For most men, shaving is a lifelong ritual. However, without knowing how to do it the right way, shaving may lead to skin irritation. There are many causes of shaving-related skin problems including shaving methods. Today, DORCO introduces how improper shaving can lead to skin troubles and how to shave correctly.
What Causes Acne?
One of the causes of skin problems provoked by incorrect shaving is poor razor hygiene. A razor blade becomes blunt if it is continuously used without being replaced in time. A dull blade can cause skin cuts or breakouts, as it can snag on hairs, rather than glide through them cleanly. In addition, if the razor blade is not washed properly after use, debris left in the razor may cause skin irritation the next time you shave. Not using shaving cream and aftershave may also do harm to the skin. There is an increased risk of razor cuts during shaving without lather from shaving cream, and it is difficult to soothe the skin and manage post-shave micro-irritation without the help of aftershave.
How to Prevent Acne When Shaving
Then what is the safe way to shave? Here are step-by-step tips to achieve a smooth shave, while protecting the skin.
1) Before Shaving
Washing your face with warm water before shaving is the first step to a healthy shave. When hydrated, the skin and facial hair soften. As facial hair consists of protein, the warmness opens up the protein and makes it tender. In addition, rinsing helps remove sweat and oil from the skin that may interfere with shaving, and it cleanses dead skin cells and dirt, preventing bacteria from growing during shaving.
2) During Shaving
One may skip using shaving cream or instead use soap or cleansing foam when shaving. However, shaving gel or shaving foam is strongly recommended for safe shaving. Shaving cream acts as a cushion and induces the razor blade to glide over the facial contours without causing skin irritations. In addition, shaving cream hydrates facial hair for easy shaving. Stiff facial hair increases the risk of causing damage to the razor blade, and as is the case with face steaming, applying shaving cream helps soften facial hair. A shaving gel is similar to a shaving foam in many areas, but it is easier to create lather with shaving foam than shaving gel. For those with sensitive skin, shaving gel is recommended since the gel is denser.
The unevenness of the skin texture would make it difficult for the razor to run smoothly and consistently. Accordingly, the tautness of the skin ensures the hairs stand on end and results in close contact between the razor and skin. Stretching the skin by lifting the chin upwards slightly, or puffing up the cheeks, or pulling the skin with one hand helps keep the skin taut for stable shaving.
3) After Shaving
After shaving, a cold water rinse is a great way to soothe the irritated skin. Cold water helps soothe the skin from potential minor cuts and tightens up pores which opened up with warm water and shaving. It also keeps debris from clogging up pores and thus prevents skin troubles.
The often-overlooked ritual of shaving is aftershave treatment. Aftershave is a must in shaving routine, as it relieves itching and swelling caused by skin damages and ingrown hair. Additionally, typical aftershave contains an antiseptic ingredient, alcohol, which acts as an astringent to prevent infection from skin damages and helps heal razor cuts. Aftershave safeguards skin pores with a water- or oil-based layer and staves off pore infection and accelerates the regeneration of skin cells. With all things considered, using aftershave is highly recommendable. For toner users, it is best to apply aftershave first and finish with lotion to achieve the best moisturizing effects, as aftershave absorbs faster into the skin.
Today we looked into the common causes of shaving-related skin problems and the art of shaving. Understanding shaving habits that cause skin irritation and following the step-by-step shaving guide will help you shave safely and smoothly while protecting the skin. Stay tuned for the upcoming video which will dive deeper into the details on how to shave safely on acne-prone skin.
*This article is written in consultation with Wooyoung Ryu, a professional barber with Korean N2rage Barbershop.