Does anything sound as awful to the skin as running four tiny blades across it’s surface? After all, the skin is an organ and we wouldn’t dream of doing that to any other of our organs. Even though it logically sounds like it’s bad for your skin, is shaving damaging?
Shaving is how most of us first came to hair removal – you were either begging the parents to let you or they were quietly suggesting it when you hadn’t given it a thought. How many of us went into the bathroom, pink Bic Twin Lady in hand, and shredded our legs to absolute ribbons?!
Shaving has plenty of benefits that other modes of hair removal don’t have in that it’s easy, it’s portable and it’s cheap. To be entirely honest, any skin problems that result from shaving are user-related.
What effects can shaving have on the skin?
- Folliculitis: Folliculitis is what happens when your hair follicle becomes damaged which can happen during shaving (due to poor technique). It usually looks like a normal spot that you’d get except with a visible hair in the centre. Symptoms of folliculitis are an itching or burning sensation in the affected area.
- Ingrown hairs: Ingrown hairs are what happens when the hair shaft breaks and grows back downwards, causing a pus-filled bump on the skin.
- Scars and infection: It’s difficult (but not impossible) to shave a large area of your body without cutting corners (literally)!! When you cut yourself shaving, your skin is vulnerable to infection and you’re also liable to scarring if there are problems with the healing process.
Nuxe’s classic Huile Prodigieuse (€33.00) is a great way to prevent post-shaving dryness and can be used in lieu of shaving foam!
How can I prevent these effects?
Simples – all of these concerns can be intercepted by correcting your shaving technique and being extra careful when it comes to hygiene. Follow my tips and you’ll be like J-Lo in the Venus ad in no time…
- Shave with the grain in regions with coarse hair (ie. the bikini area, the underarms). Coarse hairs are more prone to becoming ingrown so shave in the direction of hair growth. When it comes to your legs, your gams, your pins, whatever you call them, it’s okay to shave upwards as the hair is not as coarse.
- NEVER dry shave!! Dry shaving causes friction between the blade and the skin, meaning that the razor will catch on the hair shafts (and the skin). Without a medium between your razor and your skin, you’re opening yourself up to irritation, redness, itchiness and all of the dreaded bumpies. It also makes the job harder – why make your life more difficult?!
- Rinse the skin with warm water before shaving (or any form of hair removal, for that matter). Maybe you’ve been told this one before but it doesn’t work in the way that you may think. Steam or warm water doesn’t “open” the pore as pores are not doors. However, heat relaxes the skin and thus relaxes the pores and follicles, making it easier to glide along the skin without causing damage!
- Avoid shaving foam. Okay, reader, I may seem bananas for one minute saying “never dry shave” and then telling you to avoid shaving foam. There is reasoning behind this, I promise! Shaving foam is an astringent, meaning that they contain incredibly drying ingredients (ie. alcohol, fragrances etc.). Swap it out for natural oils like almond, jojoba or coconut oil as they will help you get that sweet gliding feeling (like when you’re cutting wrapping paper… aaahh). On top of this, they will moisturise the upper layers of the skin! Caution: be wary as the floor of your shower or bath may suddenly become a Slip-N-Slide, which is dangerous (obviously).
- Stretch the skin before shaving in delicate areas so that each hair is reached individually.
- Be freaky about hygiene. Disposable razors translates to one-use razors and should only be used as such – as soon as you’re done, bin it! Additionally, detachable, disposable razor heads are ALSO one use and always sterilise lady shavers between uses. All of these tools begin gathering bacteria straight after using it but on top of this, most keep them in their bathrooms, meaning they’re damp and warm and the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Ewwww.
- You should be exfoliating the skin one or two days after shaving so as to prevent an accumulation of dead skin cells which leads to ingrown hairs.
To conclude, shaving does not have to be harmful to your skin – it’s yourself who causes any damage!!