Why you should never try dermaplaning? Chemical Peels is a safer choice!

With the UK currently in lockdown, many of us have endless amounts of hours available to scroll through social media. Skincare trends or popular skin care treatments, especially for those in desperate skin situations can be the most attractive ways to fill up time whilst doing a bit of self-care. However, these popular trends or treatments are not always the safest for your skin in the long-term and it’s important to be wary of what you do to your skin. Dermaplaning has become extremely popular and is a treatment that offers fast and quick results, however, is it really the best skin decision in the long-term?

What is dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is a skincare treatment that uses an exfoliating blade to remove the top layer of dead skin cells and hair on the surface of the skin. It aims to improve: deep acne scarring, the appearance of wrinkles to give skin a radiant surface, help acne and remove peach fuzz (the small hairs on your face).

How dermaplaning works are similar to regular shaving of any other part of the body. At a 45 degree angle, the sterile razor is gently scraped across the face to remove the top layer of skin debris. It is believed that during the day our skin is exposed to harsh environmental aggressors which all can lead to the top layer of the skin looking dull and discoloured. Dermaplaning aims to remove that top layer to expose a brighter, newer layer of skin cells. It also aims to remove peach fuzz.

For those who wear make-up often peach fuzz can typically worsen the appearance of foundation and other liquid or cream products. The thought is that by removing peach fuzz the skin’s surface is more smooth for a better make-up application. Also, there is some believe that peach fuzz can be an area for the build-up of bacteria during the day which could lead to acne. This treatment is typically done by dermatologists or beauticians, however, the equipment is accessible to buy so many people have begun doing this at home.

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What are the disadvantages of dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is essentially a method of exfoliation. Exfoliation is important for the skin, especially if you suffer from acne. It helps to increase cell renewal as the top layer of dead skin cells are removed, which can typically be a site for bacteria that would lead to acne and clogged pores. There are two methods of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Dermaplaning falls under physical exfoliation which can be so much more harmful to the skin than chemical. Some reasons for this are:

1. Abrasiveness
As the method is very physical, removing the top layer of skin cells in this way could be too harsh for the skin and stripping. Over time this could lead to inflammation and irritation or even excessive dryness. If you already have severe acne or sensitive skin the damage could be irreversible

2. Risk of Infection
As dermaplaning is gaining lots of popularity to be done at home during the lockdown, this comes with a risk factor of infection. Using an unsterile blade increases the likelihood of getting an infection which would only make acne worse. This less applies when getting this procedure done at a dermatologist.

3. Short-term
Dermaplaning offers instant results. However, once the top layer of skin becomes dull and discoloured again you have to do the procedure once more and this whole cycle is very short. Dermaplaning doesn’t offer any long-term solution for acne. For how expensive it can be to do dermaplaning at a dermatologist, the price isn’t worth the overall benefit.

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Does dermaplaning help wrinkles?

As I mentioned above dermaplaning provides instant results. For those who already have visible wrinkles, dermaplaning can provide immediate improvement in appearance as a newer layer of skin cells are visible. This means the skin will appear smoother and less discoloured. However, this effect is simply temporary. In the long-term dermaplaning does not offer effective exfoliation, therefore, is not stimulating a speedier cell regeneration process, meaning it’s not helping wrinkles. The use of serums containing retinol, Vitamin C and A much better target wrinkles through a chemical level, to ensure they don’t develop in the long term.

For someone who is still younger and whose skin is still more elastic, dermaplaning can even dry out and sensitise the skin. As it does not effectively exfoliate this may mean that you even develop wrinkles faster. The best way to prevent wrinkles is to regularly chemically exfoliate and wear SPF daily.

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Why chemical peels are safer than dermaplaning?

Chemical peels are a chemical way of exfoliating the face, as it says in the name. Chemical peels can either be light, medium or deep, this describes their strength. They work by the use of acids to break down the top layer of the skin. Even though acids and chemicals are big words, these are very gentle on the skin, obviously depending on the strength. Chemical peels aim to improve acne, improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles and even some scarring.

The biggest benefit is that they are much safer in terms of longer lasting skin health. In comparison to dermaplaning, they aren’t as abrasive to the skin, as they don’t physically remove the dead skin cells they chemically dissolve them. This means there is less sensitivity and the risk of inflammation and irritation is much less unless you are sensitive or allergic to any of the ingredients contained within the peel. Also unlike dermaplaning, there is no risk of infection with chemical peels as there is no equipment used simply a product applies. What’s more, is that they can even go beyond the work of dermaplaning.

Chemical peels can penetrate the skin meaning they can effectively prevent new acne from forming and kill any bacteria on the skin’s surface. So for the long-term chemical peels are much more effective.

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Can you dermaplane before a chemical peel?

Now there is a lot of debate about this in the skincare community, so let’s begin to unpack this question. As dermaplaning is seen quite positively in the media right now a big statement is that it can even enhance the effects of a chemical peel. The explanation is, is that as it removes the top barrier of dead skin cells, there is a better and easier surface for the chemical peel to penetrate and be absorbed into the skin (a better application). However, this could, especially if you’re someone with sensitive skin be too much for the skin to handle. As dermaplaning is an abrasive treatment, the skin needs recovery time afterwards to regenerate new skin cells and build up its barrier. A chemical peel, whilst safer than dermaplaning is still exfoliation and will sensitise the skin. Overall these two treatments in combination are just too much over-exfoliation. It could leave the skin red, inflamed and sensitised. The inflammation could even lead to acne and sensitisation may mean you see your skin beginning to react to other products in your skincare routine or even make-up.

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What is the best chemical peel for ageing skin?

When doing chemical peels I highly recommend to do these with a dermatologist or aesthetician. When handling pharmaceutical-grade ingredients it is much better to be in the hands of someone more educated to help adapt the treatment specifically to you and your skin needs. Dermoi offers an anti-ageing/glow treatment using a chemical peel from the brand iS Clinical. Their chemical peel contains an advanced form of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a BHA- Beta Hydroxy Acid. To explain that there are three types of chemical exfoliants: AHAs, BHAs and the more recent PHAs. BHAs are my personal favourite as like AHAs they work to chemically remove dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin, unclog pores and remove bacteria from the face which could cause acne. However where they differ from the other chemical exfoliants is that they can penetrate the skin further as they are much smaller molecules in comparison to AHAs for example, and can work to push out underlying bacteria within pores of deeper layers of the face. Meaning as well as helping current breakouts in the long-term can also prevent future breakouts.

In terms of the appearance of wrinkles and anti-ageing, salicylic acid helps to improve cell regeneration by removing that top layer of dead skin cells. Meaning it can help the skin to restore its elasticity which helps smooth the surface of the skin. It can also help to brighten and improve the appearance of discolouration and hyperpigmentation in the face. The iS Clinical chemical peel aims to visibly improve skin imperfections and specifically targets those with signs of ageing. It shows visible results after just one peel and vast improvement are seen after multiple treatments.

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How many days after a chemical peel should you start to see peeling?

Typically after a chemical peel, peeling begins about 2-3 days after and can last up to 5 days in total, after the treatment. However, it is important to not peel your skin after this treatment but to simply control it with moisturiser as peeling is minimal and manageable. Peeling too early after the treatment can result in dry and irritated skin which could later lead to hyperpigmentation so is to be avoided.

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How often should you get a chemical peel?

This is all dependent on which type of chemical peel you are getting. As I mentioned, there are three types of chemical peel ordered by strength, light, medium and deep. Light chemical peels are the most common and can be done every 2-5 weeks depending on how sensitive your skin is, or how many chemical peels you’ve done before. This number comes from your skin’s regeneration cycle. The skin cycle lasts about 3-4 weeks, meaning after a month you have a new layer of skin cells in the epidermis. So by this time, the effects of your chemical peel have worn off and it’s time to get the procedure again. Medium chemical peels penetrate much deeper into the skin and typically don’t need to be repeated regularly. After the first chemical peel, it can then next be repeated after two-nine months depending on how well your skin recovers and adapts. Deep chemical peels are only ever needed to be done once as the effects remain. Medium and deep chemical peels are typically only carried out by dermatologists whereas light chemical peels are very common and are the treatments you receive by aestheticians.

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How long do chemical peel results last?

This all depends on firstly what time of chemical peel you get. As I mentioned already, the skin cycle is 3-4 weeks so for light chemical peels the results will start to fade after this marked point. However, that’s also determined by your skin condition, whether you have a consistent skincare routine if you wear SPF etc… Medium chemical peels are much stronger and just one treatment can provide more lasting benefits, however, after about 6 months you will see results start to fade. Deep chemical peels are quite a complex procedure and can only be carried out by doctors. However, that being said deep chemical peels will last for years due to how far they can penetrate the skin. Although with chemical peels, specifically light chemical peels, even though they give lasting results, to maintain skin health and reap the long-term benefits I would recommend being consistent with your treatment.

At what age should I get a chemical peel?

Chemical peels can treat a range of skincare concerns from signs of ageing to severe acne. However, it is recommended that you don’t start chemical peels until you are nearing the end of puberty. Now that looks different for everyone, for most that are in your late teens but can stretch to your early twenties. However, if you’re looking to prolong elasticity and fight signs of ageing, I would recommend starting in your mid to early twenties. This is to prevent the development of wrinkles rather than start treatments once you’ve already reached that point as otherwise, it can be much harder.

Overall there are a vast number of skincare treatments out there for you to explore and decide what’s best for you. However, I recommend that you always do your research as, like dermaplaning, popular trends can be rather harmful to the skin. Also, it’s important to make sure that you always do skincare treatments with a licenced professional rather than an attempt at home.

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Author: Ema Kanlic