Sensitive skin is not a sign of femininity. Another surprising fact about men has recently been added: according to research, 2 out of 3 men try to delay the moment of shaving due to skin sensitivity. And every tenth suffers from serious irritation and therefore would dream of never shaving at all. But cosmetologists and dermatologists already have solutions. Here are 10 expert tips to help you stop thinking about shaving as a source of pain.
How sensitive is your skin?
According to statistics, 66% of men consider their skin to be sensitive. But experts do not agree with them. As it turns out, most accept skin irritation, trauma, ingrown hairs, and cuts as signs of skin type. However, this may be due to the wrong choice of razor or facial treatment.
It is for this reason that many people prefer to shave in barbershops and salons. Professional shaving techniques and the use of various care products help to reduce irritation even in the most sensitive areas.
If your list includes daily cleansing and moisturizing of the skin and weekly peeling, and problems still remain, then there are not so many reasons for their appearance, only three:
- your skin care products are not right for you;
- you need to change your shaving routine because the one you are currently using irritates the skin;
- really sensitive skin. And it can be both healed and aggravated with skin products, shaving, and hair removal techniques.
Serious Skin Problems: More Than Just Dryness and Irritation
What do dermatologists pay attention to when diagnosing sensitive skin? Here is a brief description of the most common clinical categories.
- Skin reactions: Severe to extreme, such as rashes, skin erosion, swelling, or acne from something you put on your skin.
- Very dry skin: This condition is classified by itching, redness, regular flaking, dry rashes. Sometimes the skin becomes so dry that it does not properly protect the superficial nerve endings, and even the slightest touch can cause a burning or tingling sensation.
- Eczema and/or rosacea: These are serious problems. In terms of severity of symptoms, compared to very dry skin, these diseases are manifested by much more severe irritability, pain, reactions. And these pathologies require clinical drugs for treatment, ordinary lotions and creams will not help to remove the problem. However, our shaving tips can help reduce excess irritation and dryness.
- Ingrown hairs: Although this problem is quite common, we are talking about cases where the ingrown hairs cause severe irritation, inflammation and cyst formation. With a mild form of ingrown hair, the sharp edge of the hair grows into the depths of the skin, which is easily treatable. But in severe cases, there is a combination of several factors, and the main one is a feature of the skin that prevents even straight and thin hairs from breaking through. While this may also require treatment, the right shaving routine and tools can help you deal with ingrown hairs faster and less likely to cause them.
10 important tips: what to do with sensitive skin
Most men with sensitive skin do not fall into the above categories. Experts say that in fact, the usual rituals of grooming and shaving simply do not suit them, and as a result, irritation comes to the fore. But even if the problems are serious, expert advice will help those with clinically sensitive skin. So, let’s begin.
Cleanse your skin gently, every morning and every evening
Do not use the soap you bought from the nearest supermarket. Invest in a gentle foaming or gel skin cleanser that’s free of irritants, fragrances, and alcohol.
Moisturize your skin twice a day
The basis of a good moisturizer is the absence of irritants, fragrances and alcohol, everything is the same as with soap. The cream should be gentle and suitable for combination skin. Most people with sensitive or irritated skin have patches of dry, flaky skin and oily smooth skin. A good cream will help balance oiliness and moisturize both.
Remember that healthy skin is one that has the right amount of moisture to prevent dry skin and excess sebum build-up.
The best option: two types of moisturizing cream. Lighter composition in the morning, and more nutritious — at night.
Gently exfoliate your skin once a week
Shaving itself acts as a superficial exfoliant because it scrapes away dead skin cells and removes hair. However, you should also exfoliate your skin at least once a week with a very gentle scrub or peel. They will help remove dead cells, sebum and natural impurities. Renewed skin «breathes» better and is less prone to irritation.
Get enough sleep!
Sleep well, your skin repairs itself while you sleep. When you spend less than 7-8 hours in bed, lack of sleep is manifested by baggy dark circles around the eyes, “fatigue” of the skin, fine wrinkles and even microtraumas.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate Your Whole Body
Irritated and sensitive skin suffers from lack of moisture. While you can combat this with a daily moisturizer, it’s important to get enough water as well. This helps not only the skin: with the right water balance, we are more energetic and think faster. How to check for lack of moisture? If your urine is bright yellow all the time, you need to drink more water.
An added bonus: all of these tips also help fight skin aging!
Invest in a razor
Of course, a good razor is not cheap, but dull or disposable blades that are used more than once are real killers for sensitive skin. Replacing blades every two shaves saves skin layers from problems and you from self-doubt due to unsightly consequences, which makes it worth the investment.
Take your time and do not stretch the skin, shave slowly, applying only light pressure with the blade. And important: only shave along the hair growth, resist the temptation to quickly cut everything in the opposite direction. This direction of shaving changes the shape of the hair, twists it, causes inflammation, scratches the skin, and also causes cuts and ingrown.
Instead of foaming products, try shaving oil. It improves razor glide, reduces irritation and prevents ingrown hairs.
If shaving seems to make things worse, shave every 2-3 days instead of daily. A little stubble looks much better than a red and inflamed face.
Be sure to apply a soothing non-alcoholic aftershave balm. It’s like a second skin moisturizer. If you do everything right, then at first it will look like a mask on your face. But remember this: dry skin is so thirsty for moisture that it will quickly absorb everything.
Be fully equipped when you go out
Because sensitive skin tends to be more easily exposed to the sun and wind after shaving, it’s important to apply an SPF before leaving the house. Sunscreens can be applied over or in some cases used instead of a moisturizing aftershave balm. And yes, this is also true in winter.
If you have clinically sensitive skin, avoid sunscreens with chemical ingredients: there are two types of ingredients in sunscreens. There are physical ingredients that block UV rays, and there are chemical ingredients that don’t work well with clinically sensitive skin. Titanium dioxide (physical filter) is one of the suitable components for sensitive facial skin.
Taking care of your skin is much more than vanity. It’s about taking care of your health, preventing premature aging, and boosting your self-confidence to win day after day. What could be more courageous than this?
If, after all the advice, the situation has not changed radically, then it’s time to turn to a dermatologist. Proper care can help soothe the symptoms of clinically sensitive skin, but it will not cure serious problems.
Markus Maurer, professor, dermatologist, allergist
Some features of the male facial skin create problems for a perfect shave. Men’s skin is heterogeneous in morphology and roughness, tending to slower healing and pigmentation. In addition, many men have really sensitive skin, and most often on the face. Shaving the wrong way only makes things worse.
The aim of shaving is to cut the hair as close to the skin as possible without undesirable effects on the skin. To achieve this goal, an understanding of the biology of hair and male facial skin is required, since both the hairline and male facial skin make it difficult to shave without irritation.
We know that in facial hair, the density, thickness, stiffness are increased, but also very heterogeneous. All this makes modern fashionable beards difficult to cut, and shaving techniques commonly used to overcome such problems include high-pressure shaving and repeated cutting of the hair, which increase the likelihood and extent of irritation.
Finally, the hair follicle is a sensory organ, and the perifollicular skin zone is highly sensitive to external signals, including mechanical and thermal stimulation. The perifollicular zones are rich in vascular network and nerve endings. This makes the skin very sensitive and prone to breakouts. Proper skin care and compliance with simple rules, as a rule, solve most of the difficulties. Techniques commonly used to prevent skin irritation include shaving with less pressure, choosing the right razor, treating the skin before and after the procedure, or not shaving altogether if there are special problems.
A study to assess the occlusivity and moisturization potential of three topical corticosteroid products using the skin trauma after razor shaving (STARS) bioassay / Kircik LH. // J Drugs Dermatol. — May 2014
Survey of practicing dermatologists on the prevalence of sensitive skin in men / Vanoosthuyze K, Zupkosky PJ, Buckley K. // Int J Cosmetic Sci. — 2013 Aug
The male beard hair and facial skin — challenges for shaving / Maurer M, Rietzler M, Burghardt R, et al. // Int J Cosmetic Sci. — Jun 2016