9 tips for dermaplaning at home

Dermaplaning is a new trend for smooth, clear skin. But what is it, and can you do it at home?

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Stephanie Papanikolas
Jan 24, 2022 · 8 min read

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Hi, it’s me, your favorite skincare blogger, here again with my mustache and acne scars. I wanted to try at-home dermaplaning (aka dermablading), but I was a bit nervous about it—there’s a serious lack of clinical research on the long-term benefits and side effects of at-home dermaplaning.

So what’s this facial fad really about? Before we dive into details, let's start with the basics.

What is dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning (AKA dermablading) is an exfoliating skin treatment. It involves the use of a small scalpel to remove the topmost layer of the skin, known as "peach fuzz." Dermaplaning scrapes away dead skin cells and exfoliates the surface of the skin.

I’ve been using Tinkle razors to shave fine facial hair for years—it wasn’t until I sat down to research this article that I realized many people consider these small, single-blade razors to be an at-home dermaplaning tool. So, technically speaking, in addition to exfoliating, dermaplaning is also a hair removal technique.

The main benefit of at-home dermaplaning is that it exfoliates and smooths the skin by scraping its surface. A smooth canvas makes it easier to apply my makeup flawlessly. Removing fine, dark hairs on my face also helps brighten my complexion. But is this just personal grooming? Or is the at-home dermablade technique a legitimate form of physical exfoliation that benefits the skin?

Should you try professional dermaplaning? Is it worth it?

Dr. Julie Akiko Gladsjo, a board-certified dermatologist at Curology says, “In the world of beauty blogging, ‘professional dermaplaning’ almost always refers to a cosmetic procedure performed by an esthetician or medical provider. They use a medical-grade blade to gently ‘shave’ the surface of your skin, removing dead skin cells and peach fuzz. This cosmetic procedure isn’t surgery and generally has little to no recovery time.”

5 potential benefits of dermaplaning

  1. Exfoliation. Dermaplaning can help remove some of the excess dead skin cells on your face.

  2. Smoother skin. Dermaplaning can leave your skin looking and feeling smoother. 

  3. Hair removal. Some people like how their skin looks and feels without facial hair. That’s not to say that you need to remove it—it’s totally a personal preference, and we support you either way! 

  4. Reduce appearance of scars. Dermaplaning, especially when performed by a professional, is meant to remove surface layers of the skin, which may help the appearance of scarring.¹

  5. Easier makeup application. Dermaplaning can make your skin feel smoother, which can make makeup application feel like a breeze. Compare painting on a sheet of paper to painting on concrete.

Possible side effects of dermaplaning

Different skin types react differently to different treatments. Depending on your skin type, some of the most common side effects of dermaplaning can include sensitivity and redness. If this happens, giving your skin a rest can actually go a long way! That might mean taking a day or two off from using products with salicylic acid, tretinoin, or other strong active ingredients.

Dermablade facials performed by estheticians or medical professionals are generally safe. So long as they have a good eye and a steady hand, your face should feel like a baby’s bottom. The biggest risk of the procedure is getting a cut (think of nicks when you cut yourself shaving). 

Cuts are unlikely when the tool is in the hands of someone with proper training and loads of experience, but might be more common if you're dermaplaning at home.

Is dermaplaning safe?

What do dermatologists think of dermaplaning? Dr. Gladsjo says, “If the goal is a smooth, hairless face, at-home dermaplaning is a good option! It physically exfoliates the skin and removes peach fuzz, so it’s great for this. In-office dermaplaning is generally safe. You can talk to a professional to find out if it's right for you!” 

In 2011, a team of plastic surgeons published a systematic review of medical research on dermaplaning, oxygen therapy, and light therapy as non-invasive facial rejuvenation strategies. After looking at 42 peer-reviewed studies, they concluded, “The overall amount of scientific data supporting [dermaplaning] was found to be scarce, anecdotal, and not well documented.” Despite this, cosmetic dermaplaning procedures continue to grow in popularity.²

Young woman shaving her face by razor

How to dermaplane at home

Now that we’re up-to-date on the medical evidence (or lack thereof) about dermaplaning: if you want to use a tiny baby dermaplaning razor to remove fuzz from your face, here’s how to do it.

  • Always cleanse your skin first. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

  • Use small, single-blade razors, like the ones made by Tinkle. These types of razors are easier to use for dermaplaning.

  • While your skin is still damp, draw the dermablade to remove fine hairs and peach fuzz. 

  • Generally, peach fuzz is thickest around the jaw, neck, and upper lip, so focus on those areas first. 

  • Shaving with grain is usually the gentlest on your skin.

  • Keep the blade relatively parallel to the skin. And be careful not to cut into the flesh.  

  • Don’t dermablade over acne breakouts or inflamed skin.  

  • Check your work with a magnified mirror in natural light. Go over any parts of your cheeks, chin, upper lip, or neck that are still fuzzy. 

  • Be careful if you're shaving against the grain. Upward motion can help get rid of stubborn fuzz, but it's also easier to cut yourself.

How to take care of your skin after dermaplaning

Dermaplaning is an exfoliating treatment, so you’re going to want to give your skin plenty of hydration afterward. After you finish dermaplaning, treat any nicks by dabbing on a protective layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor. Then, follow up with a moisturizer. One with hyaluronic acid is especially good for water retention, helping your skin look bright and plump. If you have especially dry skin, pamper your face with a thick moisturizer like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream or La Roche-Posay Toleraine Double Moisturizer

Laying off chemical and physical exfoliators for a while could be another good idea, especially if your skin is feeling sensitive. In the days after your facial, keep your use of serums and other skincare products simple. Make sure to apply SPF extra-regularly to protect your fresh new skin cells, and consider skipping chemical and physical exfoliators if your skin is feeling sensitive.

How often should you dermaplane? 

Once a month is generally enough, especially if you’re getting a professional dermaplaning treatment. And you may be wondering if you can dermaplane if you have acne. Yes—you can! However, you should dermaplane around any active pimples and never over them. Your dermaplane tool might rupture breakouts, potentially leading to acne scarring

So does dermaplaning help acne? 

Meh…dermaplaning doesn’t do a whole lot to get rid of acne. The main benefits of dermaplaning are temporarily brightening and smoothing the skin. 

Is my skin more sensitive to the sun after dermaplaning?

Yes, you should avoid sun exposure after dermaplaning (and you’re smart for asking). Exfoliating treatments like dermaplaning can increase sun sensitivity, so be sure to wear sunscreen and practice sun avoidance.

Should you see a professional or do it at home?

It’s totally up to you! There are pros and cons to both, so it’s important to know what to realistically expect.

Dermaplaning with a professional

A certified dermatologist or esthetician will use an angled surgical blade for shaving, rather than a single blade you can buy at the drugstore. This means that it’ll be easier to get rid of the layers of dead skin cells—so, in terms of exfoliation, this is the more effective way to go. You’ll also be able to chat with a dermaplaning professional, which can be very appealing if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, or specific skin concerns. 

Of course, going to a professional comes with some costs—literally. Dermaplaning sessions at a salon can be pricey, especially compared to going the DIY route at home.

Dermaplaning at home

If you’re comfortable doing it yourself, dermaplaning from the comfort of home might be the more attractive option. It’s generally safe, it’s a lot less expensive than going into a salon, and you don’t have to put on pants to do it.

However, most DIY dermaplaning kits come with just a small single blade—which isn’t to say that you won’t be able to remove dead skin cells! But it is more likely that you’ll be removing just your facial hair.

Let confidence be your guide

At the end of the day, dermaplaning isn’t a skin routine necessity, so whether or not you choose to dermaplane is a personal preference. At the same time, the results of regular dermaplaning—either at-home or at the salon—won’t compare to a good skincare regime that includes regular sunscreen application and the wisdom of dermatology. 

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FAQs

What is dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning (AKA dermablading) is an exfoliating skin treatment. It involves the use of a small scalpel to remove the topmost layer of the skin, known as "peach fuzz." Dermaplaning scrapes away dead skin cells and exfoliates the surface of the skin.

Is dermaplaning safe?

Dr. Gladsjo says, “If the goal is a smooth, hairless face, at-home dermaplaning is a good option! It physically exfoliates the skin and removes peach fuzz, so it’s great for this. In-office dermaplaning is generally safe. You can talk to a professional to find out if it's right for you!”

How often should you dermaplane?

Once a month is generally enough, especially if you’re getting a professional dermaplaning treatment.

Does dermaplaning help acne?

Dermaplaning doesn’t do a whole lot to get rid of acne. The main benefits of dermaplaning are temporarily brightening and smoothing the skin.

Should you see a professional or do it at home?

Dermaplaning with a professional

A certified dermatologist or esthetician will use an angled surgical blade for shaving, rather than a single blade you can buy at the drugstore. This means that it’ll be easier to get rid of the layers of dead skin cells—so in terms of exfoliation, this is the more effective way to go.

Dermaplaning at home

If you’re comfortable doing it yourself, dermaplaning from the comfort of home might be the more attractive option. It’s generally safe, it’s a lot less expensive than going into a salon, and you don’t have to put on pants to do it.

• • •

P.S. We did the research so you don’t have to:

  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine.Dermabrasion and Dermaplaning. (n.d.)

  2. Pryor, L., et al. Dermaplaning, topical oxygen, and photodynamic therapy: a systematic review of the literature. Aesthetic plastic surgery. (2011).

This article was originally published on January 24, 2022, and updated on May 9, 2022.

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We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

Nicole Hangsterfer Avatar

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C

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