Here’s how to DIY the popular in-office treatment yourself.

By Hana Hong
May 18, 2020
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woman with smooth skin following a dermaplaning treatment
Credit: Getty Images

If you frequent spas often (pre-quarantine that is), you’ve probably heard of dermaplaning, an exfoliating treatment where a licensed medical esthetician gently scrapes the surface of your skin with a sterile surgical scalpel. It’s essentially shaving your face, but it goes beyond just removing facial hair to also slough away dead skin cells. One session rings in at around $250, and it will leave your face feeling brand new, all without any downtime or having to use harsh exfoliators that trigger sensitive skin.

Because the low-risk process promises skin as soft as a baby’s bottom while being completely painless and superficial (no blood!), it’s become a very popular in-office procedure for derms and estheticians. The concept of merging shaving and exfoliating has even been touted as an effective anti-aging technique. But since the pandemic has made office visits impossible, you may be wondering how to dermaplane at home. You don’t need to track down a surgical blade to do it yourself, thanks to facial razors and at-home dermaplaning systems like Dermaflash, the facial exfoliation technique is more accessible than ever. We tapped in Dara Levy, founder of Dermaflash, along with celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau, to get the 4-1-1 on how to DIY it safely. 

How does dermaplaning work?

For a light exfoliation with some facial hair removal, you can take advantage of small disposable facial razors, like Tweezerman Facial Dermaplaner ($30; dermstore.com). “The sharper blades are sold to trained professionals only, but the blades available to non-professionals are great for at-home use since they’re more dull,” says Rouleau. “They also have protective plastic bands on them, which allows for hair to be removed without the risk of cutting skin.”

When using any facial razor, it’s important to hold the skin taut to create a flat, tight surface so you don’t cut yourself. Hold the blade at a 45-degree angle to your skin, and use short, feathery strokes. Be especially careful when working in angled areas, such as the eyebrows or crevice within the chin.

At-home systems like Dermaflash ($199; sephora.com), while pricey, are a better option for dermaplaning beginners. Unlike manual motion, Dermaflash is powered by subtle sonic vibrations that amp up the efficacy of the treatment and help the device comfortably glide over the surface of the face. “I say this all the time: Men shave, women flash,” says Levy. “It’s important to note that dermaplaning isn’t a shaver; it’s an exfoliant that also removes peach fuzz. Men grow terminal hair, which is like a piece of copper wire. Women grow vellus hair, which is light and fluffy. Our blade was designed specifically for the delicate skin on a woman’s face.”

No matter what technique you use, immediately follow up a dermaplaning treatment with hydrating serums and moisturizers. Since you just shed away dead skin cells, it will allow for all that skin goodness to seep in better.

Are there any side effects?

The sensation is tickly and sandpapery, but not painful. If you aren’t properly educated or go in too quickly, it is possible to nick the skin and cause little cuts. But as long as it’s done properly, you can safely DIY with no significant side effects. Skin may appear slightly pink for several hours after the treatment, but that should subside within a few minutes. 

Any other significant side effects, such as irritation or sensitivity, could be a result of the product applied to the skin before or after the treatment. “Because it’s an exfoliating treatment, if your skin is sensitized from using products like a prescription retinoid, you could remove too much dead skin, leaving the skin feeling irritated,” says Rouleau.

Can anyone dermaplane?

The experts agree that you shouldn’t try dermaplaning if you have facial legions of any kind, including pustular acne, severe eczema and rosacea, or cold sores. You should also not dermaplane if you are windburned or sunburned. “ If you have active acne or open sores, don’t use the device until the pimples or elevated marks have calmed down,” adds Levy. “Those on Accutane should avoid dermaplaning of any kind entirely.”

Will dermaplaning make your hair grow back thicker?

Simply put, no. Dermaplaning will not cause the vellus hair on your face to grow back thicker or darker. 

“This is the most commonly asked question we receive,” says Levy. “As proven in clinical studies, this is simply a myth passed down for generations. Hormones are the only thing that can impact hair growth. Dermaplaning removes the fuzz just above the surface of the skin, and does not (and cannot) impact the growth, color, or texture of a woman's facial hair.” 

How often do you need to dermaplane to maintain results?

Ideally every three to four weeks, says Rouleau. Dead skin will eventually build back up and hair will regrow—meaning you’ll have to continue treatments if you want to maintain its effects—but don’t get too shave-happy. “Talk to an esthetician to help you figure out a schedule based on individual skincare goals and preferences. Each time you get dermaplaned, you’re removing about two to three weeks’ worth of dead skin cells. You don't want to use it too often, especially when you’re using a fresh blade. You can over-exfoliate the skin and damage the skin’s protective barrier, which leads to inflammation and sensitivity.”