Does shaving affect acne?

Men (also women) of all ages are susceptible to getting pimples after shaving. Pimples are caused by bacteria in our skin and shaving it and having your open pores exposed often result to infection. This is also commonly known as shaving acne.

It’s tricky to shave when you have acne or existing breakout. Though not all bumps in your face after a shave is acne, it may be a razor bump. Razor bumps are ingrown hairs. Razor bumps are often caused when a razor blade cuts the hair just beneath the skin’s surface. Razor bumps often occur with cartridge razors as they lift the hair-and-cut (hysteresis) with each pass.

The razor blades on cartridge razors work in tandem with one another. One razor blade will lift the hair slightly up, and the second blade follows close behind to cut the follicle. With each pass, the hair gets cut so low that the tip will be just beneath the surface of the skin.

As the hair regrows, it may turn inwards. Men with curly hair are susceptible to razor bumps. Choice of razor is important; Safety razors, beard trimmers, and select cartridge razors can help to prevent razor bumps as they don’t cut as low.

Shaving acne appears similar to razor bumps but is fundamentally different. Shaving acne is a minor bacterial infection. The infection will occur in the skin pore after shaving. Shaving acne or pimples may be a byproduct of a poor shaving routine. Therefore, it is important to objectively look at each aspect of your regimen and make changes accordingly.

Pondering Darling: Ingrown hair and razor bump removal with APPLE CIDER  VINEGER (with "The Mother") and Tea tree oil .
Razor Bumps and Ingrown Hair are commonly mistaken as the typical acne.

Here are some usual causes of Shaving acne:

Razor Type: Similar to razor bumps, cartridge razors and disposable razors have a multi-blade head. This head design causes more razor blades to be in contact with your skin with each pass. Additionally, the increased number of razor blades cuts the hair lower. Hair cut too low allows an infection to form in the pore. Single blade safety razor is highly recommended.

Safety razor - Wikipedia
Safety Razor

Dirty and Dull Razor: Make sure to use a clean and sharp razor. Using a dull razor increases the times that we shave on the same area repeatedly making it susceptible for more irritation. Always clean your razor after use to remove any hairs, dead skin, left over, products, and bacteria left behind. Not only it will harbor bacteria, not cleaning your razor makes it dull faster.

Improper Skin Cleaning: Always wash or exfoliate the area prior to shaving. This will remove both dead skin cells and bacteria from the surface. If you don’t wash or exfoliate before shaving, then you may be pressing dead skin cells, dirt, and other pollutants further into your pores which may worsen acne.

Over Applying Pressure: If you press too hard while shaving it may irritate your skin and cut the hair too low. Try to let the weight of the razor do the cutting for you.

Shaving Grain: Shaving against the grain is usually done to achieve a “closer shave”. The razor should always be passed with the grain (the direction your hair grows), especially when using a cartridge razor. Going across or against the grain may cause acne due to the hair being cut too low and becoming infected. Learn more about shaving grain here.

Head Shaving – Should You Shave with or Against the Grain? – HeadBlade® UK

Allergic Reaction: Some shaving products contain ingredients that may irritate your skin. Consider trying a new product that relies on a different set of ingredients.

Shaving Brush Stand: If using a shaving brush, make sure that it is stored bristle side down in a stand. This ensures that all moisture is removed from the brush knot, reducing both bacteria and mold from growing.

Shave Frequency: Shaving is a stressful event for your skin. Frequent shaving may cause an overproduction of oil. If possible, take a day or two off between shaves.

Dry Skin: Shaving and some shaving products will dry out your skin. Dry skin may cause excess oil production. Make sure to moisturize after shaving with an aftershave balm or face lotion. Some aftershave products contain drying agents like alcohol and salicylic acid, though it may kill bacteria in the skin it may also cause dryness. Make sure to identify which ingredients work for you. Skinlycious’ Hydrating serum is also proven suitable as an aftershave moisturizer.


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