Dermaplaning sounds like a fancy at-home treatment. But realistically speaking, it’s basically shaving your face. It becomes dull and lame when you frame it like that. But its short and long-term benefits are quite the opposite. If you’re looking for a way to boost your skincare routine and enhance the effects of your products without going out of your way or out of your budget, you’re going to love what dermaplaning at home can do for your skin. Keep reading to learn how to properly dermaplane at home, what you need, what to do after, and what to avoid.
But before diving into how you can do it at home, first, check out what it actually is so you have a reference point.
What Is Dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning is a professional skin care treatment performed to remove the outermost layer of the skin using a sharp tool, commonly a surgical scalpel (1).
The word dermaplane is the combination of the word ‘derma’ (skin), which is another term for the dermis, and the word ‘plane’. It refers to smoothing and evening out the skin texture quite literally, as in planing the dermis.
It’s like an elaborate physical exfoliation where they remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin as well as peach fuzz. It is usually performed by an esthetician or a dermatologist.
At-home dermaplaning, on the other hand, is done to mimic the treatment on a smaller scale. While the steps are similar, at-home dermaplaning cannot give you the same results you’ll get from a professional treatment.
It’d be like comparing getting a facial at a spa with giving yourself a facial at home. Then again, this is true for all the at-home versions of professional treatments.
Professional Dermaplaning vs At-Home Dermaplaning
First of all, the most important difference between a professional dermaplaning treatment and at-home dermaplaning is the use of professional tools. Those fancy, sharp, surgical tools do give better results but they require professional hands.
At-home dermaplaning, on the other hand, usually leaves you with a few dull options to use as tools, which factor into the level of exfoliation you get.
Additionally, as a skincare treatment, professional dermaplaning has more steps. For example, the esthetician or dermatologist usually applies spa-level chemical exfoliants to prep the skin.
And similarly, they can apply their signature products after dermaplaning. These pre- and post-products are hard to imitate at home. And it’s mostly because you can irritate your skin when you take matters into your own hands.
So while dermaplaning is the actual treatment when you do it at home, in a professional environment, it simply becomes another step and a part of a proper facial.
What Are The Benefits of Dermaplaning at Home?
Obviously, dermaplaning at home is much cheaper than getting the treatment from a professional. But there’s more. Here are the most important benefits of dermaplaning at home:
- Dermaplaning is practically a physical exfoliation. By removing the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, you reveal a smoother and flake-free skin layer.
- Dermaplaning, because of the removal of the dead skin layer, increases the penetration of your skincare products. Therefore, your products absorb better and work better.
- Dermaplaning also removes peach fuzz. And even if you don’t have prominent facial hair, the removal of the peach fuzz makes all the difference in your complexion. Your makeup applies more smoothly and your skin feels much, much softer.
- Fine hair, though not always dark and visible, can create shadows on the face especially around the ears (sideburns) and above the cheekbones. By removing peach fuzz with dermaplaning, you reveal a brighter, more youthful complexion.
- It also gives you instantly fresh skin, which is great if you have mature, dull, or lackluster skin.
What Are The Side Effects of Dermaplaning at Home?
The most important side effects or safety concerns related to dermaplaning at home are irritation and breakouts.
Dermaplaning at home requires the use of a tool like a razor. And when that’s the case, there’s always a chance of irritation and it’s not always visible.
If you shave an area with more strokes than needed, you can “skim off” too much and irritate your skin. This is usually pretty unlikely.
But if you have textured skin, acne, or bumps, you need to be very careful and patient with the whole thing to avoid damaging and irritating your skin. So irritation can be avoided if you go very slowly and gently.
Another possible side effect of dermaplaning at home has to do with your skincare. This is something I personally deal with whenever I dermaplane. As we’ve established, because of the removal of dead skin cells, your products are penetrating better.
This means that anything you put on your skin after dermaplaning, especially products with active ingredients, has the potential to irritate you more. So an otherwise gentle retinol serum can now cause breakouts if you apply it on freshly derma-planed skin.
But this also can be avoided by being mindful of the products you apply on your skin, which I’ll mention in the aftercare section.
What To Use to Dermaplane at Home
You can use a twinkle razor, a regular (unused) razor you use to shave your legs, an electronic dermaplaning tool, an eyebrow trimmer, or a facial hair trimmer.
Among these, a twinkle razor is the most convenient option. It’s cheap, so you can use it once and get rid of it for hygiene purposes.
An electronic tool can be costly, especially if you’re a first-timer or if you don’t dermaplane that often. A regular razor you use to shave your legs doesn’t give you much control.
Even if it’ll remove the peach fuzz, it’s not the best when it comes to exfoliating purposes and it’s the one that’s more likely to hurt your skin.
How To Dermaplane at Home
Before you begin, make sure you have nothing on your skin and it’s clean and dry. And lighting is everything! You can consider a lighted mirror to better see that fine hair or ask someone to do it for you, just like I do it for my sister as shown below.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to dermaplane at home:
Step 1: Start from the forehead area and hold your skin taut with one hand. Only apply pressure as much as it’s needed to remove the fuzz and avoid pressing the razor against the skin too hard.
Step 2: Holding your dermaplaning tool at a slightly slanted angle (like a 45-degree angle), gently start shaving in a downward motion with your other hand. Shave the entire area that’s between the hairline and the eyebrows, excluding the two.
Step 3: Move on to the sideburns and shave gently in a downward motion. You can come as close to the cheeks as you like including the cheekbones. Do both sides of the face.
Step 4: Don’t forget to dermaplane the tip of the nose, chin, and the area above the lip, and below the lip.
Step 5: And finally, move on to the jawline. Pull the skin upward to level the area and use small strokes. Do the entire jawline. Don’t bring it down too much and don’t dermaplane the neck area.
What To Do After Dermaplaning at Home
Now that you’re done, you need to be very selective with what you put on your face. But first things first, gently wash your face with warm water. This is an easy way to understand if there’s any prominent irritation.
If there is, you’ll experience a burning sensation in those areas. But again, this is very unlikely. Now, even if there is no irritation, you’ve just removed a skin layer. So your skin is more permeable.
Here’s what to do if you want to dermaplane at home without breaking out: only apply your gentlest skincare products.
For example, you can apply a fragrance-free hydrating serum like a hyaluronic acid serum or a soothing serum and follow up with a moisturizer. Anything gentle, soothing, hydrating, and nourishing will work.
As a general rule of thumb, avoid using exfoliants, scrubs, and active ingredients on freshly dermaplaned skin. Some people do this. But again, if you’re a first-timer, be on the safer side.
Give it a day before moving on to active ingredients. Otherwise, you may have to deal with irritation, redness, and even breakouts.
There are some dos and don’ts of at-home dermaplaning.
Be extra gentle with your skin for the next 24 hours. Avoid physical exfoliants, scrubs, and chemical exfoliants. While some people like to exfoliate after dermaplaning, only you know how your skin works and if it can handle those.
If you have rosacea or sensitive skin, it’s always a bad idea to jump to exfoliants right after you dermaplane at home. Protect your skin from excessive heat, and avoid washing your face with hot water, and steaming your face.
Also, be extra vigilant with your sun protection. Wear SPF regularly to avoid damaging your new, vulnerable skin layer.
So this is how to properly dermaplane at home. It’s basically an easy way to get smoother, softer skin with the added benefit of having your skincare products work better. If you need more information, we’ve answered below some common questions.
At-Home Dermaplaning FAQs
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- Pryor, L., Gordon, C.R., Swanson, E.W. et al. Dermaplaning, Topical Oxygen, and Photodynamic Therapy: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Aesth Plast Surg 35, 1151–1159 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-011-9730-z