Shaving gives an instant makeover. You can go from looking tired, untidy and ill to looking fresh, clean, sophisticated and fair in just a few strokes of a razor. But it’s not all hunky-dory. Shaving, does pose certain problems, but they’re nothing a discerning man cannot handle. Here’s some help dealing with them.
Problem: To shave or not to shave
Solution: To shave. Shaving actually helps remove a layer of dead skin cells and dirt from your face leaving it cleaner and healthier. Shaving also helps maintain hygiene and allows for easier grooming. Believe me a clean shaven man looks more reliable and in control than an unkempt one with a stubble. Of course, this has no reflection on the fashion trend of keeping a stubble like many film stars or rock stars do. Stubbles only require a certain extra care and suit only some faces and that too in professions related to entertainment and media at the most, where jeans is second skin. Doctors, bankers, teachers, and professionals, who have to dress up in formals, are best viewed clean shaven.
Problem: Little dryness after shaving
Solution: Your skin is constantly losing moisture at a rapid rate resulting in dryness and itching. Also shaving strips more moisture as one uses hot water when shaving one’s face.Use lukewarm and not hot water when you shave. Soap-free foams or gels or foams or gels with moisturising agents minimise the damage. Those with oily skin do get a break from skin eruptions and can continue shaving with hot water.
Problem: Extreme dry and course face
Solution: Use a moisturiser. And no, it’s not just for women. There is nothing effeminate about moisturising. I always moisturise after shaving. This soothes any aggression the skin faces in its tryst with the razor. After all, these are really keen blades running over your skin. Men with oily skin do not need as much moisturising as men with dry skin. Don’t assume you automatically need a moisturiser because your face feels taut after you shave it. Wait half an hour as it takes your facial skin some time to restore lost moisture. If your face still feels stretchy, use a moisturiser only in areas that you have shaved.
Problem: Razor burn
Solution: Proper lubrication, changing blades. Razor burns is basically a mild pimple-like rash that appears a few days after shaving. It often disappears quickly and is almost always caused by a dull blade or insufficient lubrication. Lubricate well before you shave. I use a gentle cleanser every day and avoid soap. Here, too using lukewarm water is important. Also, finish with cool water rinse to seal pores after shaving. Never shave over a pimple or cut as this only aggravates the skin.
Problem: Razor bumps
Solution: Shave with a light hand. When the hair curls and grows back into the skin, it inflames the skin. Razor bumps resemble a pimple in appearance. Men who have thick, curly hair often face this problem. On the skin, razor bumps may resemble pimples. And when you shave too closely, it prevents the hair from naturally coming out of the follicles. Give time for the hair to come out naturally. Avoid close shaves.
Problem: Nicks and cuts
Solution: Time. I allot a reasonable time for shaving every morning. If it means waking up 15 minutes earlier than usual, so be it. Experts agree that hurry or haphazard shaving is responsible for maximum shaving mishaps! I apply foam or shaving cream evenly and generously all over the area to be shaved. Then rub in the foam with circular motion for at least half a minute so that my skin is stimulated and stubble is relatively softened. It is a myth that one has to shave against the grain for a closer shave.
First, I shave along the grain with even pressure and in one direction at a time. Then, if need be, I shave ‘gently’ against but while holding my skin stretched. If there are cuts, however, make sure to treat them with some antibiotic solution or cream. If the cut is deep than seal it with tape after you apply medication.
For minor nicks a good after-shave does the trick for me, but I do not shave over a cut till it is completely healed to avoid leaving scars on my face.
Problem: Ingrown hair
Solution: Exfoliate. Ingrown hair does not break through the surface of the skin. It grows sideways inside the skin instead. This happens because of several reasons—having coarse facial hair, dry or overly oily skin, blocked pores due to build-up of dead skin, and dirt and grime. Exfoliate daily with a gentle scrub, which helps dislodge dead and fatigued skin. Your aim is to open up pores. Placing a damp cloth on your skin helps do that too. It case of ingrown hair, allow hair to break out of the follicle on its own, do not scratch or cut.
For a stubborn problem, consider a mild cosmetic/Glycolic peel or Dermabrasion at a dermatologist’s office, which can remove layers of dead skin that covers the healthy skin beneath.
Solution: High-end products. Newly shaved skin itches if it has tiny cracks and bacteria. Chemicals used in shaving products irritate it further. I ditch basic razors for razors with aloe vera strips that sooth while I shave. Razors with rubber strips that stretch you facial skin while shaving too are also a good solution. For immediate relief, try creams or lotions made with natural ingredients. Benadryl creams, which contain antihistamines, also provide instant relief. Use a skin repair serum if you are over forty.
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