When I was first introduced to the world of dermaplaning, I was convinced it was the magic I needed to get my skin back on track. There’s something so satisfying about physically grazing off the dead skin that no amount of exfoliating acids alone could ever do. Before getting my hands on a blade of my own, I did my due diligence and ventured to every corner of the Internet to educate myself on the proper technique. Something that never came up in my research was the idea of body-planing, and more specifically, dermaplaning on the legs. Before you roll your eyes and refuse to get hyped about shaving your legs (we’ve been doing it since middle school, this is not new), hear me out because my legs have never been smoother—and you’ll want in on this little secret.
What Are the Benefits of Dermaplaning Your Legs?
I’ll be honest, I thought twice before trying this, so I consulted the esthetician and founder behind StackedSkincare, Kerry Benjamin. To my relief, she told me she dermaplanes her legs too—along with her arms and the backs of her hands, “I’m obsessed with it,” she says.
Meet the Expert
Evens skin tone and deepens product penetration: Benjamin recommends body-planing to reveal a more even skin tone and smooth texture. “If you have really dry skin, it’s a great way to get a deeper body exfoliation. It really helps to alleviate the dryness by removing the dead skin and allowing your products to penetrate significantly better,” she says. This leaves the skin on the body soft and supple.
Reverses UV damage: “It’s also really beneficial for those with sun damage on their body as it will help lift the dark spots, especially when combined with peels.” For the best results, she suggests body-planing twice a month and using the TCA Body Peel ($125) about once or twice a week.
Exfoliation and ingrown hair treatment: “Ingrown hairs are a result of dead skin trapping the hair in the follicle so it essentially can’t push through, so it is trapped under the dead skin, which causes folliculitis,” Benjamin says. “Exfoliation helps with this, and dermaplaning on your face can definitely help this issue.” Although the bikini area is commonly affected by folliculitis, Benjamin advises against dermaplaning in this sensitive area of the body. But, elsewhere, she says combining dermaplaning with the TCA Body Peel will significantly reduce ingrowns on the body, “[The peel] will gently exfoliate and dislodge pores to help the hair push through the follicle.”
How to Safely Dermaplane Your Legs at Home
To avoid any nicks or cuts, you want to make sure you’re pulling the skin taut, just like you would when dermaplaning the face. “The StackedSkincare Dermaplaning Tool is a single edge sharp blade; there is no need to push hard,” says Benjamin. "You could irritate your skin and over-exfoliate.” This is important to keep in mind as you dermaplane your body because the skin will be thicker than on your face, which comes with a tendency to push harder. But don't! Benjamin also notes you should only use a blade on your body one to two times before switching it out because it will dull a lot faster than when used on the face. Before beginning, I recommend laying a towel down as you’ll be doing some major skin shedding, just like if you were dry brushing.
- Cleanse the area you will be dermaplaning.
- Dry, but do not moisturize. Keeping the skin dry will give better results.
- Beginning at the ankle, pull the skin taut and use light, feather strokes as you work up towards the knee. Only remove the blade from your skin to clean it off, then continue.
- Bend your leg to get the thighs but do not go over the knees.
If you’re going to treat other areas of the body, Benjamin says when she does her arms, she makes sure to fold the wrist downward to tighten the skin on the forearm.
Use a separate razor blade for your face and body. Benjamin suggests using a sharpie to label the clear plastic cap.
About My Skin: Dry with coarse leg hair
I am not one of the lucky ones with caterpillar fuzz for leg hair. Nope, what I have is coarse, dark, and stubborn—and it means business. This wouldn’t bother me if it weren’t for the layers of dry skin that like to sit atop my shins and transparently trap it all under a glass ceiling, if you will. Experts say that dermaplaning is ideal for soft, fine hairs, but if your hairs is on the thicker side, a trial area is recommended first.
I follow every shaving commandment. It’s not for a lack of trying to get as close of a shave as possible. I exfoliate. I moisturize. I use sharp razors and never skip shaving cream. So why, immediately after shaving, do I still see sporadic leg hairs stuck in and under my skin, irritating folliculitis, and the dark, dotted follicles that make it look as though I haven’t seen a razor in a week? I was over still being able to see my leg hair immediately after I shaved, so I tried waxing. This was great until the hairs started growing back and got lost along the way because they couldn't push their way out of my skin. Enter: StackedSkincare Dermaplaning Tool.
The Results: Smooth, glowy skin
Upon purchasing, I fully intended to scrape my way to a baby-soft complexion and revolutionize my perpetually congested face—as it was meant to do. But as I watched the dead skin cells coming off of my face (oddly satisfying), I couldn’t help but wonder if the magic might be put to good use elsewhere. In the spirit of using beauty tools for things other than their intended purpose, I gave my leg a pass with the steel blade and was utterly shocked—and a little disturbed—at the sheer volume of flakes casting off my shin.
By the time I was done, it was like I had shed layers upon layers of skin off my legs–which, essentially, I had. The result was insanely smooth, glowing skin that even felt lighter. As the leg hair began to regrow, I noticed a drastic decline in the number of ingrowns along the lower calf and shin regions.
At this point, your legs will be feeling like brand new baby skin, but it will need to be moisturized. This is the time to pack on the hydrating serums as well. I like to use Mary Louise Miracle Serum ($35) to nourish and hydrate my legs, and it also helps with the bits of hyperpigmentation I get on my lower shins. Because you’ve just taken away the outer protective layer on your skin, it will be much more vulnerable to UV rays. Be sure to finish up with a sunscreen of at least SPF 30.
Do You Still Need to Shave?
Benjamin says that dermaplaning can replace shaving in certain areas, and there may not be a need for both. “I would recommend just sticking to dermaplaning,” she says, “and if you’re going to wax, recommend waiting a few days before and/or after waxing to do a dermaplaning treatment to allow the skin to heal from the waxing treatment.”
The Final Takeaway
This little unplanned experiment has completely changed the skin on my legs and is now an integral part of my body care routine. Combined with regular at-home waxing, I’m happily dermaplaning my way to silky soft, bump-free Hollywood legs.