The Difference Between Dermaplaning and Shaving, Explained
While it looked a bit differently, hair removal has been a part of skincare routines since 30,000 B.C.E. Cavemen wielded seashells and rocks to “tweeze” their body hair (ouch!) and ancient Egyptians shaved from head to toe, even preferring wigs over their natural hair. The Japanese have been shaving their face—a practice called Kao Sori—for centuries and, in the US, dermaplaning has been recommended by dermatologists as a treatment for acne since the 1970s.
Suffice to say, shaving and/or dermaplaning your face isn’t a new concept. If you are new to it, however, it’s understandable to be confused about the difference between the two. With help from celebrity esthetician Ildi Pekar and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ava Shambam, we dive into the benefits of dermaplaning tools—and how they differ from razors and eyebrow shavers—below.
WHAT IS DERMAPLANING?
Dermaplaning is a skincare practice that sloughs off layers of dead skin cells and vellus hair (a.k.a. peach fuzz) from the skin, leaving it smooth, even, and bright. It is best described as a crossover between hair removal and physical exfoliation. “Dermaplaning can be performed in the office by a medical aesthetics practitioner using a surgical-grade scalpel or with an at-home tool,” says Dr. Shambam. Our reusable Instant Gratification At-Home Dermaplaning Tool uses stainless steel, single-edge blades to provide professional-grade exfoliation from your very own sink.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DERMAPLANER TOOLS AND RAZORS
Compared to razors and disposable eyebrow shavers, dermaplaners are a more thorough, safer form of hair removal, Pekar explains. “Dermaplaning tools offer a different angle with an edge that is less sharp than a traditional razor and cuts a thicker keratin protein structure in the terminal hair,” Shambam agrees. They also contain fewer blade guards than disposable razors and shavers, providing a meticulous, close shave that not only removes peach fuzz, but layers of dead skin cells that can contribute to dark spots, bumpy texture, and acne.
If you are less focused on exfoliation and simply want to remove stray eyebrow hairs or body hair, a razor is perfectly sufficient.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF SKIN BEFORE AND AFTER DERMAPLANING
BEFOREWhether you’re dermaplaning or shaving, always start with clean skin to prevent dirt and pollutants from infiltrating the pores. For the skin below your chin, we recommend exfoliating with a gentle body scrub or an AHA shower gel for a better shave and fewer ingrown hairs. However, we not recommend the same for the face, which is much thinner and more easily sensitized. Plus, if you’re dermaplaning, you’re already exfoliating.
AFTERThe best part about dermaplaning and shaving is the instant results. You’ll notice a softer, smoother complexion immediately afterward. For dermaplaning specifically, expect a brighter tone and unclogged pores, too.
To prolong these results, it’s important to protect the newly revealed skin cells. According to Shambam, you’ll want to stick to anti-inflammatories and calming ingredients that restore hydration and remedy sensitization or redness. “Do not use an exfoliator or any acidic products afterward,” Pekar warns. “Stick to alcohol-free hydrating serums, moisturizers, and facial oils instead.” Some soothing ingredients to look for include chamomile, ceramides, niacinamide, green tea, and aloe, found in our Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream. For body hair removal, apply the Keep It Supple Body Oil, made with the soothing calendula extract, for instant moisture.
Don’t forget to follow up with a broad spectrum SPF, such as Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen, to shield your freshly exfoliated skin from UV rays and pollution.
The experts also recommend avoiding the following for at least 24 hours before and after dermaplaning and/or shaving:
- Chemical exfoliants
- Sun exposure
- Excessive heat (e.g. sauna)
Read up on other at-home skincare tools next.