YOU DON'T LATHER UP.
Dry shaving—ouch. Even though it saves time, it almost always causes
little red bumps that last for days. "Shaving cream and gel were
designed to help your razor glide gently across your skin without tugging
or pulling," says Joel Schlessinger, MD, board-certified dermatologist
and RealSelf advisor. "Without them, you're most certainly left
with razor burn, cuts, skin damage, and irritation." Desperate? Even
using water is better than nothing at all
YOU USE YOUR DISPOSABLE RAZOR FOR MORE THAN A WEEK.
Yes, we're serious—you need to toss it once a week if you're
shaving every single day. "Dull blades are more likely to cause razor
bumps, irritation, nicks, and cuts, and old blades can harbor bacteria,
which can lead to infections," says Schlessinger. If you want a closer
shave with the least amount of irritation, pay close attention to how
many days your current razor has racked up. "A good rule of thumb
is if you feel like it's tugging at your hair or skin, toss it—it's
most definitely a ticking time bomb waiting to irritate," says Dendy
Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery
in New York City.
YOU SHAVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF YOUR HAIR GROWTH.
True, it might help you get a slightly closer shave, but it'll also
cause pain. Plus, the blunt-tipped end of the hairs can grow back into
the skin rather than up and out. Holy ingrown hairs. "Especially
for those with sensitive skin, it's better to shave only in the same
direction that your hair grows," says Schlessinger. "If you're
prone to razor burn and ingrown hairs, apply a gel or serum like PFB Vanish
[sold at SpaDerma!], which relieves irritations caused by hair-removal
techniques like shaving.
YOU DO IT AS FAST AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.
"You're more likely to nick yourself, irritate your skin, or
miss spots when you're trying to shave too quickly," says Engelman.
"Instead, you want to carefully use smooth, even strokes to prevent
any skin troubles." If you do slice yourself—even slightly—you'll
probably bleed more than you'd expect, so the best thing to do is
place pressure on the area until the bleeding stops. "If you're
running out the door and don't have time, put a little astringent
on it to halt blood flow and rub some antiperspirant on the area,"
YOU APPLY TOO MUCH PRESSURE.
When it comes to how hard you should be pressing the razor blade down
on your skin, always remember less is more. "The harder you bear
down, the more uneven the skin surface becomes, because you are essentially
creating dimples where the blade falls," says Engelman. Many multi-bladed
razors shave below the skin, causing ingrown hairs and infections when
you press too hard.
YOU DON'T EXFOLIATE BEFOREHAND.
To avoid razor bumps, you should use an exfoliator before whipping out
that razor. That's because it removes dead skin cells, allowing your
razor to glide easier. "I always recommend First Aid Beauty Cleansing
Body Polish [$28, amazon.com] to all my patients with shaving complaints,"
says Engelman. "It not only exfoliates, but it also cleanses and
helps moisturize the skin."
YOU SKIP MOISTURIZING AFTERWARD.
"It's best to moisturize your skin as soon as you step out of
the shower," says Schlessinger, since applying moisturizer while
your skin is still damp helps lock everything in. If you skip this step,
the top layers of your skin can quickly become dry and dehydrated from
the combo of exfoliating and shaving. Engelman also recommends dabbing
a hydrating body oil over the area to reduce inflammation and redness.
Try Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil ($13, amazon.com).
Originally featured on Prevention.com