Whether you are in your teens, your 20s, or your “golden years”, you have likely dealt with acne at some point in your life. You might even still be dealing with it now!
Acne is difficult to deal with, and it is also painful, persistent, and just… ugly. Acne affects everyone differently. Some men experience minor, periodic breakouts, whereas others experience severe acne breakouts, such as cystic acne. Cystic acne can leave unsightly scars. Severe acne breakouts can also be difficult to treat and can require prescriptions from a dermatologist or medical professional.
Regardless of your age or the severity of your acne, trying to shave with acne can be miserable. In this article, we will provide you with some tips on how to deal with shaving with acne.
Before Your Shave
- Exfoliate First. Of course, every shaving routine requires some preparation. However, if you are shaving with acne, then additional steps and care are necessary.Acne breakouts occur due to a buildup of dirt and oil in the pores of your skin. Shaving involves applying shaving cream, soap or gel to the face, which only clogs pores further. This only exacerbates your chances for worsening acne.Therefore, before beginning your shave, it is necessary to exfoliate thoroughly. This will not only clean your pores, but it will also prevent further bacteria growth on the skin.The good news is there are plenty of cleansing products available online and in drug stores. You may have to try a few to figure out which one works best for you. Once you find a product you love, make it a part of your wet shaving routine to use at least once per day.
- Don’t Pop. When we find a pimple, it’s almost an immediate instinct to try to pop it. However, this does more harm than good. In addition to causing redness and inflammation from trying to pop it, it also spreads bacteria throughout the skin, leading to more breakouts and damaging skin. If you DO feel the need to pop your zit, it is advised that you follow these instructions.
- Pre-Shave Preparation. Some men are accustomed to using a pre-shave oil before shaving. A pre-shave oil allows the razor to glide smoothly across the skin, which reduces pressure and friction. The more pressure and friction caused by shaving, the more likely you will experience breakouts. Give a pre-shave oil a try to see how it affects acne breakouts and your overall shave.
- Lather Up. By working up a good lather, you can help improve acne. Similar to the way pre-shave oils work, shaving cream or gel products create a thin lather to help the razor glide smoothly across the skin will reduce the likelihood or aggravating or irritating the skin and worsening acne.You can also use a shaving soap with Vitamin E and glycerin to help soothe skin and reduce acne. However, avoid using too many products with glycerin as this can dry out skin, making shaving even more painful and uncomfortable.
- Use the Right Razor. This is a big one… The type of blade or razor you use can either help or worsen acne. For example, modern multi-blade razors aren’t the best idea if you are suffering from acne. These types of blades and razors can cause irritation, break pimples, and spread bacteria across the skin.Therefore, avoid using razors with more than two blades. You can also try your hand—literally—at using a safety razor. Although safety razors cost a little more upfront, they ensure a quality shave, and can even save you money on cartridge razors over time.
During And After Your Shave
Now that you have prepared your skin for a shave consider the act of shaving. Here are a few tips to consider when shaving with acne:
- Avoid passing the razor over pimples
- Shave with the grain
- Reduce pressure on the razor
These simple tips can immensely improve your shave as well as the look and feel of your skin.
Now, here are some things you can do after your shave:
- Rinse the razor with rubbing alcohol after you finish your shave
- Use an alum block on your skin
- Use a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
In summary, no, shaving is definitely not as enjoyable if you are dealing with acne. Depending on the severity of your acne, shaving might not be a complete cure, but how you shave—before, during, and after—can definitely help.
Another way to improve your skin and reduce acne breakouts is to consider shaving less often. This may or may not be an option for you, but if you can go a few days and grow a little scruff, then this might help improve your skin.
All in all, if you are dealing with severe acne, then you may need to consider paying a visit to your primary care physician or even a dermatologist for a prescription.