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

DIY dermaplaning is on the rise, with monthly UK searches for “how to dermaplane at home” rising by 15% in January 2023 compared to January 2022 and according to Google trends, searches have increased by 250% in the last 12 months.

recent study by Currys analysed the Google search volume for “how to… at home” for a range of beauty treatments to discover which are the most popular to try, and which have grown in popularity over the past 12 months.

The study revealed that out of all of the treatments analysed, dermaplaning had experienced the highest growth year on year.

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. 

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.

Do you offer dermaplaning treatments? Let us know in the comments...