What Is Dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning is a hair removal method designed to remove facial hair and peach fuzz. The hair removal treatment involves scraping away the top layers of the skin. It uses a sharp blade at a 45-degree angle.
Dermaplaning removes debris build-up and acts as a face exfoliator/dead skin remover. The perceived benefits of dermaplaning also include the removing of vellus hair. Removing this hair can allow make-up to sit more smoothly.
Sales of at-home dermaplaning devices have risen dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. What people don’t know is that they’re causing major damage to their skin! The cons far out way the temporary pros…
Pros and Cons of Dermaplaning
Here are some of the pros and cons of dermaplaning…
- It can allow makeup to sit more smoothly
- Removes dead skin
- Can smooth an uneven skin texture
- Increases sensitivity to sunlight
- Can cause irritation and/or dryness
- Increases risk of cuts/scarring
- Can spread bacteria
- Strips the skin’s protective barrier.
What Are the Side Effects of Dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning comes with some serious risks and side effects. The risks are similar to those associated with treatments such as chemical peels.
The repeated scraping of the top layers of the skin can have a damaging impact on the skin’s barrier.
The stripping of the stratum corneum can result in bacterial infections. This is due to the breaking down of your skin’s barrier which leaves skin vulnerable. This then allows potential bacterial infections to pass through the skin barrier.
On top of this, it leaves the skin more susceptible to damaging free radicals in the air. These arise from issues such as pollution.
Free radicals are chemicals that have lost an electron. This causes stress in our skin cells as these free radicals are unstable and highly reactive. They resultantly oxidise everything that they come into contact with. Free radicals are one of the leading causes of premature aging.
Over the last two years I have treated scarring cases of patients that have seen trained practitioners for dermaplaning but the scalpel has caught on hair and been dragged on the skin, leading to some permanent scarring.
– Dr Jonquille Chantrey told Harpers Bazaar
Dermaplaning can also cause facial hair to grow back thicker. This makes the treatment completely redundant! Vellus hairs are often confused with regular hairs. Dermaplaning the wrong type of hair leads to thicker regrowth.
Dermaplaning treatments can be particularly damaging for specific skin types. It’s particularly bad for those with active acne or cold sores. Inflammation is highly likely to occur as a result of the potential spreading of bacteria caused by the treatment. This can lead to pigmentation and even scarring.
Does Dermaplaning Make Skin More Sensitive to Sunlight?
Due to the stripping of the skin barrier, dermaplaning causes skin to become highly sensitive to UV damage. Sun damage is already one of the leading causes of premature aging. It slows the rate at which skin cells turn over or replace themselves. This causes dull, dry skin, and uneven skin tone.
As damage builds up exposure to UV rays can cause age spots, pigmentation, sunburns and cancer. Stripping the skin’s protective barrier leaves it way more vulnerable and susceptible to these concerns.
Does Hair Grow Back After Dermaplaning?
Yes, after a dermaplaning treatment your hair will grow back since it only removes the hair temporarily. In fact, dermaplaning only removes the layer of facial hair, known as ‘vellus hair’.
Although the hair does grow back after dermaplaning, there are mixed reviews as to whether it grows back thicker and/or darker.
Is Dermaplaning Bad for Your Skin? Here’s Why You Need to Avoid Dermaplaning
There is minimal scientific evidence backing up dermaplaning for any skin benefit. In addition, this treatment is normalised for at home and consistent use. Repeated use can have negative consequences for the skin barrier, leaving skin sensitive to UV radiation, free radical damage, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation.
– Dermoi’s Chief Scientific Officer Eve Casha
The overall amount of scientific data supporting these methods was found to be scarce, anecdotal, and not well documented.
– Landon Pryor, Chad R Gordon, Edward W Swanson, Richard G Reish, Kelly Horton-Beeman & Steven R Cohen
Alternatives to Dermaplaning
There are still great skincare products out that provide the same exfoliating effects as dermaplaning without damaging your skin.
But beware: a huge amount of leading exfoliating products also strip the skin’s barrier away. Dermoi’s team of scientists have carefully identified and selected the best products on the market. These will effectively exfoliate without causing damage to your skin.
This concentrated powder from Indeed Labs is a daily exfoliator with a range of functions. By adding water the Exfoliator II powder transforms into a creamy paste. It’s designed to buff away dead skin cells, reduce pore size, and fight the appearance of lines and wrinkles overtime.
This exfoliator from BiRetix clears and prevents the skin from developing acne, while reducing redness and irritation. Problematic skin is left feeling cleaner, smoother, and brighter.
These gentle pads provide effective exfoliation to the skin without the need of chemical acids. NoAcid pads promote cell renewal and refine skin texture, pore size, and tone in one quick and easy step.
To summarise, you should avoid dermaplaning at all costs! There’s no scientific to support its use and the effects of dermaplaning can have a devastating impact on the skin.
If it’s exfoliating treatments you’re looking for there are so many non-damaging skincare products out there.
Find more information on skin treatments you should avoid here.
Author: Sam Pennington & Georgie Falcone
- Pryor et al. (2011) Dermaplaning, topical oxygen, and photodynamic therapy: a systematic review of the literature. Aesthetics Plastic Surgery. 35, 1151-1159.
- Honigmann, M., 2021. What is dermaplaning?. [online] Harper’s Bazaar. Available at: <http://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/skincare/a32576417/what-is-dermaplaning/>.