Review: Is dermaplaning worth the hype?

The ins and outs of facial dermaplaning

By Ingrid Wood

It may sound a little cutthroat, but scalpel shaving is actually a very gentle procedure. Using a sharp, surgical blade to manually exfoliate the face is different to shaving as the aim is not hair removal (although it does get rid of those fine hairs), but to resurface the skin to improve its appearance. I was addicted after the first time I had it – I couldn’t believe how smooth and soft my face felt – and how much almost invisible vellus hair (“peach fluff”) was removed!

How does it work?

The aesthetician will pull your skin tightly and gently scrape the outer layer of the skin at a 45-degree angle with the scalpel. It takes about 20 minutes, and no prep is needed although it should only be done on healthy skin, free of any cuts or irritation. “It’s recommended that you avoid exfoliants or other products that may make the skin more fragile, such as retinoids a few days before the procedure,” says Jacqui Higgins, Aesthetics Practitioner at Skin Aesthetics and trainer for Dermaclinical skincare.

Am I a candidate?

Don’t do it if you have any inflammatory skin condition, advises Higgins. “This includes active acne, rosacea, eczema or psoriasis, as well as sensitised skin due to sunburn. Also, let your aesthetician know if you are prone to cold sores because it can reactivate them.” Other than that, it’s good for all skin types and an option for pregnant women or those whose skin cannot tolerate certain exfoliating products or peels. “Make sure your post-treatment regime includes sun protection – as with any exfoliating treatment your skin will be more photosensitive afterwards,” adds Higgins.

How much does it cost?

It varies from salon to salon but a standalone dermaplaning treatment is usually between R300 and R500. It can be added on to a facial treatment which I prefer as then I get the whole glowing package and my skin looks so dewy and healthy afterwards. The results last three to four weeks.

Does it cause stubble?

No, it is a non-invasive exfoliating treatment and the fine hair won’t grow back thicker or darker. For me the ‘regrowth’ was barely noticeable – it’s not like shaving stubble at all. 

What is the difference between dermaplaning, microdermabrasion and dermabrasion?

They are all skin resurfacing procedures but use different methods and tools and which one you choose is dependent on your objectives. Dermaplaning is non-invasive and uses a scalpel to remove both dead skin cells and “peach fuzz”. Microdermabrasion is non-surgical and uses fine micro crystals to ‘sandblast’ the surface layers off. Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure and has a much deeper and more intensive effect on wrinkles and scars. Dermabrasion comes with downtime whereas microdermabrasion and dermaplaning don’t. 

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