Yes, your shave brush is a great exfoliation device, but your razor even more so. When you shave, regardless of the type of razor you use, you will inevitably remove more than just stubble. Your razor, whether cartridge or double-edge will be removing a thin layer of dead skin cells called the stratum corneum. For those with the most sensitive skin who are prone to weepers, you are also likely to scrape off more than just the dead cells–you also may be snagging a few live cells and capillaries as well.
Shaving off your stratum corneum is actually not all negative. Because your skin is regularly shedding and replacing itself with newer cells, the razor can be a helpful tool in more regularly removing the deadest layer of the skin. Unfortunately, however, there are downsides.
This most outer layer of skin includes a protective barrier that helps shield the more sensitive live cells below from exposure to things like toxins, bacteria, pollutants and the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. It also aids in moisture retention that prevents the skin from becoming overly dry and flaky. As we age, the replenishment of older cells with newer cells slows and we become more susceptible to the sun’s rays and we lose the benefits of flaky dandruff prevention that our once young skin had.
In addition, if we are regularly wet shaving with a cartridge or safety razor, we are further reducing the thickness of this outer protective layer, making our sensitive skin more susceptible to UV damage and bacteria and ultimately less moisture retentive.
Skin Recovery with Moisturizing UV Protection
After you shave, your skin quickly reverts to recovery mode by replacing its most outer layer. However, and in the interim, it is very helpful to provide assistance in that recovery by including a moisturizing agent which includes an SPF blocker. This will not only more quickly allow the skin to heal and retain moisture, but it will also better protect your now more sensitive skin from the deleterious effects of the sun’s rays.
By using a temporary, occlusive moisturizing SPF/UV protecting cream, you are also aiding your skin from invasion by bacteria and other pollutants that can more easily penetrate the skin whilst the stratum corneum no longer exists. Without this protective layer, bacteria and UV rays are more easily able to penetrate the dermis layer which sits underneath.
Even on the cloudiest and overcast days, your skin can and will be exposed to the most harmful UV rays of the sun.
These rays can cause everything from skin cancer to premature aging. For the regular shaving enthusiast, it is advised to use a post-shave moisturizer that provides a occlusion for the removed stratum corneum as well as an SPF that protects the skin from the harmful impact of the suns rays.
While this advice is more applicable for men who live in places like Arizona and perhaps less applicable for black men who shave regularly, the advice still applies to those who live in rainy Washington as well. In short, wet shavers should follow the advice of Buz Luhrmann: wear sunscreen.