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Chances are, you’ve seen one of your fave beauty influencers taking a facial razor and scraping it down the sides of their face, collecting peach fuzz along the way. And while they’re doing it, they explain that what they’re doing is known as dermaplaning. They extol the benefits of it, claiming their makeup looks more seamless, and their skin absorbs products better.

If they’re saying it, it must be true right? So you’ve probably also thought of trying it yourself, but there’s no denying — it’s scary to put a knife to your face and scrape away. Plus, you’re unsure if you should actually even be doing this. So we chatted with Dr Rachel Ho, an aesthetic doctor at La Clinic, who’s giving us the down low.

Firstly, what is dermaplaning?

“It’s a non-invasive medical procedure that removes the superficial layer of skin and vellus hair (peach fuzz) by gently shaving off the top layer of skin and vellus hair. It’s commonly done with a small scalpel, although a device known as an automated dermatome gets the job done too”, Dr Ho shares. “It’s different from shaving, which involves using a razor blade to cut hair at the level of the skin, and does not remove any layer of skin.”

What are the benefits of dermaplaning? Any potential downsides?

“You’ll get softer, rejuvenated skin because of the exfoliation effect,” Dr Ho says. “Some dark spots may be lightened and peach fuzz is removed, making the skin smoother.” Sounds amazing, but before you check out your dermaplanning tool, understand that there might be some drawbacks as well.

“You may experience redness, irritation and hypersensitivity due to the exfoliation effect. Also, there’s a risk of cutting the skin, which can lead to infections, scarring and hyperpigmentation,” she points out.

So, can I try it and should I try it?

Pretty much anybody can get dermaplaning done, although those with infections or active inflammation in the skin, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, should avoid it so as to not exacerbate the condition, Dr Ho advises.

And yes! You can definitely DIY at home with a dermaplaning kit or a facial razor. 

But you’re not an aesthetician after all, so keep in mind a few things when going the DIY route — the risk of cutting your skin and getting an infection is higher than when done in a clinic, because your tools may not be sterile, and your skin may not be appropriate or adequately disinfected. To do it safely, Dr Ho has some tips:

“Ensure your face and tools are clean by disinfecting — the closest you can get to sterilising — them before using. When dermaplaning, be gentle with the strokes so you avoid cutting your skin. Also, only perform dermaplaning on yourself when you don’t have any active infections or inflammatory conditions in your skin,” she shares.

Lastly, don’t be overzealous and do it too often. Although it depends on your skin type and rate of hair growth, dermaplaning once every four or six weeks is a safe bet for most.

How should I prep my skin before, and care for it after?

There’s not much to do before starting, just remember to cleanse and disinfect your skin first, she recommends. Afterwards, use a gentle cleanser and moisturise well with barrier repair ingredients such as ceramides and sunscreen because the skin’s sensitivity to UV exposure increases with exfoliation.

Wait! Does this cause stubble?

Fret not — dermaplaning does not cause stubble or increased hair growth. “However, the angle at which the facial hairs are cut may cause the hair shaft to seem different,” Dr Ho warns.