You’ve been shaving in the shower wrong this entire time
We’ve all had that moment during a morning shower when you realize that your underarm hair is long enough to braid, your legs are starting to resemble a porcupine, and that bikini line…yeah, it’s been neglected for way too long. Instead of immediately reaching for your razor, however, you try to convince yourself that the benefit of having body hair long enough to climb out of a tower Rapunzel style outweighs the feeling of smooth skin after a fresh shave. Sadly, there’s no prince outside your window shouting “let down your pubes,” and all you’ve done is wasted valuable coffee drinking time on a daydream. You’re now forced to speed shave with a razor you haven’t changed in far too long, and all you can do is hope the ingrown hairs won’t be too bad.
The struggle is real, and while you’ve likely been shaving for more years than you haven’t, that doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it right. According to dermatologists, these are the most common shower shaving mistakes that can lead to razor burn, cuts, irritation, and in some cases infection.
You're shaving right when you get in the shower
Shaving at the start of your shower might get the dreaded task out of the way, but according to the American Academy of Dermatology, you’re better off shaving after your skin is “warm,” “moist,” and clean. The hair actually becomes softer when it’s hydrated and easier to remove. Not only that, but when your skin is free of residual dirt, oil, and dry skin, your razor won’t get clogged, and will actually be more effective.
Dr. Dendy Engelman of Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, takes the task of hydrating-and-cleansing-before-shaving one step further. Engelman recommended to Women’s Health that to ensure you don’t get razor burn or ingrown hairs, always exfoliate before shaving. This additional step will allow the razor to glide over the skin with ease resulting in a closer and smoother shave.
To ensure your skin is properly hydrated and the hair is soft and ready for shaving, the beauty experts at L’Oreal recommend going about your full shower routine before even picking up a razor. To get the most out of your time, why not wait to shave until you apply conditioner to your tresses. Then, let the product soak in while you focus on body hair removal!
You're shaving with soap or body wash
When it comes to shaving, soap and body wash should never replace shaving cream or gel. Annie Chiu, a partner dermatologist with Schick & Skintimate, revealed to HuffPost that most cleansing products contain ingredients that can “clog” your razor and make it “dull.” A dull razor is a major no-no when it comes to shaving and can result in a variety of skin irritations. Dr. Chiu went on to explain that using a dull razor “can increase the risk of ingrown hairs, nicks, cuts and maybe infections because soap residue dulls razors. Typically, soaps do not provide the gentle glide that a shaving gel does.” She added that soaps can even, “trap moisture and allow more bacteria to grow on your razor.”
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, put the practice of using shaving cream for body hair into perspective, simply stating, “When you think about it, men would never shave without a shave prep, and that’s for a reason.”
You're not replacing your razor often enough
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you replace your disposable razor or blades after five to seven shaves to “minimize irritation.” That means if you shave every day or even every other day, your razor needs to be replaced once a week! Not convinced? Dermatologist Joel Schlessinger told Women’s Health, “Dull blades are more likely to cause razor bumps, irritation, nicks, and cuts, and old blades can harbor bacteria, which can lead to infections.” Not only that, but according to Dr. Levin, using a dull blade will make the whole shaving process take longer because you’ll have to go over the same patch of skin multiple times to remove all the hair (via Cosmopolitan).
If you’re unsure of how long it’s been since you last replaced your razor, Dr. Engleman has a trick, explaining to Women’s Health, “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.”
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