Is dermaplaning bad for your skin? We explain

Is dermaplaning bad for your skin- esthetician working on facial skin of young woman

Taking good care of your skin is important for your health and aging well. As fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone start to make an appearance in our 30s, 40s, and beyond, you may be on the hunt for treatments that improve the health, look, and feel of your skin. In that case, you’ve probably stumbled across dermplaning. There’s so much controversy out there on if dermaplaning is bad for your skin or good. We’re here to weigh in.

The lowdown on dermaplaning

Young woman smiling with gorgeous skin- holding her fingers around her left eye to accentuate her skin

Most of the questions we hear about dermaplaning center around whether or not it’s bad for your skin and the same as shaving. We also get asked if it’s dangerous—because, hello, that looks like a straight-up scalpel your esthetician will be using. So, first, let’s all get on the same page about what exactly dermaplaning is.

Dermaplaning’s a minimally invasive skin treatment that’s become very popular. During the treatment, an esthetician exfoliates your skin with a dermatome, which is a scalpel used in medical procedures like a skin graft. Your (well-trained!) esthetician thoroughly and carefully scrapes the dermatome along your skin. Yes, the technique shaves off the tiny vellus hairs on your face. (And no, they will not grow back dark or thicker.) But, more importantly, dermaplaning isn’t “just shaving.” It removes dead skin cells—possibly about two to three weeks worth. That leaves your skin feeling softer and looking smoother.

First things first: is dermaplaning safe?

Is dermaplaning safe? Closeup young woman getting ready for dermaplaning.

With any procedure—even minimally invasive ones like dermaplaning—it’s important to check its safety record first. Overall, we consider dermaplaning safe, as long as your esthetician is trained in the procedure and uses sterile equipment. But it still comes with risks. Just like with anything that involves a sharp instrument, there’s the potential of cuts or nicks. With any breakage of the skin, infection becomes a possibility. So do scars.

Is dermaplaning bad for your skin? The pros and cons

Is dermaplaning bad for your skin? Young woman on green background has arms out to weigh pros and cons

The pros of dermaplaning the skin

If you want to remove dark or coarse hairs from your face, dermaplaning is an option. Because of the preciseness of the dermatome tool, it can be much more precise than just shaving your face with a razor. Also, during dermaplaning, your “peach fuzz” gets taken off too. This can help limit how much oil gets trapped in your pores—which can help limit future pimples.

But there are other perks too. With so many dead skin cells removed in the process, wrinkles look a little deep. It also can reduce the look of acne scars—but is never a good option for an active breakout. Overall, you may feel like your skin looks smoother, softer, and brighter, thanks to sloughing off those dead skin cells.

The cons of dermaplaning the skin

Now that you’ve heard all the pluses of dermaplaning, let’s talk about instances when dermaplaning could be bad for your skin. If you’re working on restoring your skin barrier (so much good information on that here!), talk to your esthetician or dermatologist about if dermaplaning is okay. Usually, the answer is yes. Why? You’ll only go in for dermaplaning about once every 8 weeks. That said, there is the potential for dermaplaning to temporarily disrupt the skin barrier a bit. You’ll want to make sure the benefits to you outweigh this risk.

Aside from that, other cons include the risk for cuts to the face. And, honestly, the price tag. In some places, that can set you back anywhere up to $250. (In fact, beware of places offering dermaplaning for less than $150. And do your due diligence on the legitimacy of your provider no matter what.) At that price, know that there are other exfoliation options that may do a better job than dermaplaning.

Does dermaplaning hurt?

If you have ever gone for a chemical peel or waxing, dermaplaning will be a cinch. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) hurt. In fact, it’s completely painless and just feels like a gentle scraping across your skin. Actually, the biggest reason people don’t enjoy it is that they’re tense because they’re worried about getting nicked. Take a deep breath and relax. If you’re with a reputable professional, you’re in good hands.

Who should absolutely not try dermaplaning?

If you have acne—whether hormonal or another type—don’t give dermaplaning a try until it clears up. It can open you up to infections and discomfort. Is a pimple a big deal? No. Your esthetician can avoid it—and will do any extractions that you need after your dermaplaning to reduce the risk of infection.