Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hair Removal Options: Shaving & Your Skin

Please first read Thoughts about Hair Removal Options for some important preliminary information.

As most of you hopefully know, preparing your skin before shaving is of the utmost importance. If your skin is flaky and dry, shaving will be an exercise in skin irritation. To prepare your skin before shaving, the following re the steps I recommend.

Exfoliating the area to be shaved is essential for good results. Exfoliation gets rid of dead cell buildup on the surface of your skin. This buildup is a factor if you are feeling dry. If you are a woman who has trouble shaving your legs, try exfoliating beforehand and see if this helps you get a smoother shave.

For men, you are actually exfoliating every time your shave, so it may not be practical to pre-exfoliate your face every time before you shaveunless you are having problems shaving due to dehydrated skin. Using an exfoliant (like a scrub or gommage) at least once or twice a week on your entire face will give your skin a smoother texture , setting up the optimum environment for shaving. Keeping your skin well-moisturized day and night will also help the cause.

Next I recommend using a soothing shaving cream. Aveeno is the brand I like best, and it is good for men and women alike. On the bottle it says, “Dermatologist recommended, therapeutic shave gel with natural colloidal oatmeal. For sensitive skin, irritated skin, razor bumps. No added fragrance.” This is certainly not the only shaving product available, and perhaps you have already found one that works well for you, but if not, try Aveeno shaving cream and hopefully you will get better results.

I do not recommend using soap (especially bar soap) to shave with. Usually soap is alkaline, causing dryness on the surface of your skin. It also does not give you a thick, creamy-textured substance for the razor to glide across. Stick to shaving gels. You can even find some that heat up on your skin. In emergencies I have used cream rinse (hair conditioner) as a substitute shaving cream. I don’t recommend this as a regular practice, but in a pinch it works better than soap, creating a smooth surface to work with without drying out the skin.

Note: If you find your skin becomes irritated after using a shaving product, discontinue use and try something else. Irritation may be your skin telling you it is sensitive to something in a product, and irritation is not the goal. But before blaming a product, please make sure your razor has a sharp edge. A dull, overused razor spells disaster for even the best-prepared surface.

Finally a triple (or more) blade razor is a must in my opinion. Years ago I had a client who shaved his head. I asked him what he used to get such a close shave without nicking his head. He said triple blades made all the difference in the world. A few days later one of my employees said about the same thing for shaving concerns for women. I immediately ran out and got a triple blade razor and have been singing its praises ever since. If you haven’t ever used a triple blade, give one a try. Once you do, you won’t go back to a double blade—I promise! You can find razors with 4-5 blades now.

If you are shaving your bikini area, ladies, no doubt you have run into some problems—namely irritation and ingrown hairs. Shaving with a triple blade razor may bring some relief, but due to the delicate nature of that particular skin, shaving is not the optimum way to remove hair at the bikini line. It is, however, the cheapest way. So if money is a factor (and you don’t experience the pain of irritation and ingrown hairs), shave on. But if you are a woman who does have problems when shaving this area, waxing or even electrolysis may be something to consider. These services will cost varying amounts of money, but will give you fewer problems than shaving that delicate area. 

Aftershave. Whether you are male or female, using something on your skin after you shave (wherever you shave) will greatly increase your chances of having smooth and soothed skin. As long as you are not allergic to it, aloe vera gel makes a great aftershave skin soother. Slather it over the area just shaved. Aloe vera has tremendous healing and soothing abilities; it is used for sunburns, so it will help with your after-shaving needs too. Another alternative would be to use your toner in a spray bottle as an aftershave. As long as you use a toner without alcohol, this product will hydrate and soothe just-shaved skin.

Of course there are many aftershave products on the market, but be sure to use one without alcohol—the bad kind (isopropyl alcohol)—in its ingredient list. Alcohol will be anything but soothing, although it does have antiseptic abilities. Alcohol will probably cause a burning sensation, which is the opposite effect you are looking for after your have run a razor over your skin.

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