Illustration by Lindsay Hattrick


How I Became A Dermaplaning Convert

Goodbye, waxing

Unless I'm chopping vegetables, I’m not the biggest fan of knives; so it was disconcerting, to say the least, when I found myself with a scalpel approaching my face recently. But, hey, anything in the name of beauty, right? And I'd really wanted to try dermaplaning, so a scalpel to the face was part of the deal. Of course, no blood was drawn—and, in fact, my face would later be thanking me for the momentary torture it endured.

For anyone unaware of what dermaplaning is, Dr. Mitchell J. Mandel, M.D., F.A.A.D. of Mandel Dermatology, explains it as follows: "a non-invasive treatment that uses a scalpel to gently scrape the surface of the skin.” Basically, a dermatologist or aesthetician takes a scalpel to your face and neck and removes a layer of dead skin cells, while simultaneously exfoliating the skin for a brighter and smoother appearance. In addition to getting rid of the top layer of skin, the procedure also removes all the peach fuzz and unwanted hair on the face, which makes it feel baby-soft.

I was attracted to dermaplaning because I wanted to remove peach fuzz from my entire face. I have dark hair and very fair skin, so pretty much any hair on my face feels super-visible. And while I know that my self-consciousness about my facial hair is my own issue, it's still one I struggle with—so it's real to me. This means I've tried all sorts of painful hair-removal treatments, from sugaring to waxing to threading. Basically, if it removes hair, I’ve tried it. But all of those treatments have hurt. So, when I learned about dermaplaning, which promised to remove all that hair without leaving me red-faced and teary-eyed from the pain, I had to try it.

Dermaplaning is an exfoliating procedure, though the benefits extend beyond hair removal and include lessening the appearance of wrinkles and promoting brighter, softer skin. On top of that, says Dr. Mandel, dermaplaning actually allows your skin-care routine to perform at its best. The procedure, he says, “Is really good for opening up the pores to allow for any skin-care products or serums that you’re using to penetrate deeper into the skin and work a little bit better.”

Dr. Mandel also told me that when you get dermaplaning sessions regularly, the benefits multiply. He suggests the treatment be repeated every three to four weeks for the best and most noticeable results. It's also a great fit for almost every skin type. That said, beware of dermaplaning if you have severe acne problems: “You don’t want to do it if you have cystic acne or pretty serious acne, so we usually wait for it to go down,” Mandel says. “But it’s good for all other skin types.”

The treatment takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete, and it doesn’t hurt like every other form of hair removal I’ve ever undergone—actually, the gentle scraping felt good. Not only were my brows shaped up and my pesky mustache gone, but the rest of the hair on my face had disappeared. I felt like a new person. 

Following my dermaplaning session, I was actually glowing and felt the urge to do away with my (extensive) highlighter collection—something I can’t say I’ve ever felt before. I had also gained a confidence in my appearance that I had not felt in a long time, just from removing the peach fuzz. Since having the treatment done, I have actually noticed that my skin-care regimen does perform a little better, and my face has stayed brighter and softer to the touch. Waxing could never.