (which sounds vaguely Grey's Anatomy-esque) and using it to scrape layers of dead skin off of the surface of your face. It needs to be done by a professional — so please do not take a scalpel to your own face in your bathroom mirror — but takes only a few minutes and doesn't hurt at all. It's basically shaving for your skin, instead of your hair, and will leave you positively glowing.
I spoke to Kerry Benjamin, dermatologist and founder of Stacked Skincare, about what everyone should know about dermaplaning and why you should give it a shot. The main difference from shaving, she said, is that dermaplaning is done with a single blade. A dermatologist or aesthetician will use small upward strokes to remove the dead layer of skin with the blade.
Although it sounds scary, the process is totally safe and can be done every three to four weeks.
Here are nine reasons you should try dermaplaning — I promise, it doesn't hurt and it's totally worth it.
1. It's The Best Way To Exfoliate Your Skin
There are literally a zillion different ways to exfoliate your skin (with scrubs, with chemical peels, with Japanese sponges — the list goes on and on), but dermaplaning tends to work best because of its ability to promote deeper and more even penetration of the skin.
2. It Reduces Visible Signs of Aging
I just turned 25 last week, and this has become increasingly important to me in terms of benefits in skincare regiments. A decrease in matrix proteins like collagen and elastin are to blame for visible signs of aging (read: wrinkles and dark spots) and dermaplaning helps promote the production of these proteins. Hello, eternal youth.
3. It Immediately Evens Your Skin
Not only does dermaplaning even out the texture of your skin, it helps make the color appear smoother too. The process is beneficial for hyper pigmentation because it helps fend off the things in your body that inhibit production of melanin, which is what gives your skin its color.
4. It Helps With Acne
Like I mentioned, this is why my mom forced me into the dermatologist's chair all those years ago. "Hyperkeratosis" is a buildup of the top layer of your skin, which causes dull complexion and acne. Dermaplaning reduces the thickness of this layer which helps correct these conditions.
Plus, removing this layer of dead skin makes it easier for topical products — like acne creams — to penetrate your skin.
5. It Gets Rid Of Baby Hair
What's better than getting smooth, glowing skin? Getting smooth, glowing, hairless skin. Dermaplaning also gets rid of the vellus hairs (affectionately known as "baby hairs" or "peach fuzz") on the surface of your face in the process of removing dead skin cells.
6. .... But Won't Make Your Hair Grow Back Thicker
One of the most common misconceptions about dermaplaning, according to Benjamin, is that it will make the hair on your face grow back darker and thicker. "This is a total myth!" she says. Dermaplaning will have the same effects on your facial hair as shaving your face with a razor, and will not change the texture or number of hair follicles you have on the surface of your face.
7. You Don't Need To Use Shaving Cream
I'll be honest: While I am all for facial shaving, the thought of applying shaving cream reminds me a little bit too much of that scene from Home Alone when Kevin lathers up and sings to himself in the mirror. With dermaplaning, the entire process is done on dry skin, so there is no need to deal with all of that annoying foam. According to Benjamin, you want you want your skin dry in order to maximize the exfoliation of dead skin and the removal of the baby hairs. "If you are lathered up with shaving cream you won’t get the dead skin or hair off nearly as effectively as you will with dry skin," she said.
8. It Helps Makeup Go On More Smoothly
Dermaplaning provides a completely clean palate, which will help your makeup go on more smoothly and stay on longer.
9. It Doesn't Hurt
Waxing and threading have made it seem like in order for hair removal to be effective, it has to hurt. That is so not the case with dermaplaning, which is entirely painless but just as effective when it comes to getting rid of facial hair.
Images: Liliya Rodnikova/Stocksy; StackedSkincare/Instagram