What are the Effects of Shaving your Skin?

Looking a bit scruffy for that upcoming job interview? Get a razor and go to work. In our faced based world, we shave and keep it moving without any thought to what we’re doing to our skin, let alone what’s healthiest. The practice of shaving has been a time-honored tradition throughout history, a hallmark in your transition to manhood. The doctors at Short Hills Dermatology want to you to have a head start on the road to clearer skin…Read on McDuff!

What Should You Avoid?

Shaving puts stress on the skin. As most men can attest, in-grown hairs, skin irritation, and acne are often the negative by products of a tight shave. Despite being a relatively pedestrian task, you still must be careful during shaving to avoid these conditions. Shaving affects the lipid layer of your epidermis (skin), which is responsible for keeping moisture in the skin’s tissues. Once this top layer is affected, your skin can dry out and become prone to outside irritation and chemicals.

Ingrown Hairs/Razor Bumps

Red and uncomfortable, in-grown hairs and razor bumps are two of the most common irritations. The term Pseudofolliculitis Barbae encompasses both conditions. When an otherwise normal hair grows back and into another hair follicle, razor bumps appear. In-grown hairs also involve an unusual trajectory of hair growth. In this case, the hair strand curves inward entirely under the skin. Removal can be a painful process.

Thankfully, there are some remedies. By compressing the target area with heat, you should be able to pluck an in-grown hair out. If that doesn’t work, look for products that contain salicylic acid or hydrocortisone over the counter. For razor bumps, aloe vera, lemon juice, or tea tree oil are alternative methods to soothe irritated skin.

Acne and Razor Burn

Though acne and razor bumps may look similar, the former is caused by an entirely different process. Even after you shave, your skin can still experience a buildup of sebum (oil) that results in post-shave acne. Razor burn on the other hand commonly appears as an itchy, burning rash on the shaved skin area, which can be a result of either dry shaving, using dull blades, or shaving too aggressively. Essential oils can help soothe acne and razor burn.

Shaving the Right Way

To avoid or at least mitigate these annoying skin issues, always begin by washing your face with warm water. This’ll prep your skin by opening up your pores. It may even be beneficial to use priming oil prior to shaving to lubricate your skin. If you can, apply shaving cream using a brush instead of your hands. If you don’t own a brush, make sure your hands have been thoroughly cleaned before applying shaving cream to your face.

Try to opt for a single-blade razor as multi-blade razors leave you far more susceptible to in-grown hairs. You want to shave with the grain in a downward motion, but if you go for multiple passes, go across the grain on the second pass before going against the grain on the third. When finished, rinse your skin with cold water to close your facial pores, and then apply a post shave balm or moisturizer to re-lubricate your skin. This should help to minimize any skin irritations or bumps you may develop.

Be Kind to Your Skin

Sounds obvious, but you should always take your time when shaving. Never rush! Additionally, knowing your skin type and how it reacts is beneficial. As long as you keep your skin adequately moisturized throughout the process, you should be able to avoid any complications from shaving. If that’s not the case, contact a dermatologist near you today!

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