Seems once we hit our 40s, unwelcome facial hair leaves us looking a bit more like boys going through puberty than like gracefully aging women. One way it’s most obvious? Excessive peach fuzz. The vellus hairs that grow on the cheeks and jaw tend to be fine and light in color, but once foundation and powder latch on to them, the unflattering face “fur” ends up being highlighted. Hollywood legends Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor are rumored to have shaved their faces to eliminate these hairs. But there’s no need to lather up with shaving cream to follow suit. “Dermaplaning is similar to female face shaving. It is cosmetic, but it can benefit those who do it. Makeup generally goes on smoother, skin feels softer, skin tone gets evened out and products penetrate deeper with regular dermaplaning,” explains California-based aesthetician Cassandra Bankson. It’s commonly done in dermatologists’ offices without pain or irritation. But you can easily learn how to dermaplane at home.
Over 45? Why dermaplaning is right for you
You’re not alone if you think dermaplaning sounds like a science-fiction term: It’s a method of shaving your face using a razor blade or a scalpel to remove unwanted peach fuzz. And as Bankson explains, it’s a minimally invasive and relatively safe procedure when done by a licensed professional. It does double duty not only removing the hair, but it also removes up to two weeks’ worth of dead skin cells, oils and debris leaving your face smooth and your skin glowing. That’s a lot more effective than that tube of face scrub you keep in the shower.
While it’s an excellent procedure for women of all ages, those in their later years may benefit most as they experience increased facial hair growth. According to the National Institute of Aging, over a million women experience menopause yearly, typically between the ages of 45 and 55, and the changing hormone levels can cause many women to experience thinning hair on the head but an increase in hair in other body parts, like the face. One study showed that 40% of women over 45 experience unwanted facial hair, especially on the chin. But that pesky peach fuzz and even darker, coarser hairs can show up elsewhere, too, like the cheeks, neck, upper lip and even the forehead.
“Dermaplaning is a good option for the temporary treatment of facial hair as women progress throughout menopause and beyond, as it uses a scalpel or razor blade to remove hair and exfoliate the skin, which in turn helps smooth skin and reduce dullness,” explains Ryan Turner, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.
There are two different methods of dermaplaning. The first is done in a licensed aesthetician or doctor’s office. “Wet dermaplaning is done using a surgical steel razor blade and is usually only performed by professionals. This method involves adding oil (like jojoba oil) to the skin to help the blade glide over the skin and is better for coarser hair,” explains Bankson. Professional dermaplaning can cost anywhere from $75 to $200, depending on where you live. The other method is doing it yourself at home.
How to dermaplane at home
There are a few ways you can dermaplane at home, for less. First, you’ll want to get yourself a dermaplaning tool. You can could opt for an at-home device like Dermaflash LUXE+ (Buy from Dermaflash, $199) which was developed by an aesthetician and utilizes a vibrating blade, or a less expensive option, Venus for Facial Hair & Skin Care Exfoliating Dermaplaning Razor + 2 Blade Refills Starter Kit (But from Target, $15.79). Both are intended to be safer for at-home use and prevent nicks and cuts.
As opposed to in-office, at-home dermaplaning should be performed on squeaky clean, dry, taut skin for the most effective exfoliation. Bankson’s how to:
- Hold the device at a 45-degree angle and hold the skin taut with the other hand and gently glide the device across the cheek in short, feathery strokes to remove dead skin cells, debris, and other peach fuzz quickly and effectively. Continue until all hair is removed.
- Apply a soothing serum, face oil, balm, or cream to nourish or hydrate the skin immediately after dermaplaning.
Dermatologists recommend that you work with a professional for a skincare plan that’s right for you, but generally speaking, dermaplaning could be done monthly for optimal results. This will not only keep unwanted hair growth at bay, but also, since skin cells naturally replenish each month, this ensures the old cells are scraped away, and new, healthy skin cells are visible.
This video shows how to dermaplane at home with ease:
Make sure to use a new, sterile blade every time
While the procedure is considered relatively safe and painless, like anything else, it comes with some words of warning. “When it comes to dermaplaning, proceed with caution – and a deft hand – as it may cause skin irritation and possibly infection as tiny breaks in the skin may occur,” advises Dr. Turner. “It’s essential to use a new sterile blade for each treatment. Also, be careful around the eyebrows and crevices of the nose – navigating those areas with this tool can be difficult,” he adds.
Sensitive, rashy skin? You may want to skip dermaplaning
This practice is mostly safe for those with normal skin and, if done correctly, with a sterile blade in a controlled setting like a dermatologist’s office. “However, for those with acne, rosacea, eczema, cold sores or other skin concerns, shaving your face might lead to irritation and abrasions, even a staph infection, so please consider talking to your doctor before attempting at home,” warns Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of skincare line Stryke Club.
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Jené Luciani Sena is a veteran journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author of The Bra Book: An Intimate Guide to Finding the Right Bra, Shapewear, Swimsuit, and More! and Get It!: A Beauty, Style, and Wellness Guide to Getting Your “It” Together. She’s also a style, bra and beauty expert regularly seen on shows like Access Hollywood and NBC’s Today.