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If your skin isn’t being dermaplaned on a regular basis, you are missing out! Most of our aims with skincare and makeup are oriented around smoothing our skin. Our skincare routines are designed to prevent acneic bumps, tighten pores, brighten dullness, prevent fine lines, brighten the complexion, and exfoliate rough patches among other goals. When we apply makeup we conceal discoloration, prime the skin, spackle pores, prevent oiliness, and more. That’s all fine and well but what’s the point of going to such extensive labor researching products and techniques, paying for it, and applying it when there’s an entire layer of unnecessary texture we can remove quickly and easily? Maybe it’s not your skills that are in question, if you feel you’re struggling with your base makeup, maybe you simply aren’t setting yourself up for success! Even Leonardo, with all of his skill and artistry, would have elected to paint on a smooth canvas rather than a…. hairy one!
If you find yourself unenthused with your skin finish after makeup application, or unimpressed with the results of your skincare routine, dermaplaning could be the solution! Not only does the hair add texture for your makeup to legibly sit on top of, which is a nightmare if you use foundation or spend any time face to face with people in bright light… It also requires you to use even more of your precious products! One of the first things people notice after dermaplaning (aside from the obvious softness!) is how little product they require. This is because your skincare and makeup don’t have to be worked down through all that peach fuzz and dead skin!
Dermaplaning is a practice women of all ages and skin types can benefit from. This is largely due to the improved penetration of all skincare products, especially those containing actives. While some women with fine lines or other concerns may like the added blurring effect peach fuzz creates, I still advocate for the increased physical exfoliation and improved efficacy of active-containing products achieved through regular dermaplaning. Women undergoing a refined and optimized routine of actives to eliminate texture from scarring are also prime candidates for this procedure. Additionally, anyone whose skin cells are slowing in turn over rate are also likely to enjoy the benefits.
There are in general two approaches to dermaplaning I’ve found in my experience of regularly doing this to myself for the last two years. Sometimes my intent is to thoroughly exfoliate all unnecessary hair and dead skin cells. In this case, I ensure my skin is thoroughly clean and dry sans any toner or moisturizer. This removes a greater amount of dead skin that’s ready to be exfoliated. Other times, my intent is to simply shave the peach fuzz down as short as possible. For this, I leave moisture on the skin or even apply oil.
What I enjoy about doing either is that I am in complete control of the dermaplaning process. I’ve heard of professionals using straight isopropyl alcohol and even acetone to prep the skin for the dermaplaning process. I’ve also experienced professionals who will come at me with products containing almond oil, even after I tell them I’m allergic to nuts. I do my absolute best to thoroughly vet my beauty service providers, but even as thorough as I am I discover really strange and concerning things happening in salons and spas!
My Dermaplaning Journey
My dermaplaning journey began with the Dermaflash tool. Highly recommended by my go-to Nordstrom beauty consultant, it was my gateway drug to dermaplaning! The Dermaflash is essentially a rechargeable razor, which has a razor blade sandwiched between two oscillating toothed clippers. It definitely exfoliates the skin and removes the peach fuzz, but it’s nowhere near as precise and exacting as a 10 blade scalpel! If you have shaky hands, or don’t yet trust yourself to use a scalpel, start with the Dermaflash. While pricey, it is very user friendly! All you do is charge the tool, and replace the blades after every few uses. It really is a perfect introduction!
I used my Dermaflash weekly for about two months before giving into my curiosity about dermaplaning with scalpels. What miraculous skin benefits I was missing out on? Even now it blows my mind that (despite all my skincare efforts) the biggest positive difference in my skin texture has come from an inexpensive bit of plastic and metal! Of course, taking a sharp stabby metal object to the face can pose risks. The most frequent “danger” is small abrasions I create when I work too fast. This is mainly the case around my forehead, brows, nose, and mouth (basically anywhere the contours of the face are more complex than a flat surface.) While I can successfully use the long flat edge of the scalpel to dermaplane areas like my cheeks and temples, anywhere on my face that is more bony or curved is difficult. This is where the shorter, angled bit of the blade comes in handy!
The absolute worst damage? For some reason, I hought it would be a good idea to dermaplane before doing a chemical peel. This was a gross miscalculation! I ended up with some super cute chemical burns! These burns occurred where I had done multiple passes with the scalpel. It took about a week of antibacterial ointment and sheet masking to heal the battle scars of my ill-organized process. Now, I’m always sure to wait at least two days after dermaplaning to apply any actives to my skin, and three to four days before doing any intensive ones like the chemical peels I use.
In addition to ensuring you organize your skin routine better than I have, I have a few more tips! First, take a close look at the blade of the scalpel. Notice that the cutting edge of the blade is angled differently than the whole blade. This is the angle to gauge off of when you are dermaplaning. It’s best to start at a 45 degree angle between the cutting edge and the skin. Any steeper and you risk cutting into your skin. You can start with a flatter angle, but it will be less effective. Practice dermaplaning on top of your forearm. The fleshy area where the muscle is, the flat bony part up by the wrist, and lastly the bony outside edge of the wrist are the three main surface-types you’ll have to work on when you dermaplane your actual face.
Dermaplaning Supplies and Process
Assemble the following products, some of which you might already have in your beauty kit. If not, I recommend the ones linked!
- 10 blade scalpel
- Face Halo (or cotton pads!)
- Rose water
- a powder brush
- heavily hydrating and moisturizing skincare
I prefer to start dermaplaning around my jaw and then work upward. This is because gross layers of dead skin and peach fuzz can obscure my view! You’ll obviously want to use a magnifying mirror in a well lit area. Use the back side of your Face Halo to clean the scalpel off as you work. Dust your face off with a clean, fluffy powder brush every so often to remove debris. When you’re finished, apply rosewater to a Face Halo or cotton pad and gently wipe down your face to soothe the skin. After dermaplaning, I go hard with the moisture! I apply any hydration/moisture oriented serums, ampoules, moisturizers, sheet masks, and occlusives I have on hand. I find it maximizes the benefits of both the dermaplaning and the products used!
If, like me, you have any lingering scars, please be patient with yourself and your dermaplaning practice. It takes time to undo damage done to deep layers of the skin, like that which often remains after chickenpox or acne. However, the accumulative effect of dermaplaning and deeper penetrating skincare will add up over time! No longer will your peach fuzz throw off the smoothness of your makeup, even in harsh outdoor or overhead light! The hair on your face won’t grow in any thicker or darker, either! Liberate yourself from the extra texture on your face, and let your skin shine!