There are two types of men in the world: men who shower after shaving and dirty, clean-shaven liars.
Now that it’s over… Your first shave is a rite of passage. Most young men can’t wait for the day when they can start shaving, but the novelty wears off quickly: shaving is a chore most of us could do without. But just because it’s boring doesn’t mean it has to be literally painful.
Not surprisingly, shaving is one of the leading causes of skin irritation in men. Whether it’s razor burn; excessively dry or oily skin; pinches and cuts; ingrown hairs or rashes, shaving can be a real source of frustration.
Plus, there’s so much conflicting advice out there. Some people say straight razors or old-fashioned safety razors irritate your skin less, and others say you should buy the most expensive cartridges with the most blades. Others tout electric shavers. And do you need to “wake up” your skin before you shave? Do you shave badly?
DMARGE spoke exclusively to Melbourne-based specialist dermatologist Dr Alexander Gin, who gave us some handy tips on how to get that perfect shave.
“Shaving can be traumatic for the skin,” says Dr. Gin.
“Ravers often create microscopic abrasions on the skin causing ‘irritant contact dermatitis’, the medical term for razor burn. This appears as general skin redness and tenderness after shaving.
“The other common problem encountered by men is that when the hair is cut too short, it can retract under the skin, causing ‘pseudofolliculitis’. This is commonly referred to as ingrown hairs or ‘razor bumps’. This is more often seen in people with curly hair, where the hairs fold over and tuck into the skin.This can lead to red bumps on the skin which can be tender and itchy.Sometimes an infection can develop around the hairs and form pimples filled with pus, or “folliculitis”.
Shaving with a dull razor is a common way to give yourself razor burn or folliculitis, as is shaving without properly cleaning your face first.
“Wash before you shave with a fragrance-free, soap-free cleanser and lukewarm water,” recommends Dr. Gin.
“Shaving after a shower can help with that. Be generous with shaving gel or foam to lubricate the skin and avoid microscopic cuts in the skin.
Settle the razor debate
“Ravers and clippers are ok,” says Dr. Gin.
Far more important is keeping the blades sharp and clean.
“Using a single-blade razor or an electric trimmer that keeps hair long can help prevent ingrown hairs. Avoid infections by using disposable razors. Look for electric razors that can be cleaned with alcohol spray and wipes.
“Shave in the direction of the hair growth, that is, in the direction in which the hairs point. Avoid stretching the skin too much…a 5 o’clock shadow can help. Aim for a short stubble length of a few millimeters. Shave every other day rather than every day, if possible.
“Avoid picking, pulling out hairs and scratching your skin. This will only further irritate the hair and skin and can lead to scarring. After shaving, apply a fragrance-free moisturizing lotion to help protect the skin. damage skin.
Dr. Gin’s final piece of advice? If you’re really struggling with ingrown hairs, take advantage of social distancing and working from home to grow out that stubborn stubble.
“In severe cases, you may need to grow the beard for about a month to get ingrown hairs out. The pandemic isolation beard might not be such a bad thing for your health after all!
Stay sharp, guys.
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