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Aftershave | How to choose the right one

When it comes to choosing the best aftershave, the best approach is to understand the goal. Read more...




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What is the best way to choose an aftershave?

When it comes to choosing the best aftershave, the best approach is to understand the goal. After a razor glides over the coarse hairs of the beard area, the skin gets inflamed and irritated leading to a higher risk of ingrown hairs. It helps to use a product that soothes the skin, brings down inflammation, and nourishes the skin with hydration.

The key to a great shave is to get as close a shave as possible while taking care to avoid irritating or nicking the skin and minimizing the chances for ingrown hairs to develop. The challenge with shaving is understanding the topography of the hair-bearing areas. Shaving hair is not like mowing the lawn on a baseball field! Skin with thick coarse hairs is not a smooth surface studded with hairs that can be closely shaved easily. As hair grows through the skin, a portion of the superficial layers of the epidermis remains adherent to the hair. Every time we try to shave close, there is a good chance that both the hair and the superficial layers of skin adherent to the hair are being cut. Puts this daily routine into a little perspective! It’s best to shave when your skin is adequately hydrated- towards the end of a shower, not necessarily the beginning. Try to make sure the water temperature is not too hot to avoid the skin swelling around the hair follicle as your shave will not be as close as you like.

If I have sensitive skin, which ingredients are best to look for in an aftershave?

Anti-inflammatory and skin-calming ingredients are best to seek for sensitive skin. Consider products that have ingredients such as Vitamin E and Oat.

Some products from the drugstore to consider include:

If I have dry skin, which ingredients are best to look for in an aftershave?

When men experience excess dryness in the beard area after shaving, much of this is likely from irritation from the direct action of the razor against the superficial layers of skin. In other words, the razor is not only cutting hair, but it is also abrading the skin as well. NIVEA Mens Sensitive Post Shave Balm is great for excess dry skin. Vitamin E is hydrating and soothing in this product.



If I have acne-prone skin, which ingredients are best to look for in an aftershave?

If you have acne-prone skin, I would suggest discussing your options with your dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis. Most breakouts along the beard area I tend to see are likely the result of folliculitis or infected hair follicles as opposed to true acne. The pathology is from bacteria at the base of the hair follicle as opposed to clogged pores. To manage this, topical antibiotics may be prescribed initially as an aftershave for the short term. An over-the-counter option to try may be choosing Gillette Cool Wave After Shave with its alcohol base.

Are there after-shaves for aging skin?

The most important product to use after shaving as we get older is to remember to use sunblock. I routinely see patients that have a spot in the beard area they assume is an ingrown hair that won’t heal and it turns out to be a basal cell skin cancer or squamous cell carcinoma. As soon as shaving is complete, first apply a soothing after-shave to immediately soothe the skin followed by a sunblock. A nice option here is Rugged & Dapper Age + Damage Defense Facial Moisturizer.



Are there any best practices for shaving?

If you tend to get recurrent ingrown hairs or inflamed it follicles, try out these steps:

  • Wash with an antibacterial soap to reduce bacteria around and in our hair follicles

  • Change your razors routinely to avoid bacteria from building up on the blade that can spread bacteria into small nicks or cuts in your skin

  • Consider using an antibacterial topical after shaving to reduce residual bacteria left on the skin after hair removal

If persistent consider a trip to your dermatologist as a course of oral antibiotics and a prescription topical antibiotic may be your key to clearing your skin!


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