Note: Criswell & Criswell is an Agenda partner but this is not a paid feature. This is about my firsthand experience with this specific procedure.
I’m always on the hunt for the least painful, most effective skincare treatments to keep me looking closer to 24 as I creep towards 34. So I stopped by Criswell & Criswell’s SouthPark office last month to have my entire face shaved with a scalpel. You read that correctly.
The procedure, called dermaplaning, is a quick, easy way to manually remove the top layer of skin cells and reveal brighter, fresher skin. I absolutely loved it. Here’s the deal…
What is dermaplaning?
Dermaplaning is a non-invasive exfoliation procedure utilizing a scalpel to gently scrape off the top layer of dead skin cells and fine vellus hair. That’s a complex way of saying a trained skincare professional shaves your entire face with a sterile, super-sharp medical-grade razor.
Whatever you do, don’t sneeze.
What are the benefits?
The older we get, the slower our skin cells regenerate. In your teens, skin cell turnover occurs every 3-4 weeks, but it slows to every 30-40 days in adulthood. But you can “force” skin cell turnover using different exfoliating techniques, including chemical peels or manual exfoliation like scrubs or dermaplaning.
Dermaplaning removes the top layer of dead skin cells and “peach fuzz” to reveal smoother, more luminous skin. The process is said to help reduce acne scarring and hyperpigmentation as well as the appearance of fine lines.
You may also find that skincare products penetrate better and makeup goes on smoother.
Does it hurt? Is there any down time?
Dermaplaning is a non-invasive, topical procedure — kind of like getting a facial. It doesn’t hurt at all and there’s zero down time. You won’t experience any redness or discomfort. I went in the middle of the work day and jumped right back in afterwards.
That said, there is a scalpel at your face so there is minor risk of a small nick if you move abruptly. Stay still, don’t talk and establish some kind of signal to your esthetician in case you need to sneeze or cough unexpectedly.
My dermaplaning procedure was followed by a mask treatment that included extractions (clearing blocked pores). If you have any congestion, extractions can cause some redness at the site.
Can anyone do it?
Dermaplaning is safe for most people. Main contraindications of dermplaning include severe widespread acne (they can work around isolated breakouts), open skin lesions, skin cancer, active cold sores, use of Acutane in the last 6 months and use of prescription retinol in the last week.
Your esthetician will run through a list of questions that address these and all other concerns prior to beginning.
How long does it last?
It depends. My esthetician recommended every 4-6 weeks (to align with my natural cell turnover rate) but said she has some clients who won’t tolerate a single millimeter of peach fuzz regrowth and prefer to come in weekly for vanity reasons.
How much does it cost?
Won’t my hair grow back in darker and thicker?
Nope. This is the #1 question and biggest misconception. Your hair will grow back in exactly the same way it was before it was gone. But there are a couple things about the regrowth that can trick you into thinking it’s coming in coarser.
- If you’ve never had a completely smooth face before (it’s honestly pretty bizarre to have all your peach fuzz gone), the sensation of those hairs growing back in can come as a shock. You’ve just never felt it before.
- Also, because the hair has a blunt edge from the razor and is standing straight up as it first emerges, it may feel “sharper” or “thicker” than it was before. It’s not.
I got a little nervous as I experienced both of those things during the regrowth. But three weeks out from my treatment I can assure you my fine blond peach fuzz is precisely as fine and blond as it was before it was shaved off along with my skin cells. No stress.
Can’t I just do it at home myself?
Sort of. You can shave your face at home, but you’re not exactly dermaplaning. Dermaplaning is a precise procedure performed by a trained professional with sterile, medical-grade tools. But you’ll still get some hair removal and exfoliation benefits if you shave at home.
Real Housewives fans will likely remember Caroline Manzo’s infamous face-shaving scenes in Manzo’d with Children where she’s seen using a standard multi-blade razor on her entire face. It’s not for hair removal; she credits her flawless skin with a 10-year commitment to the at-home practice. Most tutorials I’ve seen rely on Tinkle eyebrow razors for at-home face shaving.