[Updated] Everything you need to know about dermaplaning and the glass skin trend

Published 26th Mar 2024 by PB Admin

Dermaplaning typically involves a sharp instrument to scrape off dead skin cells, vellus hair (peach fuzz), and other debris from the surface of the skin.

Julie Haran, aesthetic practitioner at Haran by Haran beauty clinic, weighed in on why so many women are choosing to pick up the razor. She said, “One of the main reasons women are choosing to shave their faces is to remove the peach fuzz/vellus hair.

"For some this is due to being self-conscious, if the person has hirsutism, for example – a common side effect of polycystic ovary syndrome, for others it is to allow for makeup to adhere better, giving the appearance of a texture free finish.

“Another benefit of dermaplaning is to exfoliate the top layer of skin. The scalpel or razor removes dead skin cells, leaving the skin looking brighter and smoother as a result.”

However, there are risks to non-professionals carrying out their own dermaplaning out home. We explore the benefits and risks, and see how it compares to other exfoliating treatments.

What are the benefits of dermaplaning compared with other skin-exfoliating treatments?

Dermaplaning differs from exfoliation techniques such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion because there is no chemical product, suction or crystals involved in the treatment. 

Instead, dermaplaning uses a sterile blade to gently scrape dead skin cells and "peach fuzz" vellus hair from your client’s face to make the skin radiant and smooth.

It's among the most popular beauty treatments on TikTok but although it’s trending at the moment, it’s nothing new – Marilyn Monroe reportedly shaved her face to help her achieve her bombshell look. 

Dr Ahmed El Muntasar, a GP and advanced facial aesthetics doctor, says, “The treatment is essentially a mechanical exfoliation, so it gets rid of the dead epidermis at the surface to encourage healthier-looking skin.” 

By removing the dulling peach fuzz and dead cells, the skin looks brighter and more refreshed. “It’s also perfect for aiding absorption of your skincare products and for supporting perfect make-up application,” adds Jenna Unwin, a semi-permanent make-up artist, skincare technician and founder of the Million Dollar Facial system, which features dermaplaning.

Is dermaplaning dangerous?

When carried out properly, dermaplaning can be beneficial for the skin; however, as you would expect with people taking blades to their own faces, there are dangers when consumers carry out dermaplaning without proper training or skin knowledge.

Dr El Muntasar comments, “The blades people are using could be very sharp, and sometimes they can make cuts in the skin. So, you introduce the risk of regular infection, bloodborne infections and cellulitis into the face. Cellulitis can then seep into the skin in the area around the eyes and cause periorbital cellulitis, which can affect vision. 

“You can also risk causing damage and scarring to skin of colour, and you can risk post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation due to the trauma on the skin. So, in my opinion, I don’t agree with untrained people performing the treatment.” 

Aside from cutting the skin with the blades, there is a risk of damage to the stratum corneum. “At home, people might be over-exfoliating, which can result in an impaired barrier, leaving them with sensitive, red and irritated skin,” says Unwin. 

Dr Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon, facial aesthetics doctor and founder of MZ Skin, adds, “Dermaplaning needs to be done correctly for maximum benefit. While it is a simple procedure, risks include redness, skin congestion and breakouts, and potential for infection.”

“Dermaplaning removes the skin's protective barrier, which increases the risk of infections, irritations, and sun damage," says Dr Amir Zerach of Z Clinic in London.

"It’s important to have dermaplaning treatments done by a professional and trained aesthetician who understands the proper techniques, including the correct sanitation and aftercare process, which will ensure safe and optimal results.

Dr Zerach concludes, “Ultimately, carrying out dermaplaning at home as a DIY task carries substantial risks and is best left to the hands of professionals.”

What happens in a professional dermaplaning treatment?

Of course, properly trained beauty professionals will be able to maximise the benefits of dermaplaning without running the risk of injury and infection. 

Explaining how to properly carry out professional dermaplaning, Unwin says, “A trained therapist takes many factors into consideration before dermaplaning the skin, such as skin type and condition. They should carry out a full consultation and skin analysis. The skin should be prepped, then a balm may also be used to help with dry skin. 

“A thorough dermaplaning treatment will work lightly back and forth around the contours of the face, and the therapist will finish with beneficial serums and SPF, ending with full aftercare advice. They will also be working in a sterile environment, reducing the risk of post-procedure breakouts.” 

Dr El Muntasar emphasises that it’s important to lubricate skin properly to avoid uncomfortable scraping and to use clean blades to minimise the risk of infection. He also says that therapists and clients need to acknowledge that the treatment isn’t suitable for everyone, while Dr Zamani adds, “I would recommend not undergoing this treatment if you have active acne or any other active skin condition.”

After the treatment, you can soothe your client’s skin with an appropriate moisturising product and then apply sunscreen to protect it. 

How do I improve my dermaplaning technique?

Kate Lowrey, brand trainer at Million Dollar Facial, says, "When you first learn to dermaplane, it can be quite daunting and nerve-wracking but with a little bit of practice and a good technique it all starts to feel natural."

Some of Lowrey's top tips for perfecting your dermaplaning technique include:

  • Practice – this is the only way that you will improve and start to build confidence.
  • Make sure the skin is cleaned and prepped because you don’t want to have any make-up or dirt, so cleanse and sterilise first of all.
  • Use a professional dermaplaning tool such as Million Dollar Facial’s Dermaglide. Being able to manoeuvre the handle to work around challenging areas without putting strain on the technician makes it easier to dermaplane.
  • Using a professional skincare balm provides a glide to reduce irritation and create a barrier on the skin, making the dead skin easier to remove.
  • Make sure you are at the right angle and move around so you are always working towards yourself. This will mean you can work more efficient and safely.
  • Stretch the skin and pull it tight because this will reduce the likelihood of creating any nicks.
  • Work methodically in small sections; you don’t want to miss any areas or rush the process.
  • Avoid any raised areas on the skin including breakouts and moles. You are also advised to avoid any terminal hairs.

Once you have completed your dermaplaning treatment, the skin is more vulnerable so always finish with an SPF.

Guidance and aftercare is also important for clients. Lowrey recommends:

  • Keep the skin protected outdoors with an SPF and don’t expose it to the sun for at least seven days.
  • Avoid touching the skin and keep it clean.
  • Keep skin moisturised and be aware that it may feel a little dry in the coming days.
  • Stay away from heat treatments, saunas and steam rooms for at least 48 hours.
  • Avoid exfoliation or peels for at least seven days.

Is dermaplaning painful?

Side effects may include slight redness in your client’s face for a few hours post-treatment. Dermaplaning is similar to shaving. During a dermaplaning procedure, your client shouldn’t feel any pain. You use an electronic or manual dermaplaning blade to scrape over their skin and this will continue for around 20 minutes, as you gently work to exfoliate. 

Your client may notice that their skin looks brighter immediately after a dermaplaning treatment. As any redness subsides, they will be able to see the results even more clearly. 

How long does dermaplaning last?

Results of dermaplaning aren’t long lasting. After three weeks to a month, the results will have faded and so clients will need to have continuous treatments to maintain results. 

Is dermaplaning the most effective exfoliating treatment?

If clients are primarily looking to remove vellus hair, then professional dermaplaning is the treatment of choice. However, other professional beauty treatments can achieve similarly glowing results – albeit without the element of hair removal.

Microdermabrasion uses fine crystals and a vacuum to physically exfoliate dead skin cells on the skin’s surface and can help with fine lines and pigmentation. Chemical exfoliation is also an option, where acid peels use ingredients such as glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin by dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. 

Dr Zamani adds, “An example of a treatment that uses exfoliating acids to help remove dead skin cells from the face is Hydrafacial. Skin is cleansed and exfoliated before being prepped for a light fruit acid peel, then a vacuum technology gently extracts impurities. This is a customisable treatment that improves skin clarity, tone and hydration for immediate results with no downtime.” 

Due to its ability to encourage dewy-looking skin and remove hair on the face – something many people are self-conscious of – dermaplaning is continuing to grow in popularity in salons, skin clinics and spas. However, it’s important that proper training is carried out and that beauty professionals continue to educate clients on the risks of carrying out DIY treatments at home.

Want to know more about trending skincare techniques? Check out our guides to skin icing and skin slugging.

PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 26th Mar 2024

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