Have you ever seen someone use a tiny, disposable razor-looking device to shave their face? If so, you've seen someone dermaplane. In its most basic form, the beauty practice is when someone uses a razor or other sharp surface to remove dead skin cells and peach fuzz from the face. Though it's a popular in-office procedure, you can also do it yourself once you know how to dermaplane at home like a pro.
Why would you want to shave your face, though? The practice has a number of perks, the most common being its exfoliating benefits that slough dead skin cells off your complexion. According to Andrea McCollough, an esthetician with digital beauty retailer Pomp, the exfoliation you get by dermaplaning assists in skin cell turnover and helps to promote a more even skin tone. "Regular exfoliation allows for your skin cells to reproduce more quickly, which helping with collagen production, as well as assisting in lessening hyperpigmentation and sun damage," she tells Bustle. "Because of this, dermaplaning allows for products to penetrate deeper both at home and in-office, so your at-home products work even better."
Just note that dermaplaning at home isn't going to give you the same results of professional treatments. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King tells Bustle that in-office dermaplaning often uses a more aggressive approach due to a sharper blade, skin prep done by a professional, and better angles (since you've got a pro doing it for you). But you can still reap the silky-smooth, exfoliated skin benefits. Here's everything you need to know about dermaplaning at home.
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Before you begin dermaplaning, there are some prep steps you should take. Most importantly? Celebrity facialist Taylor Worden says to avoid using harsh exfoliants (like alpha-hydroxy acids) on your skin and any products containing retinol at least 3 to 5 days before your session.
Since dermaplaning is a method of exfoliation, having actives like those in your routine beforehand could increase skin sensitivity and using other exfoliants (like AHAs) could lead to over-exfoliation which can damage your skin's microbiome.
How To Dermaplane At Home
1. Disposable Razors
There are two different ways to dermaplane from home: You can either use a disposable razor (the kind used for eyebrow grooming) or a dermaplaning device. Both ways are recommended by the experts.
Worden says using a razor — like a Tinkle Razor — gives you more control of the blade. "They're disposable, not expensive, and you can use one or two for the entire face." For a non-disposable option that'll last longer, try something like Stacked Skincare's Dermaplaning Tool. Whichever you go with, make sure you have enough light to see your skin before you begin. Then follow these steps, courtesy of Worden, below.
- Double cleanse to make sure all makeup, dirt, and oil are removed from your face.
- Hold your razor at a 45-degree angle with your dominant hand and hold your skin tight to prevent cuts.
- Hold the blade close to your skin in order to have better control.
- Start with one side of your face at the jaw and work your way up to the cheek and forehead using short strokes.
- Gently glide the razor back and forth and make sure to wipe the blade after a few passes (Worden switches to a new razor as the blade dulls — since these aren't as sharp as in-office tools, you may need more than one).
2. At-Home Dermaplaning Devices
You could also turn to a more high-tech tool like the Dermaflash or Hollywood Smoother's device. King tells Bustle that these are safe for at-home use and some even have built-in safety features to avoid cuts and nicks (which are more likely with traditional razors, she says).
- Start with clean, dry skin — King recommends using a non-irritating cleanser that doesn't contain active ingredients like chemical exfoliants or benzoyl peroxide, as these combined with dermaplaning can lead to irritation.
- Start with a new blade and be sure not to use it on areas where the skin is broken, irritated, or that has an infection, says King, as dermaplaning can irritate it.
- Carefully use short strokes as you hold your skin taut, and only go over an area once.
- Be sure to avoid the eyelids, lips, and any area you don't want to lose hair.
As for how often you should dermaplane? Bustle's experts said no more than once every week or two if you do so at-home.
What Should I Do After Dermaplaning?
So you've dermaplaned. Now what? Nearly across the board, experts said to avoid another exfoliation method — like alpha or beta hydroxy acids and scrubs — right after as well as strong active ingredients like retinols. King explains, "Any form of exfoliation can help skin care products sink in better because it reduces the barrier." However, due to that reduced barrier, another exfoliation method well as additional actives can lead to irritation.
King recommends sticking to "gentle, non-irritating serums," and Worden echoes her advice calling for "light, water-based serums," moisturizers, and hydrating masks to make sure the skin stays hydrated after the barrier is thinned. Basically, load up on products that contain soothing and moisturizing MVPs: hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, glycerin, ceramides, and aloe vera.
One more thing: Don't forget your sun protection. While you should always be wearing sunscreen during the day, Worden says your skin may be more sensitive after exfoliating (aka dermaplaning, in this case), so avoid the sun and be sure to apply SPF.
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Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Board Certified NYC dermatologist
Dr. Hadley King, Board Certified NYC dermatologist
Taylor Worden, celebrity facialist and founder of Taylor Worden Skin
Andrea McCollough, esthetician with Pomp