Caring for acne-prone skin is a pain, and for men with pimples, shaving often makes things worse. Razors can irritate the skin, catch on pimples causing them to bleed, and leave unsightly cuts and scars – but what can you do, beyond growing a beard and hiding behind it?
Developing a more regimented skincare routine, including better exfoliation and toning, can improve your skin, but your best defense against worsening skin problems is improving your shaving technique.
These 5 steps can help you get a clean shave while also minimizing acne issues.
Ditch The Aerosols
Many men use basic canned shaving cream to lather up when they shave, assuming that this is enough to protect their skin and get a clean shave, but the only thing these products offer is speed. They can also make acne worse because they contain irritating preservatives.
If you want clearer skin, then, skip the can of shaving cream and choose an old-fashioned shaving soap. Because these soaps contain fats, they help hydrate the skin, while still providing the thick lather needed for a smooth shave.
Get A Basic Blade
Popular safety razor commercials promote new, multi-blade iterations that promise a closer shave, but multiple blades don’t actually guarantee less irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. That’s because these razors employ multiple blades to make up for the fact that the individual blades aren’t very sharp, leading the razor to pull hairs, rather than cut them.
If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, try swapping out your multi-blade drugstore razor and using a safety razor instead. With one sharp blade, safety razors eliminate bumps and rashes and minimize acne-causing inflammation.
Opt For One Pass
In addition to yanking hairs out of the skin, another major problem with multi-blade razors is that they encourage multi-pass shaving – blades going over each point on your skin multiple times. This is the precise opposite of the one-pass approach that most experts recommend for minimal irritation, but many find this hard to achieve. The secret is to wash your face before you shave, and leave the cleanser on for a minute in order to soften the hair. Like using the right blade, one-pass shaving reduces irritation so you get fewer breakouts.
Don’t Shave Over Pimples
This sounds like common sense, but many men attempt to shave right over pimples, ignoring the pain and infection risk. Their logic? That removing the tops of pimples might make them heal faster. This is simply untrue; all shaving over pimples does is cause them to scab and potentially scar. Your razor can also drag harmful bacteria into these now open wounds. Instead of shaving over pimples, do your best to shave around blemishes and allow them to heal naturally.
One of the most important things you can do to reduce acne and irritation when shaving is to make sure you’re rinsing debris off of your razor after every pass. Those bits of dead skin and hair make your blade less effective and can clog up your pores, leading to pimples. If you rinse our blade with every pass, though, you can get a close shave without bumps and inflammation.
Most of the best shaving practices for minimizing acne are the same as they would be for those without acne – the goal is simply to reduce irritation. What’s different for those men who are prone to breakouts, though, is that failure to follow shaving best practices can undo all the other hard work you’ve done to improve your skin.
The good news is that shaving correctly and with minimal irritation is an easily achievable goal. All you need are the right tools and the willingness to give your skin a little TLC.