Top Tips for Hassle Free Shaving
by Lisa Young – Salon Director
No wonder the trend of growing a beard has continued!
Did you know that a survey conducted by The International Dermal Institute indicated that 79% of males surveyed say they have one or more skin problems on an ongoing basis, yet their selection of shaving products rarely takes this into account to treat it.
Male shaving has many pit falls and can often result in the following:
- Razor rash.
- Ingrown hairs.
- Bump spotty looking skin.
- Premature ageing.
Yes, you read that correct – even premature aging, which is caused by the increased sensitisation and inflammation.
As the average man’s beard grows approximately 2 mm per day, it becomes increasingly more difficult to treat between shaves. Many guys put up with irritated skin on a daily basis, reducing the shaving frequency, putting up with beard stubble or even to growing a beard!
FACT – did you know that the average man starts to shave at age 13 and continues until he is 85 years old ?
Daily problems of having a shave
A daily shave can impair the natural way that the skin functions. To put quite simply, shaving imposes a constant stress on the skin and for some it’s a constant battle of razer rash, ingrown hairs and bumpy skin.
Inflammation is just one of the visible signs of skin trauma by the daily beard shave. Technically speaking, shaving is a form of physical exfoliation and we all know that too much exfoliation impacts the general health of the skin.
When you have a shave, it triggers a visible irritation and can lead to over exfoliation of the skin. It can also break down the skin’s natural defence (lipid barrier) meaning that irritants can enter the skin and cause more irritation and hydration can escape.
The lipid barrier layer is part of the skin’s natural protection. This layer of lipids (or natural oils) keeps moisture in the skin tissues and prevents other irritants from entering the skin. Once the lipid layer barrier is compromised, water readily escapes from the skin creating the skin to become dehydrated.
Common Problems caused by Shaving
Pseudofolliculitis Barbae includes ingrown hairs and razor bumps. It is prevalent in men or individuals with coarse, curly beard hairs.
In some men’s beards, hair can grow more horizontal rather than upright. This means that when the hair grows it corkscrews back into the skin forming an ingrown hair.
Ingrown hairs may also occur when the hair emerges from the skin at the wrong angle. So when the beard is shaved it can force the hair back into its follicle. This means it will continue to grow inward instead of exiting the skin.
Ingrown hair is like a foreign body to the skin so it reacts by triggering an inflammatory response that results in redness, itchiness and infection a bit like a pustular spot.
These form when the hair emerges from the hair follicle and turns and enters another follicle. The skin’s reaction is similar to an ingrown hair. Sometimes a keloid tissue mass can form over the hair making the skin look bumpy.
Top Tips to prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs
Start a regular exfoliation with either a physical or chemical exfoliating product prior to having a shave to prep the skin’s surface and remove any dead skin cells. This then stops the hairs embedding in the tissue and lifts the hair stubble and ingrown hairs as well as smoothing the skin ready for shaving.
Chemical exfoliants include products with Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Retinol (Vitamin A), Salicylic Acid as an anti-inflammatory agent helps calm the skin.
Razor burn is inflammation of the skin and is similar to contact Dermatitis as well as nicks, scratches from shaving. Razor burn can occur from:
- A reaction to products and ingredients.
- Shaving too closely and/or too quickly.
- Inadequate lubrication when having a shave.
- Going against the direction of the hair growth.
- Shaving over already irritated or sensitised areas.
- Applying too much pressure, resulting in excess friction and irritation.
- Using blunt razors.
- Even Water.
Symptoms of razor burn are burning, itching, stinging and redness. Razor burn can cause discomfort and redness. It can last a few hours or even days, and can even become infected.
Look for products with the following Ingredients to help build and protect the skin’s natural defence, including:
- Wheat Germ.
- Yeast Extract.
- Tocopherol (Vitamin E and its derivatives).
- Shea butter.
- Jojoba Seed Oil.
- Evening Primrose Oil.
To calm and soothe the skin whilst promoting skin repair, look for ingredients such as:
- Green Tea.
- White Tea.
- Aloe Vera.
Coarse, Heavy Beards
Coarse, heavier beards are more challenging to shave as you get more resistance from the hair as well as clogging the razor. It is really important to have a sharp blade when shaving this type of hair in order to avoid painful scraping and tugging.
The key to shaving a heavier beard is to soften and lift the hair as well as protecting the skin. Using a product with a high pH helps to soften the beard, making it less resistant to the shave.
However, you need to take into account that an alkaline pH can strip the skin’s natural barrier leaving it dry and tight. So look for products that contain humectants and conditioning agents to counter any dryness.
Ideally, use a pre-shaving product applied underneath a shaving cream that softens and lifts the beard while protecting the skin. It should provide a cushion between the razor and the skin.
Look for pre-shaving or shaving products that include:
- Camphor – a natural antiseptic that helps firm skin to lift the beard.
- Clove Flower Oil – helps to open the pores whilst softening the beard to prevent scraping and tugging of the hair.
- Glycerine and Sodium Hyaluronate – addS an extra lubrication and hydration whilst shaving.
- Wheat Germ Extract and Yeast Extract – great to combat irritation and redness whilst reinforcing the skins natural barrier.
Dermalogica Products to try:
Prepare – with Dermalogica Daily Clean Scrub to gently exfoliate, lift bristles and prevents ingrown hairs.
Protect & soften – with Dermalogica Close Shave Oil. This gem of a shaving oil creates an instant cushion between skin and razor for an ultra-smooth shaving experience and an ultimate close shave. Great for thick and coarse beards.
Shave – Dermalogica Soothing Shave Cream for an ultra-lubricating cream. Delivers a super-close shave that won’t leave skin sore.
Calm – with Dermalogica Post Shave Balm – a redness reducing antidote to hydrate and soothe freshly shaved skin.
6 Top Tips
- Remember to always shave properly with the correct products – no shortcuts such as shaving in the shower with shower gel or worse still, nothing on the skin!
- If you have a heavy and coarse beard, first shave with the beard growth then shave against the hair growth – this reduces the beard from curling back in on itself and minimises ingrown hairs. Remember to re-apply shaving products.
- Consider your skin condition as well when choosing products for pre-shave and during shaving as well as post shaving.
- Always wear sunscreen over freshly-shaved skin.
- Avoid using alcohol based aftershaves, which strip the skins natural oils.
- Exfoliate in the evening rather than directly before shaving.
And there you have it – all you need to know to have your best shave ever!
Quote of the Day
“ If you don’t mind smelling like peanut butter for two or three days, peanut butter is a darn good shaving cream”
US Senator, Barry Goldwater