Shaving tips for men

March 24, 2008 10:39:58 AM PDT
The average man will shave 20,000 times in his lifetime. Most men learn shaving techniques from their parents, friends and in the locker room. Some bad habits may be passed along that can cause nicks, rashes, ingrown hairs, scars and discoloration, says Brooke Jackson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. African-American men often have these problems, she adds.

The ideal cure for shaving problems is to stop shaving, Dr. Jackson points out. However, this is not practical as certain professions require the face to be either clean shaven for safety reasons or have minimal facial hair as seen in firefighters, military personnel and conservative banking positions.

Here are some shaving tips from Dr. Jackson, the founder of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago.

Common Problems with African American men and shaving:

1. (PFB) Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (razor bumps)

a. Due to the curly nature of hair, shaving causes a sharp edge and hair re-enters the skin, causing inflammatory reaction and a hair bump

2. Scars

a. This results from picking and trying to free ingrown hairs

3. Discoloration of beard area

a. Brown skin discolors with irritation

4. Razor burn

a. Use of irritation products on skin such as alcohol causes razor burn

Proper Shaving Technique

1. Pre-shave preparation of your skin

a. Once or twice a day, use a baby's toothbrush (soft bristle) in circular motion to dislodge any ingrown hairs

2. Pre-shave exfoliation

a. Do this 1-2 times per week

b. Do not do this just prior to shaving

c. Aveeno or Dove cloth removes dead skin, softens skin

3. Shave less frequently and not as closely

4. Clippers can be used but will not give close shave

5. Chemical depilatories (magic shave)

a. Thioglycolate melts hair, scrape off, but it is a chemical and can cause irritation

6. Wet shave Tips:

a. Cleanse skin with a gentle cleanser

b. Soften and hydrate beard hair prior to shaving

i. Apply a warm compress to beard area for 3-5 minutes prior to shaving, allows hairs to stand up on skin

c. Use a non-irritating cream to lubricate face- (Aveeno, Vanicream) with Gillette Mach 3.

i. Allows blade to glide over skin, flexible for contours of face

d. Shave with the grain of hair and do not stretch skin ? use a one handed method.

i. Shaving against grain can push hair back into skin, causing a bump.

ii. Rinse blade frequently to unclog the blade

e. Soothe skin afterward ? (hydrating serum or hydrapeptide gel). Avoid alcohol containing products-too drying and irritation

7. Maintain your skin with a topical glycolic or kojilac cream

a. This softens skin, decreases hyperpigmentation on non-shaving days

TROUBLED SKIN SOLUTIONS

1. Laser hair removal ? collar area most common

a. Reduces density of hair

b. Will need to shave less often (reduces irritation)

c. Safe for dark skin.

d. Not effective for grey, white hair

2. Chemical peels ? helps with inflammation, discoloration

Here are a few products that Dr. Jackson's recommends:

- Aveeno Shave Gel, $3.59 at Target

- Aveeno Facial Scrub, $5.49 Target

- Dove Cloths, $5.89 at Target

- Mach 3 Razor, $8.64 at Target

- Vanicream Sensitive Skin Shave Cream, $8.95 at drugstores

- Hydrating serum, $38 at Skin Wellness Center of Chicago

- Lacticleanse, $23 at Skin Wellness Center of Chicago

- Hydrapeptide gel, $62 at Skin Wellness Center of Chicago


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