Proper Shaving Techniques to Prevent Ingrown Hairs and Razor Burn
Ingrown hairs and razor burn are two of the most common and frustrating side effects of shaving, especially when they show up on your face. Fortunately, there are some tricks you can remember when shaving to help prevent these problems from happening in the first place.
1. Use the Right Cleansing and Exfoliating Products First
Cleansing and exfoliation are essential steps for your skin. Cleansers remove the dirt, sweat, and other debris from the surface of your skin, preventing it from becoming trapped inside your pores and causing acne and other skin problems. Exfoliation speeds up your skin’s natural desquamation process, which removes dead, flakey skin cells and keeps them from clogging your pores and trapping ingrown hair.
You do need to choose the right cleansing and exfoliating products for your Baumann Skin Type, however. Read more about how to choose a cleanser by skin type in this blog. Generally speaking, dry skin types do best with a creamy, non-foaming cleanser, while oily skin types can tolerate foaming cleansers and should avoid oil-based cleansers.
The way you should exfoliate your skin will depend on your skin type. Those with sensitive skin should avoid manual exfoliation – so no scrubbing, guys! Instead, use a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid. You can even use a cleanser that contains this ingredient, such as Essopi Glycolic 10% Moisturizing Cleanser.
2. Always Use a Clean, Sharp Razor
Before shaving, make sure your razor is clean and sharp. A dull blade will tug at hairs, instead of slicing clean through them. This can lead to irritation and ingrown hairs. If you have to press very hard to get a clean shave, it’s probably time to change or clean your razor blade. You shouldn’t have to use much pressure at all – let the razor do the work.
3. Shave with the Grain
Try to shave in the direction of hair growth, not against it. Shaving against the grain is one of the biggest causes of ingrown hairs and irritation, especially for men with curly facial hair.
Some men may have heard that shaving against the grain promotes beard growth, but this is a myth. Some beard oils claim to help condition and promote healthy facial hair, but be careful if you have sensitive skin. Many essential oils found in beard oils can be irritating to sensitive skin, and some ingredients may cause acne.
You also want to minimize the number of strokes you use in one area. The more passes your razor takes over your skin, the larger the chances of irritation.
4. Use Shaving Cream
Never dry shave, as it causes redness, razor bumps, and ingrown hair. Always use shaving cream or a similar lubricant formulated for use on your face when shaving. Products that are designed to be used while shaving often have ingredients that weaken the hair. This helps the hair break when in contact with the razor so that there is not a sharp point at the end of the hair. Dry shaving is more likely to give the sharp point. The sharp point is very problematic in curly hair because it curls towards the skin and pokes into the skin’s surface causing an ingrown hair. Using a shaving cream in addition to exposing the hair to heat can help prevent this sharp tip from happening.
5. Moisturize after Shaving
Keep your skin hydrated to help prevent ingrown hairs from forming. Choose a moisturizer based on your skin type. For example, a barrier repair moisturizer like Zerafite will be a good choice for dry skin, while oily skin types will do better with a light moisturizer such as PCA Skin Clearskin. Acne and razor bump prone skin may need anti-inflammatory ingredients to prevent razor rash.
Aftershaves typically contain astringent ingredients like alcohol or witch hazel. These can prevent bacteria from entering any small nicks or cuts you may have gotten from your shave, as well as help to prevent acne. However, these ingredients can also dry out your skin and may sting. Some aftershaves are also heavily fragranced, which may irritate sensitive skin types. If you are going to use an aftershave, read the ingredients and choose one that is suitable for your skin. My favorite is Element 47 Skin Fortifying Mist, which is soothing and helps protect the skin.
6. Avoid Certain Sunscreens After Shaving
Sunscreens that contain avobenzone as the active ingredient may cause stinging after shaving. If this is a problem for you- choose sunscreen with other ingredients. Physical sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the active ingredient are better choices to use after shaving.
The next time you shave, follow these simple tips to help keep your skin smooth, healthy, and free of bumps and irritation. If you don’t know your Baumann Skin Type yet, find a Skin Type Solutions physician partner in your area to take the quiz and find out. Then, you can make the right choices when shopping for cleansers, shaving creams, and other skincare essentials.
For more skincare tips and advice for men from Dr. Leslie Baumann, don’t forget to follow Baumann Cosmetic on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Wishing you great skin!
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