Many men and women have dealt with ingrown hairs or razor bumps at one point or another. Ingrown hairs occur when your hair curls over inside the follicle and doesn't make it to the surface. The result is an unsightly, "bump" on the skin. Razor bumps form when a growing hair exits the follicle and bends back towards the skin surface. When you shave, you help sharpen the hair ends, making it easier for them to penetrate the skin. We can agree that razor bumps itch, burn, can cause scarring and can make shaving horrible! I remember my dad using Magic Shave and it seemed to work better than blades - but some of these creams or mixtures, if not used correctly, can actually irritate the skin, and make it worse. Here are some helpful shaving tips that may help ease some of the pain and more importantly, save your face. Happy Shaving!
1. ALWAYS use a clean and sharp razor blade (electric razors too) and throw it out after 3-4 uses. Might seem excessive, but dull blades cause men to go over the same area of skin, causing irritation and improperly cutting hair. If you’re using electric shavers, remember to replace the rotary blades or foil after a couple of months. Of course if you're required to shave daily, you may have to replace them sooner.
2. REDUCE the amount of times you shave to every other day. Give your skin time to rest and heal, doing this allows hairs to grow straight through the skin's surface and won’t force the too-short hairs back into the skin.
3. EXFOLIATE with a gentle scrub to remove the top layer of dead cells and allow hairs to grow out easier. Exfoliation also helps soften skin, clears pores and evens out blemishes.
4. SHAVE THE WAY THE HAIR GROWS! Always shave in the direction of the hair growth. This is also critical around the neck areas since shaving against the grain is one of the main causes of pointy, sharp hairs that can burrow back into the skin. Use your hands to feel the direction of the hair. Shaving upward may give you a closer shave, but you want to reduce irritation and the likelihood of hairs growing back into the skin.
5. NEVER stretch your skin while shaving. Pulling your cheeks, chin or neck while shaving in order to get a closer shave, may cause darkness and discoloration of underlying skin tissue.
6. SOFTEN the hairs before shaving. Begin your routine by washing with a mild cleanser gently massaging the area with warm water, then apply a shave cream or shave oil and allow it to sit on the face for a minute or two to completely coat hairs before shaving. This will soften any stubble and remove excess dead skin cells providing a smoother surface for shaving.
7. AFTER-SHAVE solution with hydrating ingredients like aloe, witch hazel and tea tree extract after shaviing to help cut down on redness and discomfort. Tea Tree is a natural antiseptic, anti-fungal and well-rounded essential oil and a personal favorite! Stay away from products that contain alcohol!
8. DON’T PLUCK! Plucking ingrown hairs out will just cause another hair grow again and you'll be facing the same exact problem.
9. TAKE YOUR TIME! Everyone's been guilty of the quick out the door shave, but taking your time can spectacularly reduce nicks and cuts that can irritate razor bumps.
10. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT Many skin irritations may subside if certain foods are avoided. Fatty foods, foods containing oils, cholesterol and sodium, can make your skin more prone to damage when shaving.
11. GROW A BEARD! This may not be the right solution for those required to shave daily, such as the military and other business professions, but if you can handle this style, go for it! You will totally eliminate the razor bump worries and ingrown hair issues. Even better, you can get rid of those sharp blades!