A Close and Healthy Shave

Shahnaz Husain

A man’s skin is just as vulnerable as a woman’s. Exposure to the sun, air pollutants, chlorinated water, harsh soaps, all influence his skin. However, the shaving routine can affect the skin most of all, making it dry and sensitive and cause skin irritation and redness.  Many after-shave products are alcohol based and this may compound the problem, causing further dryness, skin irritation and sensitivity.

A common condition after shaving is “Razor Burn”. It looks like irritated skin, with a red rashy area. This can be due to various reasons, like dry shaving, or shaving with an old dull razor, or even shaving against the direction of hair growth. There may be a burning sensation, or even itching. Apart from dryness, the other problems that can result from daily shaving are ingrown hair or coarse hair growing in a curved hair follicle. Dead skin cells or hardened oil collecting in the pores can often cause irritation and ingrown hair. Of course, this does not happen to all men. Some are more predisposed to them, due to genetic factors. Other shaving related problems may be itching of the skin or even pain sometimes.

Proper shaving techniques and skin care can go a long way in avoiding problems and also dealing with them when they occur. One should select shaving and after-shave products with care. A mild face wash or cleanser would also help to counteract dryness. In fact, in cases of dryness, it may be a good idea to discontinue soap and use a cleansing gel instead. Before shaving, ensure that the beard is thoroughly wet. The hair is porous and absorbs the water. This makes shaving easier. Many men prefer to shower before shaving and this makes the beard totally wet. Or, apply lukewarm water to the face before shaving, rinsing well.

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