Shaving can be a big issue if your skin is prone to acne breakouts. This is an issue with lot of people (teen agers and people in 20s especially). There are two kinds of issues faced while shaving:
- In most cases the problem is shaving an acne prone skin is the problem as razor can damage the pimple cause irritation.
- The second issue is is "beard bumps". Bear bumps are scientifically known as Pseudofolliculitis barbae and they are basically acne breakouts caused due to shaving. They are caused as the hair gets trapped in the follicle
Bothe these issues are common but can be taken care of is ones shaves properly.
Step by step guide for Shaving an Acne Prone skin
Below is a step by step guide on how to shave to avoid acne breakouts or its worsening.
Step 1: Selecting shaving material
Choosing a Razor : This is one of the most important part of the shaving kit and you should pay special attention to it. Today, razors with 3-4 blades are available for smooth shave, but based on common understanding, it is advisable to use razors of single or at most double blades. This is because more blades, more dragging and stretching of the hair and of the skin. Multiple blade razors actually lift the hair out of the follicle (that's why they give a close shave) which is below the epidermis (of the outermost layers of cells in the skin). When body redevelops the epidermis, the growing hair is then trapped inside it causing inflammation and acne breakouts.
Further, it is also a matter of hit an trial, try a few razors and see which one suits well. Some people also prefer single blade electric razors.
Choosing shaving cream : Use a thinner and creamier shaving cream as this would help in making skin softer and also decrease the friction between the razor blades and skin. Another important point to be taken care if you already have acne is always go for a " non-comedogenic" shaving cream.
Shaving brush : This may sound like old school but using a shaving brush to make lather is a great way to shave if you develop beard bumps. The logic is simple, spreading and making lather using shaving brush makes skin smoother and hair softer.
Step 2 : Softening your skin and beard
Many of us start shaving just after applying the cream / foam etc. While this might work in a normal skin, but not in case if you have acne breakouts. To minimize the irritation during the shave you must soften both your skin and hair. This is be very easily done by applying warm water (or normal water if you do not have warm water). Hydration helps in making the skin more pliable / flexible.
The easiest way to achieve this is to shave just after you take a shower. Use an anti-fog mirror in your bathroom to shave. Another way is using a pre-shave oil. It does the exact work as warm water. If you do use pre-shave oil, use the ones which are "non-comedogenic". Oils with jojoba oil in them are known to work very well.
Step 3: Lather well before shaving
Make sure you use good amount of lather to shave. Use of a shaving brush is recommended. If you do not want to use a shaving brush, use foam based cream / soaps and spread it / massage it over the beard for some time before beginning to shave. Make sure you give it sometime before you start shaving.
Step 4: Shave with the grain
If you shave in the direction the hair grows in, it is termed as "with the grain". Many of us go for a close shave and thus shave against the grain. but if you have acne or develop beard bumps you should always shave with the grain. Also there are certain parts you should be extra careful while shaving, e.g. chin, neck area etc.
If you want to use razor twice on an area always put new layer of lather before you do that. It is advised not to shave multiple times if you have acne issues.
Take little extra caution and gentle while shaving at areas with pimples, you might have to use razor from multiple angles in some cases to avoid a large pimple you do not want to shave over.
Step 5: Washing after shaving
Once you are satisfied with the shave use enough water to splash on the face to remove the lather. You can also apply some antibacterial gel on the skin. It is common to use benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid gel for this purpose. They are helpful in both cases – beard bumps and existing acne.
Once done do not rub your face hard with the towel, just gently pat over your surface. You can also use medicated towels if you want.
Following the above steps can avoid acne worsening or development of beard bumps to a great extent. Also remember, with hit and trial you will have to find your ideal razor, shaving cream and style of shaving for best results.