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How Dermatologists Say You Should Be Shaving

January 5, 2022 by VitalSkin Dermatology

woman shaving leg

Shaving is an important daily ritual for both men and women. Given how many of us do it on a regular basis, however, it can be surprising how few people know the correct methods for shaving. Dermatologists recommend the following steps for shaving to help reduce inflammation and ingrown hairs, while ensuring as smooth as shave as possible.

Choosing a Razor

To start off, what razor should you use? While it is popular these days to have multiple blades on a razor blade, those with sensitive skin should limit themselves to two or three blades. More blades create more opportunities for irritation. Those with acne who shave the face might want to experiment with electric razors to see if that provides less irritation than disposable blades.

Preparing the Area

You should never shave on dry, unprepared skin. As a first step, you should always wet the skin and hair on the area you are about to shave with warm water. Shaving at the end of a shower or after a shower is a good idea— your skin and hair will be softer and the area will have less oil and fewer dead skin cells, both of which can clog up a razor blade and cause a rougher shave. Lightly exfoliating the area can also prep the skin effectively, especially in sensitive areas.

Applying Shaving Gel or Cream

man shaving face As your second step, you want to apply a shaving gel or cream to the area. Rub the cream into the skin in a circular motion. When shaving sensitive areas such as the face or bikini line, let the shaving cream sit on the skin for two to three minutes before you begin shaving. If your skin is at all sensitive, look for shaving gels that are designed for sensitive skin.

The Shaving Process

While many people think they will get a smoother shave if they shave against the hair, dermatologists recommend that you always shave in the direction your hair grows. This will help to reduce the chances of developing razor burn, bumps or ingrown hairs. Try to avoid taking a second swipe on any part of the skin that has already had the shaving cream stripped away. If you need to take a second pass, reapply gel or cream as needed.

Shave with short, consistent strokes. After each swipe, make sure to rinse the blades of the razor with warm to hot water to free them of built-up hair, cream and skin cells. This can also activate the lubricating strips that are part of some disposable razors.

If you are shaving in an area that is aggravated or that has acne, work carefully to avoid nicking the skin or shaving the acne itself. This can aggravate this skin condition and make it worse.

Finishing Up

After you have shaved, rinsing the skin with cool water can help reduce inflammation in sensitive areas. Apply moisturizer to keep the skin toned and healthy and to help limit irritation.

As part of your ongoing shaving routine, make sure to change your razor blades on a regular basis. Disposable razors should not be used for more than 5 to 7 shaves. Older, worn out blades are more apt to cause injury and irritation. While many of us like to keep our razors in the shower or on the sink, it is better to always store your razor blades in a dry area so that it can dry completely between shaves. A dry razor is less likely to carry bacteria that can infect the skin.

Many of us shave on a regular basis and might think we’re experts, but dermatologists still have a few tips that can benefit you and ensure a smooth and healthy shave. If you have questions about skin care or concerns about a skin condition, reach out to a dermatologist today to set up a consultation

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