Smooth skin is one of the hallmark signs of youth. As we age, however, the texture of the skin often changes in response to lifestyle, sun exposure, poor circulation and other factors. However, the skin can renew itself, especially when helped along by a technique such as dermaplane. Here are the basics about dermaplane, from Dr. Louis DeJoseph of Premier Image Cosmetic and LaserSurgery in Atlanta, Georgia.
While you may not think of it that way, the skin is actually the largest organ in your body. It protects you from infection, encloses the organs and fluids within the body, controls your temperature, secretes fluids like sweat and oil, and provides sensory input to the brain. The skin contains blood vessels to nourish the skin cells and hair. It also has many nerves and glands. Although it looks like a single surface, the skin is actually made up of multiple layers of cells. The body constantly generates new skin cells to replace older cells on the outside that have died and been shed. This function helps to explain how exfoliation can work to make skin smoother.
What Is Dermaplane?
Dermaplane is a physical exfoliation procedure. In some ways, it is similar to the process of shaving a beard. A sterile 10-inch surgical scalpel with a curved point is used to gently shave the skin surface of the face (with the exception of the nose). This removes the upper layer of skin, which consists mostly of dead skin cells, as well as the very fine hair on the face – sometimes known as peach fuzz but more correctly called vellus hair. These fine hairs can trap dirt and oil, increasing the risk of blackheads and making the skin look uneven. Other hair on the face, like the eyebrows, is called terminal hair and should not be dermaplaned.
Why Have Dermaplane?
Dermaplane removes excess dead skin cells and helps trigger cell regeneration, which means the cells on the surface of the skin are now more supple and smooth. It can also provide a better surface for other skin treatments such as chemical peels or laser treatments, which allows them to work more effectively. Although similar to microabrasion – another exfoliation treatment – dermaplane removes the vellus hair, which microabrasion does not. A dermaplane treatment can help minimize superficial acne scarring or improve an uneven skin tone. It is particularly effective for mature skin, which typically has a build-up of dead cells – skin cell turnover slows with age. The procedure is quick and does not require an anesthetic. Dermaplaning can also reduce fine lines. Skin care products and treatments are more effective after dermaplane treatment since they are applied directly to new cells. Makeup also goes on more smoothly after a dermaplane treatment.
Dermaplaning treatments are performed only on the face (other treatments are available for other areas of the body). Only a licensed, properly trained professional should provide dermaplane treatments. Although a dermaplane treatment may seem similar to simply shaving the face, there are distinct differences. First, a doctor performing a dermaplane treatment uses a single blade held at a 45-degree angle. The dermaplane tool is much sharper than a conventional razor. Strokes must be short, gentle, smooth and delivered in a particular pattern depending on the facial region being treated; the skin must be held taut through the shaving process. The skin is carefully cleaned prior to the procedure, and the sterile blade is used to exfoliate the skin. Sloughed skin cells and peach fuzz are gently wiped away at the end of the procedure, leaving a fresh, smooth, vibrant skin surface.
Are You A Candidate?
Dermaplane can be performed on almost anyone. Unlike chemical peels, which are contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women because they act at the cellular level and may increase risk to the baby, a dermaplane treatment can be performed on a woman who is pregnant or lactating. However, those with very oily skin or who have active acne should not have dermaplaning. The oil can make it more difficult to achieve a close shave and active acne increases the risk of infection. People who have very thick, dark facial hair are usually not good candidates for a dermaplane treatment. In some cases, the doctor may recommend other treatments – such as chemical peel – prior to a dermaplane treatment.
How long will the procedure last?
The treatment itself lasts about 20 to 30 minutes, although there may be some additional time for set-up and care after the procedure. The benefits are immediately apparent, but optimal results do require maintenance treatments. Most patients return for another treatment every three to four weeks. It takes about 30 days for the skin to complete a normal rejuvenation cycle, so more frequent treatments are of no benefit.
What can I expect after the procedure?
There is no downtime after a dermaplane treatment; you can immediately resume your normal activities. You should avoid sun exposure for several days and follow instructions about using moisturizers and sunscreens. By the way, the hair on your face will not grow back thicker or darker – this is a myth. Dermaplane is not effective for stretch marks, deep wrinkles or acne scars and cannot be used on keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue that remains after an injury has healed).
Are there risks?
Just as you might cut yourself when shaving, the dermaplane scalpel might nick the skin. These are minor injures and heal almost immediately, just as a shaving cut does. Occasionally people have a reaction to the cleaning solution. Some people report the skin feels dry or appears red for a short while after the treatment. Too-frequent treatment (intervals of less than the three-week minimum) increase the risk of skin irritation and may cause the skin to peel.
How soon can I return to work?
You should be able to return to work immediately. Dermaplane is an in-office treatment, one of those sometimes dubbed “lunch-hour” facial procedures, as it can be completed in such a short time and requires no recovery period.
Dermaplane is a quick, low-risk, non-invasive procedure that can improve the appearance and texture of facial skin. If you have questions about the procedure, please contact us at Premier image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery. We can also schedule a consultation with Dr. DeJoseph.