Men’s Skin Care: Preventing Shaving Razor Bumps

Cynthia Bailey, MD|January 10, 2017

Knowing the correct way to shave will help prevent skin problems like razor bumps, ingrown hairs, skin irritation and pimples caused by shaving. 

Dermatologists treat many men whose skin problems stem from shaving. For best results, skin type, hair curliness, skin bacteria and skin irregularities such as acne and scars are some of the factors to consider when shaving.   

Anthony Rossi, MD, FAAD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Weill Cornell Medical College -New York) just helped the American Academy of Dermatology create a proper Men’s Skin Care Tips page for the AAD web site. He made these good points about shaving:

For some men, multi-blade razors can work too well or shave too closely to the skin. If you often experience razor bumps, razor burns or ingrown hairs, use a single- or double-blade razor instead and do not stretch your skin taut while shaving. Before you shave, wet your skin and hair to soften it. Use a moisturizing shaving cream and shave in the direction of hair growth. Rinse after each swipe of the razor, and change your blade after five to seven shaves to minimize irritation.

You need a slippery or foaming product to help your razor skim over your skin easily. You can get a shaving cream or high foaming soap for this important step. Shaving with a high foaming soap or cleanser works well for many men. Soft water will help your soap foam well. If you have hard water, you may need a shaving cream. 

As a dermatologist, I want you to know 2 additional skin care shaving tips:

  1. If you have a facial skin problem that requires using a treatment cleanser, then use it after shaving. This will help the active ingredients stay on your skin and also help to remove any shaving cream residue. These treatment products might include Foaming Acne Cleanser, and the Foaming Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser for acne. It may also include the Foaming Zinc Cleanser or Calming Zinc Soap for facial seborrhea/dandruff and pityrosporum yeast type of acne.
  2. Don’t apply products that might sting right after you have shaved. Shaving causes small abrasions in your skin and acid pH products like glycolic acid or vitamin C will really sting. If you shave in the morning, then use these products at night instead. Glycolic Acid fights acne and skin roughness. Vitamin C and glycolic acid both fight uneven skin pigment and skin wrinkling. 

Did you know that your daily shaving helps reduce wrinkles?

It’s true! The mechanical aspects of what shaving does to your skin acts like a microdermabrasion treatment to stimulate new collagen formation. Men start out with thicker skin than women, and when you shave throughout adulthood, you add to your skin thickness. Have you noticed that men don’t suffer as many facial wrinkles around their mouths and lower face as women do? Shaving may be inconvenient at times, but it has its upside too! You still need daily facial sunscreen though for lots of other reasons.    

Most popular facial sunscreens for men's include:

I hope you were able to learn some solid new ways to avoid skin care problems while shaving! 

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