Shaving is an activity that men must perform regularly throughout their lives, yet despite practising it so often, many of us continue to steer clear of a full clean shave through anticipation of a shaving rash (or just because our other halves hate the clean shaven look). The fear of shaving rashes is understandable — the sensation is unbearable, looks terrible, and is difficult to treat once the damage has been done. However, these rashes are entirely preventable.
Shaving rash is caused by excessive friction applied to your skin — it doesn’t help that this friction is facilitated by a razor blade. You must take steps to lubricate your skin to ease this friction. The rash can also be caused by dehydration of the skin after shaving. Your skin will lose natural oils during the shave, and you must replenish these oils to prevent irritation. Of course, learning proper shaving technique is perhaps the most important, and could make a huge difference to your skin and how your facial hair grows in future. Here are some tips for preventing shaving rash before, during, and after your shave.
Preparing to shave
You will experience the best shave if your facial hair is warm and wet. It is a great idea to take advantage of the steam from a bath or shower to prepare your face for shaving, as this will both soften your bristles and lubricate your skin. You could even try making your own facial steam bath, which is a much more effective and direct way to soften your hair and open the pores in your skin. Live Strong has a simple but informative guide on making your own steam bath — just be sure not to wet your face with cold water before shaving, as this will close your pores.
You should also think about exfoliating your skin before shaving. This will get rid of any dead skin cells that would otherwise make shaving more difficult and improve the chances of suffering from razor burn. Use a facial scrub that contains micro particles to comprehensively exfoliate your face, but take care not to scrub too hard as this could be harmful to your skin.
It is also extremely important to apply a lubricant to your face to aid the glide of the shaver against your skin. The classic product to use is a shaving foam, but this isn’t ideal as it can often obscure your vision. You would be best served using a transparent gel or oil such as this no-foam shave cream from King of Shaves, so you can manoeuvre your razor with good visibility, even in the more difficult areas.
When shaving, use short, light strokes, making sure to shave in the direction of hair growth, not against it — shaving ‘against the grain’ is one of the most common causes of shaving rash. This short video from Manhood TV gives a great visual demonstration of good shaving practice.
If you have suffered any cuts when shaving, it may be wise to use a small amount of rubbing alcohol to disinfect the cuts before applying any products to your face. When your face is clear of all hair and your skin is looking bare and supple, this is when you must think about re-hydration. You must replenish the oils and nutrients that were lost during shaving, and the most effective way to do this is by moisturising your skin.
Take care to choose that right moisturising product for your skin, however, as using the wrong formula could lead to greasy skin. This guide from the skincare experts at E45 contains some handy advice for identifying your skin type and choosing a cream based on that.
Shaving rash is an easily preventable ailment. Following these simple but effective tips will ensure that it is no longer a problem for you.
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