How does dermaplaning work?

Dermaplaning is a highly effective, physical exfoliation procedure that uses a sterile, surgical scalpel to remove the non-living skin cells that comprise the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis.

It differs from popular superficial exfoliation techniques such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion in that it uses no chemicals, crystals or suction. Dermaplaning also removes vellus hair; the fine, downy peach fuzz which harbours oil and dirt, causing the skin to look dull. Dermaplaning brightens the complexion, reduces congestion and allows for deeper penetration of skincare products. Vellus-free skin also facilitates smoother make-up application. 

It can be performed monthly, in line with the cellular renewal process of a healthy skin. As we age, this process slows down and regular dermaplaning treatment can help to speed it up. However, Dermaplaning is not recommended for acneic or oily skins as the vellus hair serves to allow excess sebum to exit the follicle. 

An important factor to consider in dermaplaning is that although the stratum corneum is essentially non-living, it does perform a vital protective function. It acts as the first line of defence against the external environment, protecting the body from bacteria, UV and free radicals. It also binds in natural moisture, preventing it from escaping and keeping skin hydrated. It is therefore crucial to keep skin well balanced, nurturing it post-treatment to prevent transepidermal water loss, sensitivity or other barrier function issues. Clients should avoid exfoliants, harsh products and potential irritants such as soaps or wipes, and use products designed for strengthening the skin barrier. SPF application is essential. 

Jacqueline Naeini is clinical director of Cliniva Medispa and Cliniva Cosmetic Training, which offers dermaplaning courses.