If it favors the clean appearance on facial hair, then shaving is probably the longest part of your preparation routine. For something that requires so much effort to ruin your appearance with red marks throughout your money generator seems as unfair as life can become.
However, don't panic, leave the trimmer and go to Hagrid. You can avoid ingrown hairs when shaving and the accompanying razor; You just need to make some adjustments in the way you prepare your skin, shave and then take care of your day.
What are ingrown hairs?
You can get ingrown hairs on any part of your body where hair sprouts from your skin, but especially in those areas that are also regularly shaved. An ingrown hair is caused by a hair follicle that grows towards the skin instead of up and out. It occurs more frequently when shaving, which can irritate the skin.
"Ingrown hair can occur by shaving in the direction in which the hair grows," says Dr. Aamer Khan, co-founder of the Harley Street Skin Clinic and author of Turn Back Time, "and with acne-prone people abnormal sebaceous activity. glands associated with hair follicles. "
When shaving, the blade will cut the follicle at an uneven angle, leaving it with a sharper edge so that it can easily pass through the skin and grow back inward, irritation under the skin causes a red bump.
People with darker skin tones are also usually more prone to these ingrown hairs, since their skin is thicker and thick and curly hair, so it is more tilted back anyway. Men with curly hair are 50 times more likely than those with straight hair to suffer ingrown hair.
Keep in mind that those little red bumps on your face (or elsewhere) could also be simple razor burns.
"The razor burn more generally refers to the irritation from shaving," says Dr. Kristina Vanoosthuyze, director of scientific communications for the Gillette razor brand, "describing the typical symptoms that can be felt after a bad shave of the skin feeling hot, itchy, burning or burning to skin that looks red or has small notches.
"Men generally suffer from shaving burns when they do not use effective lubrication, such as foam or shaving gel, or after using a blunt or poor quality blade."
Treatment and removal of ingrown hair
If you stop shaving on irritated skin, ingrown hair will often disappear on its own within a couple of weeks. An over-the-counter steroid cream such as hydrocortisone will reduce inflammation in the meantime, reducing redness.
An overnight ointment or healing lotion, such as Aquaphor, can also help soothe the skin, but make sure it isn't comedogenic, which means it won't clog pores. If the bump does not fade, you may have to see a healthcare professional to undergo an alternative treatment or removal.
"One option is level light therapy that will reduce inflammation and bacteria, however, sometimes antibiotics and manual hair removal may be required," says Khan. “Laser hair removal can be useful, but prevention is always better than cure, so it is recommended to exfoliate and shave regularly in the direction of hair growth. In extreme cases, letting your beard grow may be the only option. "
How to prevent ingrown hairs
Try an electric shaver
If you need to shave every day, but want to give your skin a day off, shave one day, before using the electric shaver the next day. An electric shaver will have an aluminum cover over the blades that prevents them from being cut close enough to irritate the skin, protecting you from the notches and, in turn, helping to prevent ingrown hair by cutting hair away from the level of the skin.
Shave after shower
The electric shaver can help prevent ingrown hair, but is less effective against the five o'clock shadow. If you really want a close shave, you will have to get wet, just make sure you do it correctly. First things first, take a shower before shaving. "Hot water and steam can soften the hair of the beard," says Vanoosthuyze.
It will also help you apply less pressure on the shaver handle when shaving, which will reduce irritation.
Wash your face
You are probably used to keeping your daily facial wash until the end of your bathing routine, but when it comes to preventing ingrown hairs, it is worth starting with a scrub.
"Washing your face with a gentle cleanser will not only soften the hairs on your beard and make them easier to cut," says Vanoosthuyze, "but the action of rubbing the hand can also help release trapped or ingrown hairs."
Use a foam or gel
Just as a soldier never goes into battle without his armor, you must put a barrier on your skin to protect yourself against that barrage of blades.
"Apply a lot of shaving foam or gel," says Vanoosthuyze. "This provides a protective layer and improves the sliding of the razor for a softer and more comfortable shave."
Ingrown hairs are particularly common around the neck area, where the hair is flat, making it difficult for the blade to cut the follicle cleanly. Consider a foamed shaving cream on your face with a badger hair brush for this enigma, the circular movement helps to lift these hairs, before cutting them.
Replace your blades
"Always use a sharp blade and replace it at the first signs of discomfort," says Vanoosthuyze. "As the blades become old and dull, they can begin to pull the hairs and increase the risk of irritation."
As a general criterion, change yours every five or seven shaves.
Take it to one or two blades
Some argue that the race for more blades in recent years has caused more irritation in people with sensitive skin. The reasoning is that once the follicle has been cut with the first blade, the last blades simply pull what is left of the follicle.
If you have sensitive skin or recurring problems with razor bumps, consider a razor with only two or three blades. An old-school safety razor that will have a single blade is also a good alternative, although they require some practice to start and can cut your skin more easily.
If you are worried about not shaving enough, simply use the two-blade razor around the neck, where a sharp shave is less obvious and the bumps are more frequent.
Shave with growth
Shaving against the growth of your facial hair is the oldest mistake in the wet shaving book. Shaving against the grain will provide a closer shave as the blade pulls the hair before cutting, but this uneven angle in the opposite direction will lead to ingrown hairs in those that are prone.
If you have shaving bumps, grow your facial hair for a few days and evaluate the growth of your facial hair. The hair on the face tends to grow down, while the hair on the neck can sometimes grow up. You may have shaved against the grain of your facial hair all the time.
Explosion with cold water after
After that hot shower has softened the hair and opened the pores, you will want to close them again. The explosion of your face with cold water will close the pores, preventing all dirt and dead skin cells raised from your shave from re-entering them and wreaking havoc.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
While a wet shave can help cleanse the skin of dead skin cells, there is also some trauma that occurs by dragging five super sharp blades over the smooth skin of the face.
Now dry and irritated, you need some instant TLC in the form of a moisturizer or after-shave balm, which will also prevent cells from compensating excessively for dryness by increasing sebum, which can cause all trash to get stuck in the pores , and cause stains.
Some after-shave products will contain alcohol for their antibacterial properties, but alcohol can irritate the skin and worsen inflammation around ingrown hairs. Instead, look for ingredients such as tea tree or aloe vera that contain similar antibacterial properties while being anti-inflammatory.