No, Dermaplaning and Shaving Are Not The Same Thing

No, Dermaplaning and Shaving Are Not The Same Thing featured image
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Taking a razor to your face can be intimidating. But when done properly, you have nothing to worry about with dermaplaning. That explains why the treatment has gone viral. Dermaplaning offers so much more than hair removal—it also delivers exfoliation, creating a smoother canvas for makeup and allowing skincare products to absorb better.

But before you see a pro or pick up that special little razor yourself, here’s everything you need to know about dermaplaning, straight from the experts themselves.

  • Marisa Garshick, MD is a dermatologist based in New York
  • Rebecca Marcus, MD is a dermatologist based in Dallas, TX
  • Kendal Galette is an aesthetician and DERMAFLASH educator
  • Robin Evans is a brow and beauty expert

What is dermaplaning?

“Dermaplaning refers to a specific type of physical exfoliation that removes buildup of dead skin cells as well as peach fuzz, medically known as the vellus hairs,” explains New York dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD. “It refers to a type of facial shaving that uses a single blade to glide across the skin and scrape the surface.”

Traditional dermaplaning is a form of exfoliation that uses a surgical scalpel to also remove built-up debris, adds aesthetician and DERMAFLASH educator Kendal Galette. “It’s typically performed in a med spa or doctor’s office by a licensed professional,” she says.

How long does dermaplaning last?

Both the hair removal and exfoliation last about a month, according to brow and beauty expert and Founder of LÉVANS BEAUTY, Robin Evans. The amount of time between appointments can range according to how long it takes for hair to regrow. “This will vary from person to person depending on the length of their hair growth cycle,” says Dallas, TX dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, MD. It also varies by the amount of built-up debris and vellus hair.

How much does dermaplaning cost?

“Cost varies depending on your location, but, in general, you can expect to pay between $150 to $200 for a full facial with dermaplaning, or $50 to $75 as an add-on service,” Galette says.

You can also purchase disposable dermaplaning tools for at-home use for under $10, according to Evans.

What is the downside of dermaplaning?

Proceed with caution! It’s important to remember that dermaplaning isn’t the best option for everyone. “In general, dermaplaning can be done on all skin types, however, it is important to avoid if you are experiencing an active flare of acne or rosacea,” Dr. Garshick advises. “In some individuals, it may cause additional breakouts or potential irritation, especially among those with sensitive skin.” It should also be avoided on sunburned skin, irritated skin and skin prone to folliculitis, psoriasis or eczema.

Always be careful, as Galette points out that traditional dermaplaning uses an open scalpel blade, so there are no safeguards against nicks or cuts. Proper methodology is key to avoiding razor burn or sensitizing skin. “You should also avoid it after other exfoliators like lasers and peels, and if using Retin-A or on Accutane,” Evans adds. Always ask your dermatologist if you’re unsure.

Keep in mind that dermaplaning isn’t a permanent hair removal solution. “When fine vellus hairs regrow, they may have trouble penetrating the skin, resulting in folliculitis,” cautions Dr. Marcus.

Is dermaplaning the same as shaving your face?

“Shaving is basically what you intuitively know it is. Shaving. Removing hair. Dermaplaning is removing hair, but it’s also an exfoliation treatment,” Evans says. “It’s closer to the skin and removes more dead cells in a thorough, intended way.”

Though both dermaplaning and shaving remove hair from skin’s surface, that’s where the similarities end. “Traditional razors are designed for terminal hair, which is what women grow on their legs and men grow on their faces,” Galette says. “Each strand of terminal hair is like a piece of copper wire, which is why men must lubricate their beards for removal. Women grow vellus hair, which is like fine, cottony fluff.”

Does hair grow back thicker after dermaplaning?

This answer may surprise you: Because the hair on your face is vellus, it will not grow back thicker. “This is the number-one question we get, and the answer is no,” Galette says. “Traditional dermaplaning and sonic dermaplaning do not change the hair follicle or affect hair’s natural growth pattern in any way. If you stop dermaplaning (and why would you?), your peach fuzz will grow back exactly as it was before—no thicker, no darker and no differently.”

Is dermaplaning actually good for your skin?

Our pros give this one a resounding yes. “Aside from removing the peach fuzz, which makes your makeup apply better, you’re giving your skin a deep exfoliation which brightens your skin, helps with superficial acne scarring, and increases cell turnover,” Evans says.

By removing dead skin cells and peach fuzz, dermaplaning helps to leave the skin looking brighter, more radiant and less dull. “It works to soften and smooth the skin while improving overall skin tone and texture,” Dr. Garshick says. “Dermaplaning may also help improve penetration of skin-care products.”

What is the best way to do dermaplaning?

Seeing a pro is the best way to avoid mistakes. “In my opinion, dermaplaning is best left to professionals,” Dr. Marcus says.

But as long as you do your homework, you can take matters into your own hands. Always start with clean skin and a fresh dermaplaning tool. “The dermaplaning tool must be manipulated in a certain way to avoid damaging or irritating the skin, and the blade should be sterile,” Dr. Marcus says. “Using a non-sterile home device increases the risk of folliculitis (inflamed bumps around hair follicles).”

Make sure skin is completely dry before you begin. “The drier the skin, the better,” Galette says. “Hold the skin tight. Keep the scalpel at a 45-degree angle. Use short, feathery strokes in the direction of the hair growth to remove any vellus hair or dead skin cells. Avoid going directly over the lips, nose and around the sensitive areas of the eye. Dispose of the blade at the end of every treatment—this is essential to avoid re-introducing bacteria to the skin.”

Evans recommends using the tool in an upward motion, against the hair growth. “When doing your brows, razor from the outside of the brow, toward the inside, and between the brows go downward,” she advises. “There is conflicting information out there as to whether you use lotion or oil because you shave with shaving lotion and oil, but dermaplaning should always be done on dry skin.”

Once dermaplaning is complete, follow up with a gentle skin-care routine, avoiding strong exfoliating ingredients 48 to 72 hours after dermaplaning.

Shop dermaplaning tools and skin care

1 / 7

Dorco Tinkle Razors ($6)

“I love Tinkle razors for the face because they are a really nice width and give a thorough yet safe exfoliation,” Evans says.

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Dorco razor
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Japonesque Brow Touch Up Razors ($6)

“They are extra sharp for hairs that are a little more coarse under the brows, and the width of the razors are perfect for brow shaping,” Evans says.

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Japonesque razor
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Schick Hydrosilk Dermaplaning Wand ($20)

“Containing protective micro-guards, this wand glides easily while the silicone grip makes it easy to control and maneuver,” Dr. Garshick says. “It is a great option for a beginner and comes with six refills.”

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schick dermaplaning
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Versed Instant Gratification At-Home Dermaplaning Tool ($20)

“This tool uses a slip-free grip, which makes it easy to use,” Dr. Garshick says. “It uses a stainless-steel single-edge blade to provide an easy and accurate shave. With a reusable metal handle, each blade should be replaced after three to four uses.”

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Beauty Pie Triple Hyaluronic Acid & Lipopeptide Serum ($50)

“Products used after dermaplaning should not be irritating, as skin may have increased sensitivity,” Dr. Marcus says. “Active ingredients will be even more effective when applied after dermaplaning due to increased penetration into the skin. Beauty Pie Triple Hyaluronic Acid & Lipopeptide Serum provides intense hydration via three different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, plus skin barrier supporting ceramides and wrinkle fighting peptides. This serum would be ideal for boosting glow and hydration after dermaplaning.”

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Andalou Naturals Deep Hydration Daily Shade + Blue Light Defense Facial Lotion ($19)

“This contains zinc oxide and provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB coverage while also using ectoin to protect against blue light and pollution, making it a great option post-procedure,” Dr. Garshick says.

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Andalou defense
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A go-to for both Dr. Garshick and Galette, “this is a safer and more advanced alternative to traditional dermaplaning powered by sonic technology,” Galette says. “You get all the amazing benefits of traditional dermaplaning and so much more. It’s safe, gentle, the results are instant, and the fuzz-free glow is like nothing else. As an esthetician, I love that it’s more than just a quick fix. Yes, you get immediate glow and peach fuzz removal, but it also improves the health and appearance of your skin in the long term. The high-level sonic vibration helps the device glide smoothly and safely over the contours of the face. DERMAFLASH LUXE+ uses a proprietary Microfine Edge with a custom-designed safety cage, which allows it to exfoliate and remove pesky peach fuzz while giving your skin maximum protection from cuts or scrapes. It is specifically designed for the delicate skin and vellus hair on a woman’s face.”

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