Exfoliation is key to healthy, glowing skin for two reasons: It helps get rid of complexion-dulling dead skin cells and helps the skin-care products that you slather on day-after-day absorb more fully and work better. When it comes to how you exfoliate, however, you’ve got a long list of options. While granular scrubs and chemical exfoliants are some of the most popular ways to nix dead skin cells, a growing trend is called dermaplaning. While it’s undeniably effective–more on that in a sec–it’s easy to go overboard when dermaplaning, so we asked skin-care pros how often you should do it.
“Dermaplaning is a way to exfoliate dead skin off the face and basically also shave the face removing small hairs that catch makeup and other topicals we apply to the skin,” says Caren Campbell, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. The procedure is done with a small razor. You can have professionals do this at their offices–it’s called microplaning in these instances–however there are more and more devices that allow you to do this technique at home.
While that sounds a bit intense, the razor is used only to shave the skin, not to cut or puncture your face. Although according to Dr. Campbell, with dermaplaning there is a small risk for getting small cuts in your skin that can lead to infection or scarring.
“Dermaplaning allows skin care to go on more smoothly and gives a smoother feel to the face,” Campbell says. She sometimes recommends dermaplaning before getting a laser treatment because “dermaplaning can help laser devices like Clear and Brilliant or Picoway track better on the skin.”
How often should you dermaplane?
If you’re dermaplaning on the regular and are loving your results, know that you can have too much of a good thing. Dr. Campbell says one dermaplaning session per month is enough to reap the benefits while keeping your skin safe from irritation and over exfoliation.
For more regular exfoliation, Campbell suggests something a little less abrasive like a chemical exfoliant, which is safe to use on a weekly basis in between your dermaplaning sessions.
“I usually recommend washing with a glycolic wash one to two times per week to exfoliate for most patients whether or not they have had a procedure,” says Dr. Campbell.
Signs you’re dermaplaning too often
“It’s normal for some patients to get red, itchy bumps post dermaplaning for a few days,” says Campbell. Outside of some small bumps, if you begin experiencing more sensitive or irritated skin, that’s a tell-tale sign you should cut back on dermaplaning sessions.
Over-exfoliation (no matter what the method) is never a good idea. So how do you know if you’re going overboard, other than irritated skin? “A shiny forehead means that your skin barrier is compromised, or rather that essential skin proteins and fats have been stripped away by harsh skin care,” Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, previously told Well+Good. Other signs to look out for are rosacea and redness, in addition to a shiny forehead and overall more angry, irritated skin.
Shop for dermaplaning tools
Dermaflash Exfoliation & Peach Fuzz Removal Device — $139.00
The gold standard of at-home dermaplaning devices, this vibrating tool helps to leave skin super smooth and ready to slurp up your skin-care ingredients. It comes with multiple razors and post-treatment care.
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Tags: Skin-Care Tips