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Dermaplaning Smooth Skin Exfoliation Risk Side Effects Benefits

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Last updated 02/04/2022

This has been a hot topic on Instagram and Pinterest these days. There are many videos available to watch (if you’re into that). Dermaplaning smooth skin is what I’m talking about.

Although this concept doesn’t seem to  be new. Dermaplaning has been compared to shaving your face. This is probably because of the tool that is used also removes the vellus hairs. But it does more.

Certainly, you have seen other devices in stores for hair removal. They are small and for your face. In short, I have one that requires a battery.

However, dermaplaning is a procedure that’s done by a licensed professional. That is your dermatologist or an esthetician in a medi-spa.  So, let’s check this out.

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What is Dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning has been used for decades. This procedure skims dead skin cells off your face (exfoliation). It also removes your vellus hair (peach fuzz) an added bonus. Above all this service scraps off the top layer of skin.

The tool used is a scalpel or a dermatome. A dermatome resembles an electric razor. Further your dermatologist or esthetician moves the tool back and forth across your face.


Dermaplaning is not recommended if you have:

  • Active acne
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Sunburn
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Since this is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by your insurance. So, you have to pay out of pocket. To sum up the procedure is usually about 30 minutes. Cost range is from $75 to $250 each session.

Dermaplaning Benefits

Benefits of dermaplaning are:

  • Smoother and brighter skin
  • Reduce hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone
  • Temporarily removes peach fuzz
  • Treat deep acne scars

How Does it Work?

Glancing at this tool used for dermaplaning you can notice the resemblance to your razor to remove body hair. Basically, the concept is similar to shaving. That is to say a sterile blade at a 45-degree angle is placed and carefully streaked across your skin.

This takes away dead skin cells and scar tissue along with other surface debris. The stuff that sits on your skin making the surface dull and uneven. Most importantly you know your skin is exposed to things in your environment.

External factors include toxins, irritants and sun damage. With the appearance of your skin being dull this can make you look older. To sum up dermaplaning clears this away leaving newer skin cells.

The effectiveness has been reported with differing results. So, it’s hard to say objectively whether the treatment works or not. However, it does remove vellus hair for a smooth face.

Is Dermaplaning Safe to do Yourself?

You may be questioning this if you have seen videos. Although dermaplaning may look easy enough to do yourself it is not recommended. There are do-it-yourself kits available for you to purchase online or at your pharmacy. For example it can be called a razor, a beauty wand or an exfoliating system.

It is generally safe when done right. Knowing how to hold the blade and at the correct angle can make things tricky to perform on yourself. Consider the training and experience of a professional for the best results. Thus, you can easily cut your skin.

Further there are some risks. This could lead to an infection or complications. And the chances of experiencing pain are higher when you do the treatment on yourself.

Dermaplaning Risk and Side Effects

Dermaplaning is usually a low-risk procedure. Likewise with any exfoliating treatment dermaplaning can have temporary side effects.


If you have regular breakouts, dermaplaning can bring on a flare-up of whiteheads. To reduce your chances for this happening avoid dermaplaning when you have active acne. Above all your face is more exposed as dermaplaning takes off that surface skin.

Furthermore, when your blade has bacteria on it or bacteria is on your hands you are more likely to breakout.

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As dermaplaning involves scraping a blade across your skin this can cause irritation. But this is common after your treatment. As a result, you can experience redness, discolored or itchy skin.

Generally, it could be a couple days before the redness subsides. In other words, there may be a sensation of burning or tingling lasting about 48 hours after the service.


Due to this being an exfoliating treatment it is perfectly normal to have dry or flaky skin afterward. Your session should improve already dry skin by lifting away the dead skin cells. But during those first couple days the exfoliation could leave your facial skin somewhat tight and dry.

Minor Cuts

The procedure could leave you with a few tiny scrapes or grazes (after all a sharp scalpel is used). This could happen during a more intensive session especially if you have uneven skin texture. Most importantly this is a reason to go to a professional. Thus, any cuts are minimal and should heal without any scars.

Infection and Scarring

Infection and scarring could happen after dermaplaning but it is said to be rare. If a scar should occur after dermaplaning your physician could treat the scar tissue with a steroid injection. As a result, this softens the scar tissue.

Pigment Blotching

It is possible to develop a patchy skin pigment in the location you had the procedure. Further this could decrease or disappear in time.

Thicker/Darker Regrowth

For your hair to grow back thicker or darker is uncommon. However rarely dark hair can grow close to your chin or “sideburns”.

Current Medications

Most importantly check for medication contradictions. You shouldn’t have this if you are being treated for severe acne and taking isotretinoin, Accutane or tretinoin. Thus, once you have stopped taking this medication wait six months before you try dermaplaning.

Preparing for Dermaplaning

You will need to consult with your provider before the dermaplaning. This is to discuss your medical history, skin type and skin coloring. Therefore, the results you are seeking as well.

To avoid irritating your skin more during an active acne flare-up, you should reschedule your appointment. This could also tear your skin surface. Thus, don’t exfoliate your skin the three days before dermaplaning either.

In addition, in the week before your appointment it is required that you avoid direct sun exposure. As a result, sun damage, like sunburn, could compromise your skin and create a painful treatment.

They say dermaplaning does not require any downtime while your skin heals.

Dermaplaning Smooth Skin Procedure

The blade should be sterile and you should see it removed from its sterile pouch. This is to prevent possible skin irritation or infection. Most importantly if this is of concern you should seek a board-certified dermatologist versus an esthetician.

The procedure is done in the office or a medi-spa. It uses a sharp #10 surgical blade (scalpel larger and thicker). You shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure. Further there could be a tingling sensation.

First of all, your provider has you lie down on a disinfected chair in a comfortable room. There could be sedation options available mainly for numbing the area. In conclusion; a spray or local anesthesia along with an oral sedative, but rarely general anesthesia.

After you have relaxed, your doctor places the electronic tool or scalpel to scrape over your skin. Your skin is gently pulled tight while the blade is glided in an upward motion with delicate, feathering strokes. This is done at a 45-degree angle for 20 to 30 minutes (would you be able to do this?). Above all your skin is gently exfoliated and peach fuzz removed.

Dermaplaning can be done as a stand-alone service or as added on to part of a facial. Some patients may combine this with another procedure. Certainly, consult your physician or licensed professional.

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After Your Dermaplaning Procedure

Once the treatment is completed your physician applies a substance (aloe) to soothe your skin. Further, to protect it  30 SPF broad spectrum sunscreen and moisturizer is applied as well.

Your skin will be extra sensitive now to sun exposure. Any sun damage could take back the effects of the procedure. In addition, sun could produce pigment blotches on your new uncovered skin layer. So, make sure you apply your sunscreen.

It could be noticed that your skin seems brighter immediately after your session. You could experience redness or the sensation your skin was scrapped within two to three days right after. However, it typically takes a couple days to appreciate the full effect.

The procedure does not leave permanent results, it can be done every 3 to 4 weeks. Above all take into account this won’t get rid of all your acne scars or stop the aging process. In short for any skin concerns you should consult your dermatologist.

Wrapping it up

Dermaplaning is usually a safe procedure when done by a professional. Its purpose is as an exfoliating treatment. But removing the vellus hairs is a plus although it is temporary.

If you have a steady hand and are very coordinated there are do-it-yourself tools. As a result, this procedure gives you a smoother, brighter complexion. Further the success of the procedure all depends on your skin type, tone and medical history.


Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.

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