Shaving tips

The art of shaving

Hair should be 1-2 mm prior to shaving (clip if necessary).

Ideally shave after showering so hair and skin are soft.  If you’re not fresh out of the shower, wash the area to be shaved with a gentle cleanser like the CeraVe foaming cleanser or hydrating cleanser.  You may also use a fresh washcloth soaked in hot water as a warm compress for 5 minutes to soften hairs and encourage release of ingrown hairs.

Lather and apply shaving cream.  Do not allow it to dry; if it does, reapply the shaving cream.  My mentor, the one and only Paul Schneiderman, M.D., recommends the following regimen (shared with his permission):

  • First, apply Nivea sensitive skin shaving cream
  • On top of this (before shaving), put a layer of Aveeno sensitive skin shaving gel
  • Do not allow the shaving cream to dry; if it does, reapply.
  • Shave the layer of two shaving creams off using a sharp razor with multiple blades
    • Dr. Schneiderman recommends the Gillette Mach 3 razor or the Trac II + razor (although these products are for “men,” they are also recommended for women)
    • #1 rule is not to shave against the grain
    • #2 rule is not to pull skin taut to shave
    • #3 rule is to take short strokes and avoid shaving over the same area more than twice

After shaving, pat skin dry and apply an aftershave or moisturizing lotion.  Choosing which one depends on your skin type and the severity of your PFB.

  • Mild: just use a moisturizer (followed by sunscreen if it’s daytime).  If you’re very acne prone, choose an oil free moisturizer on the face such as CeraVe PM.
  • Moderate: can choose an aftershave with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid (such as Tend Skin).
  • Severe: your dermatologist may prescribe medicated topicals tailored to your skin type.  This may include:
    • A retinoid to even skin turnover, therefore preventing ingrown hairs
    • Short course of topical corticosteroids to calm inflammation
    • Prescription antibacterials (topical or systemic)
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