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While the differences between men and women’s skin are actually quite small, there is one additional grooming step that is unique to men.
I am of course referring to the daily shave (unless you’re taking part in Movember or the up coming Decembeard).
The physical action of daily shaving can be very aggressive on the skin and cause all sorts of problems: razor burn / shaving rash, shave bumps, ingrown hairs etc. These are all side effects caused by the irritation of passing the razor over the skin.
Irritation leads to inflammation (your body’s natural healing response) and excessive or long-term exposure to inflammation leads to premature or accelerated ageing, a term known in the industry as ‘inflammageing’. In a guy, this would mean loss of elasticity in the neck area.
Reducing the amount of inflammation your skin is exposed to during shaving is key to avoiding accelerated ageing in this area. Ideally, avoid shaving everyday. However, if this isn’t possible then ensure you follow the 3 steps towards an irritation-free shave: Prep, Shave & Treat!
Before shaving it’s important to prepare the skin. The first step is cleansing to ensure the skin is clean and free-from bacteria that may cause infection if introduced into open skin.
Use a warm washcloth to remove the cleanser for additional exfoliation and to warm the skin prior to shaving. Warmth helps soften the hair ready for shaving. For best results, hold the cloth in place for a few minutes (if you have time).
Next you want to apply a shaving product. There are various formulations on the market including gels / foams, creams, oils etc. However always choose a product that contains anti-inflammatory ingredients to protect skin during the shaving process.
At the moment I’m finding a water-based shaving product works best for me and the best I’ve found is Elemis Ice-Cool Foaming Shave Gel. It contains Aloe Vera, Chinese Date and Oak Bark to condition the skin during shaving. It also has a cooling effect on the skin so really helps to combat the ‘heat’ associated with shaving.
To ensure an irritation-free shave you must reduce the irritation during the shave. Prevention is always better than cure and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to shaving. Best not to ignite the fire, than to have to extinguish it!
The best razor I’ve found is the King Of Shaves HyperGlide. British engineered and designed for sensitive skin, the HyperGlide creates its own ‘HydroGel’ to further cushion and protect. The gel is ‘Hydrophillic’ which means ‘water-loving’, which is why I find a water-based shaving product such as Elemis Ice-Cool Foaming Shave Gel works best.
Top Shaving Tips:
- Ensure your razor is sharp. Using an overused cartridge will cause more resistance and therefore more irritation.
- Hold skin taught (but do not pull!) and use steady, even but gentle strokes.
- Always shave with the grain, never against (unless completely necessary).
- Avoid passing the razor over the same area more than once.
- Rinse the razor under clean running water to remove build-up (never in a sink full of dirty water as this can transfer bacteria back on to the skin).
- To finish, rinse your face in cool/cold running water to remove excess product and help calm the skin.
After Care Treatment
If you’ve prepped and shaved correctly, the ‘Treat’ stage should be less about extinguishing the fire and more about nourishing and protecting the skin, helping to return some of the lost moisture from shaving.
Of course, using great post-shave products with anti-inflammatory benefits will also help to calm any minor irritation that may have occurred. The Living Nature Soothing Aftershave Gel helps to cool, soothe and replenish lost moisture. It has anti-inflammatory ingredients including Calendula, St Johns Wort, Witch Hazel plus anti-bacterial Manuka Honey.
You can then follow up with your moisturizer and / or sunscreen.
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