When I was younger, I – like many South Asian women – realized that with my darker complexion came the curse of dark hair. I wanted to shave my legs for gym class and even my arms, but my mom insisted that I wait until I was older to get a wax.
Maybe I was ahead of the whole “Millennial Instant Gratification” thing – but waiting months to wax was not the move for me. She tried her hardest to convince me that my hair would grow back like a man’s: sharp, coarse, and darker – but I didn’t care. I hated the dark hair and much to do the dismay of my mom, I started shaving in middle school.
My arms, legs, underarms – everything was fair game. I always said that one day I would get laser and even if I got the dark, coarse hair it wouldn’t matter. I needed to know how to dermaplane at home.
As I got older, I realized how much hair was on my face too. Damn, brown women really can’t catch a break. Women around me were bleaching, yes bleaching, their facial hair to be lighter. Some used Nair – which is literally a chemical on their FACE. Others were even threading their entire faces and as fun as that sounded – it was a hard no.
Then I heard about dermaplaning. TL;DR – Dermaplaning removes dead skin and vellus hair aka peach fuzz with a small blade. – I thought it was a fancy way of shaving your face! (editor’s note: I later learned there are big differences between shaving your face + dermaplaning)
I found a video from Michelle Money who is a C list reality tv star who is like famous (in the beauty world) for this. So I caved and bought the recommended Tinkle razor (why they named it this, I have no idea!) from Amazon (you can get it here) and tried it for myself.
I was amazed at how much hair came off the first time and couldn’t believe I was just discovering dermaplaning at home.
I have to say that for me, this came at a time where I decided to get full body laser hair removal done. If you are familiar with the process, you know that in between sessions you have to shave any parts that are being treated. Because of this, it made sense to start shaving my face so that I could get the hair removed during my sessions. While my situation is a little unique, here are answers to the questions that I know you want to ask me:
** Dermatologists do not consider dermaplaning to be “shaving” ones face. The intention of dermaplaning is to remove dead skin cells and possible peach fuzz to allow increased absorption of products. **
To get the right information straight from the source, I went to my favorite derm for a little chat. You might remember Dr. Uddin from our post “A Top Derm Answers Your Biggest Skincare Questions” and now she’s back to share the ins & outs of dermaplaning at home.
Tell me about this expert
Sabrina Uddin, M.D. (I know, twins!) is a board-certified dermatologist based in LA. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her M.D. from the Chicago College of Medicine at the University of Illinois. She recently completed a three-year residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.
Sabrina is a powerhouse on Instagram where she shares valuable information about skincare and educates her audience with product recommendations, process explanations and so much more.
How To Dermaplan At Home
Is it safe?
Dermaplaning is most safe when done by your dermatologist or licensed aesthetician. However, if you are doing home dermaplaning there are safe ways to do it, yes.
Is it ultimately bad for your skin in the long run?
Actually, dermaplaning is actually good for the skin because it removes dead skin cells and stimulates the turnover of your skin cells, promoting overall skin health.
Does dermaplaning dry out your face?
If you have eczema or other dry/flaking skin conditions on the face, you should avoid dermaplaning until the condition is under better control as it could irritate the area. However, if you have normal skin, it should not be drying to the skin.
Should I do it on dry skin, or use some sort of moisturizer first?
Dermaplaning is recommended to be done on dry, clean skin. I tend to do my own dermaplaning first thing in AM prior to cleansing or products. Showering or exercising prior can open up the pores and cause sensitivity or catching of the blade during dermaplaning.
Editor’s note: oops! I always did it after I showed – lesson learned.
Does using an oil first help?
Oils in general are not ideal moisturizers because the molecule is too large to penetrate or help build the skin barrier. Creams are much more effective moisturizers. Wetting the skin with anything prior to dermaplaning is not intended because you are moistening the dead skin cells and peach fuzz making it tougher to remove.
Should I be dermaplaning my face if I’m older and haven’t done it before?
I do dermaplaning on patients of all ages. Its basically a physical exfoliation.
Is it safe for acne-prone skin?
It is safe for acne prone skin, but not skin with active acne as running a blade over pimples can be quite irritating and stimulate the formation of more acne.
What should I look for in choosing a facial razor? Does razor type make a difference?
Yes, a dull razor will make dermaplaning more uncomfortable. In the office I use the equivalent of a scalpel blade which is the most effective way to have someone do it for you.
If you must dermaplane at home, I recommend using a blade with a handle for better control, always using a new blade, if possible, to be as clean as possible. Amazon sells blades with handles and are often sold as “eyebrow razors”. They are duller than medical blades of course, but still sharp enough to do a decent job at home.
How does dermaplaning affect women that have PCOS?
Dermaplaning larger hairs that often grow on the face of patients with PCOS can be irritating. The intention of dermaplaning, as I mentioned, is not to shave the skin it is to remove dead skin cells and peach fuzz. If you have PCOS and thick hairs growing on your face, I strongly recommend laser hair reduction.
During Dermaplaning at Home
How do I dermaplane around my chin area with active acne?
Uh, you don’t. You should avoid dermaplaning if you have active acne.
Do I dermaplane with the grain or against it?
This is a comfort thing. Most will go with the grain, not against. However if it is difficult to go with the grain due to angle or inability to hold tension (making it more risk of cutting oneself) then it’s okay to go against. There is not a big difference. There aren’t any “good” studies supporting either way.
What we should know for next time about dermaplaning at home
How often can I dermaplane?
Remember it is a physical exfoliation. Since home blades are more dull, 1-2 x monthly is typically effective. In office, we generally say as frequently as monthly because the in-office treatments are done with amore fine blade.
How can I control the itching afterwards?
Your face should not be itchy afterwards. Possibly the skin was wet before, or pores more open or maybe too aggressive with the dermaplaning? If you feel sensitive afterwards, this is normal. Use a light (not thick because you do not want to clog your pores) moisturizer and consider a cold pack or ice.
This is one of the few times I will say using a jade roller to cool the area might be helpful, just to calm the inflammation in the skin.
What does aftercare look like? Should I take a day off of using actives in my skincare routine?
I generally recommend only gentle skincare for the first few hours. However post-dermaplaning, the skin clear of dead skin cells and is very receptive to products. So using gentle actives can be very effective.
Can I wear makeup afterwards or should I wait?
Usually a few hours later it is totally fine to wear makeup afterwards.
Does the skin darken over time with dermaplaning?
No. This should not occur. If you are getting enough inflammation from dermaplaning that it causes darkening, you should not dermaplane.
Does the facial hair grow back faster, thicker, or more coarse?
No. There is no evidence to show that the hair grows back thicker.
Will it cause stubble?
If you are only using it on fine hairs and peach fuzz, it should not cause a stubble. Remember, this is not intended for thick hairs. For that I recommend laser hair reduction.
Would you recommend shaving or waxing?
I do not recommend either. Waxing and truly shaving the skin with a shaving blade are both irritating to the skin and cause acne. Waxing removes an entire layer of the skin which can cause breakouts, reactions, as well as hyperpigmentation if the inflammation becomes too much.
Is it possible to get more blackheads after dermaplaning at home?
If you notice an increase of blackheads after dermaplaning, try cutting down on heavy moisturizers and thicker makeup the days you dermaplane. Dermaplaning allows for deeper penetration of products because the skin is now bare and open. You may be clogging the pores with products post-dermplaning.
How much do in-office dermaplaning services usually run?
It varies based on location and who’s doing it, but $100-$200 is the range I’ve seen.
Final thoughts on how to dermaplane at home
Okay I definitely learned a few things in this interview. I was never sure what I was supposed to put on my skin before or after dermaplaning and doc broke it all down for us. This was super informational. A big thank you to Dr. Uddin (also known as Dr. Derm) for her amazing insight. Make sure to follow her!