Ask An Expert: Dermaplaning


Face shaving for women – it may sound bizarre but the women in Japan have been practicing this gentle form of exfoliation called “kao sori” for centuries. In the West, the procedure is called dermaplaning. In fact, so popular is the technique in Japan that there are numerous salons specializing in face shaving opening all across the country. Dedicated fans of the technique claim it noticeably brightens, softens and evens the skin. Famous fans include LeAnn Rimes, who told British TV show Loose Women that it makes her face feel like a “baby’s butt”.

We asked Lucinda Holland, a medical aesthetician that provides dermaplaning at Dr. Jason Rivers’ Pacific Dermaesthetics Clinic, to tell us everything we need to know about this popular treatment. Dermaplaning, she explains, “is a simple and safe procedure for exfoliating the epidermis and ridding the skin of vellus hair, also known as peach fuzz, by using a gauge scalpel to gently scrape off dulling skin cells”. The procedure takes about 30-45 minutes and will leave you with skin that is instantly more radiant and glowing.

"Women in Japan have been practicing this gentle form of exfoliation for centuries"

According to Lucinda, dermaplaning is also great if you are looking for “a more even skin tone and texture”. The skin feels much softer with all the peach fuzz gone and the makeup will glide smoother on the face. 

Lucinda recommends the treatment for all skin types except acneic skin. If you have acne, it is best to wait until the breakouts are clear before you try this treatment. For that, we have a helpful resource on how to get rid of acne. Dermaplaning is ideal for people who have dry or sensitive skin and want all the benefits of a professional exfoliation. You might feel a little squeamish when having the sharp scalpel very close to the face but any nerves will disappear as soon as you realize that it’s a completely painless procedure.

But will shaving cause your facial hair to grow back thicker? This is a common myth. Hair will not grow back thicker or coarser in any way. The sensation of dermaplaning is comparable to shaving the legs. There are no side effects and zero downtime. Immediately after the treatment your skin will be highly sensitive to sun exposure and may be slightly rosy after the treatment, so it is very important to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen afterwards (regardless, we recommend using a sunscreen everyday all year round). As it won’t leave your face puffy or red as a tomato – dermaplaning is one of the best last-minute facial treatments to do before a special event! “Dermaplaning can also be part of a combination treatment and performed as a first-step before a chemical peel or microdermabrasion for enhanced exfoliation”, says Lucinda.

While it is best done professionally at a medical spa or dermatology clinic, a lot of women also shave their face at home with facial razors. According to Lucinda, “facial razors will remove the hair, but professional dermaplaning will get a closer shave that not only removes the hair but also the buildup of dead skin”. Lucinda advises to get this treatment done by a trained professional to avoid razor nicks and ingrown hairs. “You are not going to be able to get the same results at home. At a clinic, the treatment is done with a surgical-grade scalpel with delicate strokes”, explains Lucinda. She adds, “Recommendations for home shaving often advise doing it weekly, or even bi-weekly, but this can cause irritation.”

As we discussed in our previous article, exfoliation is an essential part of every skin care regime. Besides its anti-aging benefits, exfoliation prepares your skin for penetration of other skin care products. It can make everything you put on your skin afterwards, from serums to masks even more effective. Rumour has it that even legendary beauties Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor regularly shaved their faces.