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Shaving sensitive skin: How to prevent shaving rash

Shaving can be a chore even when your skin is in perfect nick - it's doubly daunting when you are in the midst of a breakout. Ideally you should take a break until your skin heals but sometimes rugged stubble just won't cut it. Follow our top tips to ensure you get a perfect close shave without irritating your skin further.

Get steamy

Before you shave, shower! The hot water and steamy vapours act to prep your complexion by opening pores, hydrating skin, softening and loosening dirt. Use a gentle cleanser; If you have sensitive skin, look for hypoallergenic products without added fragrance that contain glycolic or salicylic acid (to unclog your pores). If you haven’t got time to shower, gently cleanse and then carefully press a warm (not hot) washcloth over the face for a similar effect. Don’t be tempted to scrub which will only dry out the skin and exacerbate irritation.

Get product savvy

Massage a few drops of pre-shave shaving oil onto cleansed skin to hydrate, soften hair and ensure that your razor glides smoothly over the face. Look for a product that’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores and contains natural, soothing ingredients like tea tree, jojoba or argan.

You’ll also want to use a shaving cream or gel that doesn’t contain alcohol or other chemical ingredients which can really dry out the skin and cause irritation. Look for ones that contain natural oils and ingredients and apply with clean hands.

Find the right tools

When you have sensitised skin, it’s doubly important to pick the right shaving implements and products for maximum protection. If you can get away with a less close shave, an electronic razor might be your best option as it will irritate the skin less. For a more clean-cut look, a wet shave is unavoidable. Multi-blade razors are not your friend, as the more blades a razor has, the more likely those blades will slice into pimples and also spread bacteria. A single blade razor, though not as widely available and a bit trickier to use, will be much kinder to your skin.

While a shaving brush might look the part, this is a sure way to store bacteria which will then get transferred directly onto your skin. The best way to spread shaving creams and gels is with clean hands.

Go with the grain

Always shave in the direction that your hair grows for least disruption to the hair follicles. You may think you’ll get a closer shave if you go against the grain but this is a recipe for disaster even on perfect skin because it increases the chances of nicks and opening spots and disrupts the hair follicles which can lead to clogged pores and more breakouts! Most men apply to much pressure to the razor, a light touch will help to save skin from nicks and irritation.

Rinse and hydrate

Wash all the shaving oil and cream off your face so the residue doesn't linger and clog pores. Use warm water to thoroughly rinse skin. Water is enough here; there's no need to cleanse again. Follow up your rinse with a soothing moisturiser to calm and hydrate skin.

Clean up

You wouldn’t catch a surgeon using dirty implements and it’s just as important to clean your razor before and after every use to minimise spreading bacteria back onto your skin. Wash your razor-head under warm water to remove any residual hairs and product and then douse with rubbing alcohol for a perfect finish. 

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