Instagram is brimming with it today: videos about dermaplaning, the technique in which the top layer of skin is carefully removed from your face with a specially designed surgical blade. But dermaplaning isn’t new, so why then the hype? We asked Sofie Genie, manageress of Sogenius in Veltem-Beisem.
Text Anja Van Der Borght
Dermaplaning is not new?
SG: “Dermaplaning has been around now for over forty years. With this beauty treatment, we scrape the skin with a surgical blade to remove the top layer of the skin, which consists mostly of dead skin cells and dirt. This has the effect of a very gentle deep peeling without using aggressive products. Plastic surgeons used the technique at the time to make chemical peelings more effective. Over the years, the treatment has evolved and special ‘butter knives’ were introduced, made in stainless steel and carbon steel treated with a polymeric coating, together with the use of a special oil. This oil is specially formulated to nourish and hydrate the skin during treatment. In addition, it ensures that the blade can glide better over the skin, offering more comfort and safety for the customer during dermaplaning. The new treatment came into the spotlight via social media.”
Why the hype?
SG “I think dermaplaning is so trending because today people like to see a healthy glow on their face and this treatment offers just that: this unique smooth ‘perfect skin’ feeling. For example, if you apply make-up after the dermaplaning treatment, it simply looks much nicer. In addition, by scraping the skin with the surgical blade you remove black dots on the nose as well as all downy hairs, which is an extra plus for many customers. Real black hairs on the upper lip, for example, I wax or epilate first. Then I avoid that zone during the dermaplaning treatment because otherwise those hairs can come back thicker. By the way, dermaplaning is virtually painless. For example, it is much less painful than waxing, threading or using a laser.”
“Dermaplaning is currently one of the most efficient methods to exfoliate your skin, to brighten it instantly and prevent clogged pores.”
Why does it sometimes seem that downy hairs come back darker and thicker?
SG: “Because we shave off the hairs, dermaplaning does not affect the growth of the hairs in the hair follicles. It is true that downy hairs end in a narrow point, which made them feel thinner and softer. When the downy hairs are shaved off and begin to grow again, the middle part of the hair appears on the surface with a blunt edge. This makes it feel like the hair is coming back thicker, but it isn’t. When the downy hair has grown back completely, it will look exactly the same as before. Customers who had several dermaplaning treatments will even see that their down hairs decrease in number.”
Dermaplaning is performed with a specially designed blade?
SG: “That’s right. You should definitely not use standard, sterile, surgical blades or pedicure blades! It is also important to show the customer that the blades are coming new out of the original packaging.”
What do you think is good about such a dermaplaning treatment?
SG: “To get started, you should invest in just three products: AHA/BHA Skin Prep Solution, Nourishe Dermaplaning Oil, and NuPeel Natural Enzyme Peeling, for example. For the rest, you can use the products you usually work with for your facial treatments. I also combine the treatment with Environ’s DF device. This device combines pulsed iontophoresis (light electrical impulse) with low-frequency sonophoresis (sound waves) to help skin absorb more essential nutrients where they are needed most. The CooLifting beauty gun is an example of another device that I combine with dermaplaning. This device provides intense skin rejuvenation and ‘shoots’ hyaluronic acid, peptides and hydrolyzed wheat protein onto the skin under high pressure. The beauty gun works with a powerful CO2 jet at a very low temperature (-20°C). As a result, the fibroblasts in the skin are reactivated to produce new collagen.
You work with a toner?
SG: “Surgeons originally used to apply alcohol, but that naturally dries out the skin. That’s why I use a toner based on salicylic acid (which loosens the dead skin cells) combined with lactic acid in low concentrations that will ensure that you create an antibacterial work surface. Lactic acid also has a very good moisturizing effect. After the dead skin cells are soaked off, I apply a DermaplanePro enzyme peeling based on aloe vera that has a very soothing effect. Pineapple and papaya extract used in the peeling will loosen the connections of the cells so that all dead material is properly detached from the skin.”
How do you know that you are not scraping too much of the skin and only take the epidermis with you?
SG: “If you know something about skin improvement, you see where you can go. Sometimes I also tell clients that I prefer not to do the treatment yet because I see that the skin has not yet recovered from the previous treatment. I also try to avoid parchment skins or couperose skins because you end up chafing the skin, which causes the blood vessels to come into action, exactly what you don’t want with couperose or rosacea skins. It also depends on how bad the skin is in question. When clients come for the first time, I usually do a skin scan to assess the condition of the skin.”
Does a certain age benefit more from dermaplaning than another?
SG: “Most of my clients are between 35 and 45 years old because they are introduced to the treatment via Instagram. Older skins are often thinner, so this treatment is not always suitable and we still have to be careful.”
What about customers who have had fillers or botulinum toxin injected?
SG: “No problem at all as long as they leave only two weeks between the botulinum toxin/filler treatment and the dermaplaning so that the injected product does not move during the treatment.”
As a beautician, what do you find difficult about dermaplaning?
SG: “Constantly maintaining an angle of 45° is of course no sinecure, but the fact that you are confronted with many different facial shapes also requires skill. For customers with very angular cheekbones, you really scrape the bone, so you have to make sure that you can maintain that 45° angle. If you use an angle of 25°, you will hardly be able to scrape. You immediately hear by the scraping sound that it is not what it should be. On the other hand, if you work with an angle of 90°, you will almost cut into the skin. I myself can tell by the sound of the scraping whether I am doing it right or not.”
You must know how much pressure you put, right?
SG: “It also took some getting used to for me and a lot of practice. You must constantly hold your blade at a 45° angle and there are areas on the face, such as the chin, upper lip or nose, or in people with pronounced cheekbones where this is not so obvious. It is easier on the forehead or cheek. You really need to get an apprenticeship with a specialized firm.”
Who is the treatment suitable for?
SG: “For anyone who does not have active acne because the treatment can spread the infection just over the rest of the face in acne patients. In other cases, it will actually reduce the risk of acne, for example if you quickly suffer from a thickened horny layer (hyperkeratosis). Dermaplaning helps to thin the horny layer and thereby reduce the risk of acne in this case. In addition, the skin allows the active ingredients of skin care creams or acne creams to penetrate better. The treatment is also extremely suitable for dry skin because the products can do their job extra well afterwards and the planning also acts as a red carpet treatment for those who want to have a beautiful glow on their face for a party or special occasion or for people who suffer from a gray complexion. For a good result, it is best for the latter to do a treatment course which is repeated monthly.”
What about sun or sports after the treatment?
SG: “The skin may be a little red afterwards, but there is usually no downtime. The skin is more sensitive – after all, the top layer of skin has been scraped away – and it is best to avoid exfoliation or fruit acid treatments for five days after the treatment. Avoid the sun, sports and saunas or other things that cause you to sweat excessively for up to 48 hours after the treatment. If you unexpectedly go to a terrace, wear a hat or apply factor 50 every two hours, even in cloudy weather or during the winter months.”
What do you love about dermaplaning?
SG: “The great thing about dermaplaning is that you see immediate results that last for not less than four weeks. The skin has a healthy glow and complexion, the skin feels silky soft and any acne scars, pigment spots and fine lines are less visible. Scars and hyper pigmentation are also reduced, making the skin look even more homogeneous and younger.”