First, it’s important to understand that shaving-induced acne is different from razor bumps. When we know this, we learn the best way to treat or prevent acne after shaving. A shaving induced acne break out can be caused by using irritating shaving products, poor preparation before you shave, and using dirty razor blades. It often affects people with sensitive skin, and especially in areas with most hair growth.
Both acne and razor bumps appear as red bumps on the skin that become painful with to touch. But razor bumps are an effect of hair growing back into the skin which irritates the hair follicles to cause the bump and redness. Post-shaving acne occurs when dead skin and oil clog the skin pores. As a result, we see blackheads and whiteheads form. But the issue becomes more apparent when the swellings become inflamed. If you are not cautious enough in your shaving ritual, you might end up with unsightly and painful pimples.
Prevent Acne After Shaving
What Causes Shaving Induced Acne?
If you experience acne after shaving, you might be guilty of the following four things.
- Using dirty or old razor blades: Such razor blades could be harboring bacteria, which can interact with your skin while you shave. That bacteria is more easily deposited into your pores, causing the swellings, as the razor exposes the skin.
- Irritating shaving products: When you use poor quality products or those with ingredients that irritate your skin, they will cause inflammation and swelling which will accelerate the formation of pimples and appear as acne after shaving.
- Poor pre-shave preparation: If you don’t prepare your face adequately for the shave, you expose it to scratches and easier access for bacteria to cause swellings afterward.
- Using hot water to rinse your face: How you rinse your face after shaving matters. Using very hot water opens your pores that allow in dirt and debris that eventually cause acne swellings.
How to Prevent Acne After Shaving
1) Clean up: Before you start shaving, you need to take sanitary measures seriously. Meaning, you should wash your hands to eliminate any form of bacteria on them. Any time you are going to touch your face, ensure your hands are clean first. Also, make it a routine to wash your face at least two times a day. Doing this will get rid of dirt, sweat, and excess skin oils which will play a big part in preventing build-ups that cause acne after shaving. You can also prevent shaving-induced acne by washing your beard properly.
2) Use warm water: Immediately before you shave, splash your face with warm (but not too hot!) water to help open the pores and soften your skin. You can also go ahead and treat your face to a hot towel massage if you’d like. This action will further contribute to opening up your pores and moisturize the skin to help with preventing irritation during and after shaving.
3) Exfoliate your face: As a daily cleaning routine, ensure you lightly exfoliate your face to get rid of dirt and dead skin cells. This way, you reduce the chances of transferring bacteria from your shaving equipment to your skin. A gentle body scrub will perform this function well.
4) Apply toner and use a pre-shave oil: Toners helps medicate and prevent acne from happening when you shave. It gets deep into your pores to remove grime and any dirt that might build up to cause acne. Also, be sure to use pre-shave oil before you start shaving. Buy the right oil before you lather up to help soften your skin and eliminate bacteria. Doing this will also make the shaving process easier, allowing quicker and softer razor blade glides instead of rough shaving which will significantly reduce irritation.
During the Shave
Don’t dry shave: It is unwise to dry shave because that is the main cause of irritation. So, get yourself a shaving soap, cream or gel which when you use, provides a thin layer of coating on your face. The best options for sensitive skin do not have artificial fragrances. Also, look for labels indicating clearly that the product works well with sensitive skin. If the cream, gel or soap is non-irritating, don’t just slap it on the face. Instead, massage it into your skin to reach and soften every hair strand, plus moisturize the skin to prevent shaving-induced acne.
Use a shave brush: Unless explicitly stated on the shaving cream or soap, do not use your hands to apply it. You’ll mat your hair to the skin, which will contribute to pushing in bacteria and dirt into the pores. Instead, get a shave brush to apply your cream of soap. It will help to exfoliate the skin and lift the hair up off the skin, while it provides a richer lather covering. Doing this makes the shaving process much easier and far more pleasant!
Be gentle and patient: You don’t want to apply too much pressure on your skin while you shave. Also, don’t rush through the process. If you do, you can expect cuts, nicks, and irritations which will lead to acne in the end.
Improve your shaving technique: Your technique needs to be on point to avoid creating opportunities for acne to develop. Be sure to shave in the direction your hair grows. You might not get a close shave, but it will be helpful in preventing acne after shaving. You might not get a close shave, but it will be helpful in getting rid of shaving-induced acne. Also, rinse the razor every time you take a stroke to remove hairs and cream from the blade.
Replace your razor blades regularly: If you’re using disposable razors, ensure you don’t use your razor more than 10 times. The ideal number of shaves should be five. When you buy one, ensure it is high quality because the low-quality ones are prone to causing irritations to the user. If you’re prone to forgetting to change your razors, you might want to get a razor subscription to ensure you change them often or, better, switch to a permanent razor like a safety razor or a straight razor.
After Your Shave
Avoid aftershave products that contain alcohol: Whether it is the aftershave balm or moisturizer, it needs to be alcohol-free. Baby oil or aloe will work great to moisturize the skin. Using aftershave balm made from organic ingredients will clean your skin and get rid of bacteria to prevent acne after shaving.
Clean the razor: Cleaning also involves making your shaving equipment ready for the next shaving. You need to make your razor blades squeaky clean by removing hair and any leftover product from both sides, rinse properly, dry it off, and use alcohol to wipe. Do not keep it in the shower because the moist environment will attract bacteria and cause it to rust much more quickly.
Other potential causes of acne
You might assume that the you have developed acne after shaving, but that is not always the case. Other reasons might be the cause, and so if you’ve tried everything else, consider the following and correct where necessary.
Avoid picking and touching your face: If you have a habit of picking your face, that could be the reason your acne gets worse. You are enabling the irritation and bacteria to affect your skin.
Consider what you eat: Your nutrition matters when it comes to skin care. Oily foods like fried foods, pizza, and sugary meals contribute to acne on the skin. It is essential that you eat a healthy diet and remain hydrated throughout the day to flush the skin of any unwanted toxins.
Stress: Having stress causes hormonal imbalance which might cause acne. Find the cause of your stress and get rid of it.
Antibiotics/Retinoid Creams: Ask your doctor to suggest medication for skin infections if everything else does not work. The retinoid creams will eliminate dead skin and unclog pores while antibiotics handle serious infections.
Acne that comes about with shaving can cause serious issues on your skin that might need treatment from a dermatologist. By preparing your face before you shave, using clean or new blades, applying the right techniques during the shave, and taking care of your face afterward, you can prevent a lot of factors that contribute to shaving induced acne, and hopefully maintain clear skin.
Of course, you can’t apply all the tips above at once, but ensure you do all you can for the best results. And, positive results don’t come about overnight. Make it a routine to do as suggested and with time, you’ll notice the difference. If nothing seems to help, find help from a skin specialist nearby.