Is dermaplaning okay for acne prone skin?

Hi Dr. I, I have oily acne prone skin. back in May, i was prescribed ziana and fiancea to treat my moderate hormonal acne. There was a ton of purging for a while, but 3 months later, It seemed to really calm down with no clogged pores. The facialist at the dermatologist recommended I go through dermaplaning to help w/the red spots left from the acne. Afterwards, I found my pores started to get clogged again, and now i'm going through what i feel like i went through during the first 3 months of purging pores. Is dermaplaning not good for acne prone skin? I'm now using atralin and fiancea. I feel like the atralin is helping to purge the clogged pore, but they seem to become hardened just beneath my skin (blackheads maybe?) Will the atralin help to get rid of the blackheads by dissolving them? Thanks!

Okay –  so a couple of things here  –  I’m glad you are waiting for several months after a regimen change to decide if it’s helping or doing nothing. It really does take a few months partly because acne IS so hormonal. As women, our hormones fluctuate a lot even month to month, so sometimes a change, or lack of  change, is just our hormones bouncing around. That’s something to always consider with acne. Now onto your question about dermaplaning acne prone skin. So for readers who don’t know, dermaplaning is a method used for gentle exfoliation (more on it here).

Dermaplaning acne prone skin – are there better options for clogged pores?

I would vote no on the dermaplaning.  I love dermaplaning for women/men who have a lot of that very fine facial hair (who don’t like waxing) or for a freshener. There are better options when it comes to acne.

  1. For acne and clogged pores, most dermatologists will recommend microdermabrasion.  The microdermabrasion has a mildly abrasive tip (ours uses a diamond fraise), combined with suction and a tool that allows using topicals at the same time.  You can get that dead skin layer off, really clean out the pores, and have a gentle salicylic acid treatment all at the same time, for example.
  2. Eliminate pore-clogging products: Make sure that all of your make-up, moisturizers etc are NOT clogging your pores and making your acne worse.  Look for the words noncomedogenic.
  3. Also, you might consider buying the Clarisonic to use for cleansing. I love that Clarisonic, but use the gentle heads on it. A gentle salicylic acid cleanser (gentle chemical exfoliation) with it is a good idea.  You may be able to use this daily. But you’ll be able to tell if it’s too much, and can slowly find the right balance for you.
  4. Find an acne skincare regimen that works for you. As you mentioned, products are key. Here are the ones I recommend for acne.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I


For more information on acne, check out the following guides:

What to know about Acne over 30

The various kinds of acne and dealing with clogged pores


Seeking out a good dermatologist is important. For tips and information about how to find a good dermatologist, check out our article Tips to Find A Good Dermatologist.



Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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