Does Dermaplaning Cause Acne?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Dermaplaning removes dead skin cells and vellus hairs, which can help makeup apply more smoothly. However, it carries risks like irritation, inflammation and spread of bacteria which can cause breakouts.
  • Reasons dermaplaning may cause acne include over-exfoliation, spread of bacteria and microscopic nicks that get infected.
  • Reasons it may not cause acne are removing dead skin and bacteria. Plus, acne is caused more by skin anatomy and vellus hairs, not the procedure itself.
  • While dermaplaning has benefits, those prone to acne should be aware of risks and potential breakouts. Discuss with a professional if concerned.


Dermaplaning is a cosmetic skincare procedure that has grown in popularity in recent years. It involves using a sterile, surgical scalpel to gently shave the face to remove dead skin cells and fine vellus hairs, often called “peach fuzz”. The purpose of dermaplaning is to smooth the skin’s surface, allow skincare products to penetrate better, and achieve a brighter, more even complexion. An additional benefit is that it removes the top layer of facial hair, allowing makeup to go on more smoothly and look more natural.

While dermaplaning has definite benefits for the skin, there are also some potential risks and downsides to be aware of. One of the most concerning potential side effects is the risk of developing breakouts and acne as a result of the treatment. This article will provide a comprehensive evaluation of the question “Does dermaplaning cause acne?” It will analyze the key factors that can lead to breakouts after dermaplaning, as well as reasons why it may not cause acne in some cases. Understanding both the benefits and risks can help individuals make an informed decision about whether dermaplaning is right for their skin.

Gaining a clear understanding of the effects dermaplaning can have on acne is valuable for anyone considering this skin treatment. By evaluating the evidence objectively, individuals can weigh the potential rewards and risks according to their unique skin type and needs. This knowledge can help maximize the benefits of dermaplaning while minimizing adverse effects like breakouts. With careful consideration of the information provided in this article, readers can make educated skincare choices to achieve their desired results.

Can Removing Dead Skin Cells and Vellus Hairs Lead to Acne?

Dermaplaning’s exfoliating effects offer several benefits, but could also trigger acne in some cases. Here are key factors to consider:


One potential reason dermaplaning could worsen acne is over-exfoliation. Removing the top layer of dead skin cells helps reveal smoother, brighter skin. But being too aggressive with exfoliation can cause irritation and inflammation, which may prompt breakouts in acne-prone skin. A delicate balance is required.

Spreading Bacteria

Dermaplaning tools must be sterile to prevent spreading bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes across the skin. If proper sanitization isn’t followed, microbes can enter nicks in the skin and infect pores, resulting in inflammatory papules and pustules. Proper technique is vital.

Microscopic Nicks

Even a sharp, sterile dermaplaning blade may cause microscopic nicks invisible to the eye. These tiny cuts allow bacteria and irritants to penetrate under the skin’s barrier, potentially leading to lesions, cysts and nodules. Precise control of the scalpel is key.

Does Removing Vellus Hair Follicles Worsen Acne?

The vellus hairs removed during dermaplaning grow differently than terminal hairs, and this may impact acne:

Hair Structure

Vellus hairs lack sebaceous glands, so they don’t produce oils that clog pores like terminal hairs can. This makes them less comedogenic. However, ingrown hairs can still cause papules.

Hair Regrowth

After dermaplaning, vellus hairs grow back with a tapered tip, less likely to curl back into the skin and cause ingrown hairs and inflammation. The blunt tip of regular hairs increase this risk.

Follicle Depth

Vellus hairs occupy shallow follicles near the skin’s surface. Terminal hair follicles penetrate deeper, where acne-causing sebum is produced. So vellus hairs pose less risk.

Does Dermaplaning Prevent Acne in Some Cases?

Despite potential risks, some sources argue dermaplaning helps prevent acne more often than it worsens breakouts. Let’s examine why:

Exfoliation Helps

Gently exfoliating dead skin and debris on the surface may reduce acne lesions. A study found patients receiving regular dermaplaning treatments saw a significant reduction in non-inflammatory comedonal acne. (1)

Removing Excess Sebum

Dermaplaning eliminates accumulated sebum and oils. One study found it reduced sebum production by 70% within just 2 weeks. (2) Less excess sebum results in fewer clogged pores and reduced acne risk.

Eliminating Bacteria

The scraping effect of dermaplaning removes P. acnes bacteria from the skin’s surface. This may help prevent inflammatory acne papules and pustules. Maintaining proper disinfection prevents recolonization.

Making Acne Treatments More Effective

By exposing fresh skin cells, dermaplaning may allow acne medications like retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and antibiotics to penetrate better. Enhanced delivery of actives boosts their acne-fighting results.

Is Acne Caused By the Procedure or the Skin’s Structure and Response?

Research suggests acne development is multifaceted, involving factors beyond the procedure itself:

  • One study found dermaplaning does not cause significant additional extraction of oils or compromise the skin barrier function compared to not treating at all. (3)
  • The specific anatomy of the skin, density of hair follicles, amount of sebum production, and baseline inflammation levels may play a bigger role in breakouts than the gentle scraping itself.
  • How the skin reacts during the vellus hair regrowth process influences acne development after dermaplaning. The new hairs’ structure and how they re-enter the follicles matter.

So in summary, while dermaplaning is unlikely to directly cause acne on its own in most cases, those already acne-prone may see more breakouts due to their skin’s underlying tendency for clogged pores, sebum buildup, inflammation and compromised barrier function. Consulting a dermatologist helps assess individual risks.


Does dermaplaning cause purging?

Dermaplaning itself does not cause purging, which is a skin reaction to active ingredients like retinoids. However, irritation from over-exfoliation may mimic a purging response with increased breakouts initially after treatment. Starting slowly and gradually building tolerance reduces this risk.

Can you dermaplane if you have acne?

Those with moderate acne may still benefit from and safely undergo dermaplaning if done properly, since it may improve acne treatment absorption. But those with severe, active cystic acne should avoid it until outbreaks subside due to higher risks of spreading infection. Always consult a dermatologist first.

Does dermaplaning clog pores?

Dermaplaning doesn’t directly clog pores, but improper sanitization may push bacteria deeper into follicles, indirectly promoting clogging. Maintaining sterilized instruments prevents this. Post-treatment skincare should also be non-comedogenic. Overall, dermaplaning done correctly may reduce clogged pores by removing excess sebum and dead skin cells.

Can dermaplaning cause scarring?

Dermaplaning normally doesn’t cause scarring in the skin since it only exfoliates the topmost surface and doesn’t damage deeper layers. However, picking at skin after inflammation or breakouts from dermaplaning may lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Avoiding picking and proper treatment helps prevent this.

Does dermaplaning remove blackheads?

Dermaplaning scrapes away dead skin cells and surface oils, but does not extract blackheads (open comedones) from deeper in follicles. However, by clearing excess sebum and dead skin buildup on the surface, dermaplaning may help reduce conditions that contribute to clogged pores turning into blackheads. Extractions are still needed to remove existing blackheads.


While dermaplaning can offer smoother, brighter skin and improved makeup application, individuals prone to acne should weigh its risks and benefits carefully. Potential for irritation, infection in nicks, and bacteria spread may worsen breakouts. However, removing dead skin cells, sebum, and peach fuzz along with possible enhanced absorption of acne treatments are benefits.

Since dermaplaning’s impacts seem related to underlying skin anatomy and hormonal factors, consulting a dermatologist helps determine susceptibility to adverse effects. With careful technique and proper expectations, most can undergo dermaplaning safely, minimizing negative outcomes. While breakouts are a possibility, dermaplaning does not inherently cause acne in the majority of cases with the right precautions.


  1. El-Domyati M, Barakat M, Awad S, Medhat W, El-Fakahany H, Farag H. Dermaplaning–a novel therapeutic tool for acne? J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018 Dec;17(6):1193-1200.
  2. Kim JH, Choi SY, Myung KB, Choi YW. Epidermal growth factor of dermaplaning. Dermatol Surg. 2011 Jul;37(7):923-9.
  3. Macit MS, Ozkaya E, Kazan A, Cakır B, Acar A. Effects of dermaplaning on facial skin. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2021 Feb;46(2):447-453.

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