Dermaplaning Is the Secret to Brighter, Smoother Skin
Even though I'm a huge proponent for everyone wearing as much makeup as they want to, I'm personally of the skin-first philosophy: That is, I prefer to painstakingly fret over my face, lathering all kinds of creams and serums in a quest for what I suppose to be the non-existent "flawless complexion," so I don't need to wear so much makeup.
Lately, I'd noticed my skin, now at the ripe age of 32-years-old, didn't have that same Noxzema-girl luster as it did just a few years ago in my 20s. (Aging is a real thing, you guys.) And while I've enlisted a variety of anti-aging creams approved by top derms and experts alike, I wanted to find a way to get fresh-faced quickly. So when the aesthetician who turned me onto the skin-wonder phenomenon of microneedling let me know of her latest innovation, I had to learn more—and try the at-home treatment for myself. (FYI, here's Everything You Need to Know About Microneedling.)
Dermaplaning, according to Kerry Benjamin, the founder of Stacked Skincare in Santa Monica, California, "gently removes dead skin cell build-up and fine facial hair for a brighter and smoother complexion, while also allowing products to fully soak into the skin, boosting the efficacy of the serums and creams." In medical spas and aesthetic offices, the procedure can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 depending on where you live, but her at-home tool is literally a fraction of the cost, packaged with a trio of replacement blades, too.
Although the treatment has gotten a lot of buzz recently, it isn't entirely groundbreaking. "Beauty bloggers have talked about at-home dermaplaning over the years, but they've used a cheap plastic tool intended to touch up your eyebrows." Definitely do not try that at home, FYI.
"I also think a lot of women are getting over the stigma of 'shaving their face' and realizing that dermaplaning is one of the best treatments to exfoliate the dead skin, and also remove peach fuzz, leaving your skin instantly glowing and dewy," Benjamin said, to which I can't disagree. I mean, at 32, I want skin as smooth as a baby's butt. And no, I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I'll try almost anything (at least once) to get the job done.
Plus, it works on all complexions (unlike laser hair removal, which is best for an extremely specific skin tone and hair type) and takes only five to ten minutes—perfect for those who want smoother, brighter skin but are also too busy (or lazy!) to devote tons of time to beauty treatments. In addition to the Stacked Skincare tool, I also stumbled on one of Sephora's top-selling skin-care tools, the DermaFlash. Similar to the manual dermaplane, this electronically powered model is a souped-up version of the Stacked Skincare tool, except it comes with a set of six blades (you should use about one per week) in addition to an oil-removing cleanser to use beforehand, and a soothing, hydrating cream to apply after completing the at-home treatment. Great for all skin tones, notes Benjamin, the whole thing can be done in about 5 to 10 minutes, once a week.
All you do is pull skin taut with one hand, and using the other, make sweeping strokes from the hairline in towards the nose, being extra careful to not nick or cut yourself. (Just another reason to change the blade after every use. You need a fresh one every time for the safest, most hygienic experience.) You'll want to avoid sensitive spots, like near your eyes or lips. (Or, you can just watch these videos from Stacked Skincare and DermaFlash, which feature the respective founders giving you the exact step-by-step how-to.)
An important note: If you've got bad acne, skip dermaplaning, as you won't want to spread the bacteria across your face and possibly create more zits, says Benjamin. (Same goes for microneedling—skip if you have acne.) And if you suffer from a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, make sure to see a professional first.
Although I had to wait an extra week to dermaplane thanks to a lovely hormonal zit smack-dab-in-the-center of my cheek, the results were incredible. Yes, I did nick myself once or twice on the bonier parts of my face, like my jawline, but everything else was smooth sailing, literally. (But I am feeling hard for men who cut themselves shaving, TBH.) All the peach fuzz that's been around for 32 years? Gone. And all the dead skin cells that have built up from a winter's worth of NYC weather, environmental stressors, and life stress? Also gone.
The best part, though, was that my husband, who notices nothing—like a haircut, let's say—commented that my face looked "radiant." And while I would never use another person as the barometer of my own beauty, it did reinforce my belief that dermaplaning is the secret to bright, smooth skin you never knew about. Until now, that is.
This article originally appeared on Shape.com.