Skin Irritation: Secrets to a Smooth Shave

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Smooth Shave

There is nothing like post-shaving skin irritation to ruin a person’s day. It’s uncomfortable, often painful and can transform smooth skin into a red, bumpy mess, which is the last thing we want after putting in so much time to achieve the perfect shave. While some people seem to have no trouble getting that desired, blemish-free skin, many others are constantly plagued with irritating shaving rash and razor burn that just can’t seem to be avoided.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid skin irritation that could potentially provide you with some much needed relief. First off, did you know that razor burn and shaving rash were actually two different types of skin irritation both caused by improper shaving?

Razor burn

The milder of the two is razor burn, which is caused by a dull razor or when a shaver doesn’t apply the required amount of shaving gel/cream. To avoid razor burn, always make sure your blades are sharp and your skin, thoroughly lubricated before you start making passes with the razor. If you use a dull razor or shave on dry skin, you will in all likelihood nick your skin and create a burning rash. This rash will also intensify if it comes in contact with sweat or chemicals.  To further avoid razor burn, refrain from using alcohol based products on freshly shaved skin.

Smooth Shave

Shaving Rash

Shaving rash on the other hand, occurs when the cut hairs grow back into the skin, creating the dreaded in-gown hair. These in-grown hairs are not only irritating, but painful as well. Follow these steps to avoid shaving rash and to perform a proper shave for both men and women.

1)      Take your time. Rushing while shaving is the best way to achieve an uneven shave complete with nicks and cuts.

2)      Make sure the hairs are soft by exposing your skin to warm water for several minutes before you begin with the blade.  Men can run warm water over their face in the shower and women can soak their legs in the bath. This exposure to steam and warm water will soften the hair so the ends won’t be as sharp after they are cut, making them less likely to grow back into the skin.

3)      Always use fresh, clean razors. Dull razors will become rounded and chipped, making them easy to catch on your skin and hairs.  Some hairs will be cut and others missed, creating an uneven shave that will force you to make numerous passes over the same area.

4)      Use a quality, moisturizing shave cream/gel. Don’t use soap or anything that could potentially dry out your skin (this will also increase your chances of razor burn). A good shaving lubricant should create a rich lather and won’t foam like cheaper brands. The idea is to get as much lubrication between your skin and the blade as you can.

            A shaving brush is a great tool for men. It raises the hairs, making them easier to cut,     helps to create that thick lather, and even exfoliates the skin to remove dead skin cells.

5)      Don’t shave against the grain; follow the direction your hairs are growing in. It’s okay to take more than one pass, but refrain from pushing down too hard and be sure to run your blade under water after each pass.

            Also, don’t pull the skin taunt when shaving. While it may allow you to get a close shave,             once you release the skin, the hairs can curl and grow back into your skin.

6)      When you are finished, apply a moisturizing lotion or balm like The Art of Shaving After Shave Balm immediately after to sooth and rehydrate your freshly shaved skin.

So now that you know how to best avoid after shaving skin irritation, gather the proper tools like sharp razors, moisturizing shaving cream and an after shaving balm, and allow yourself sufficient time to achieve that perfect, smooth shave that we all desire.