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Shaving | When to avoid

The process of shaving involves more than just cutting the hair close to the skin. Read more...




Photo: Wix

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What are some situations or occasions when you shouldn't shave?

The process of shaving involves more than just cutting the hair close to the skin. Ultimately, shaving involves a dynamic process that involves manipulating the skin around the hair, and positioning the hair carefully, while a blade comes along and nicks the hair. During this process, the skin can potentially be nicked as well. Since the skin can be impacted by shaving, it is worth noting certain circumstances when shaving should be avoided. 1. Avoid shaving 24 hours before a pedicure. Shave after, not before! Small nicks or cuts in your skin from shaving can put you at a higher risk for infection that can lead to cellulitis. During a pedicure, it’s common for the nail technician to use a scrub to exfoliate the lower legs. Shaving right before this can lead to a lot of irritation or abrasions on the skin. 2. Avoid shaving 24 hours before getting into a public swimming pool. Although it’s normal to want to remove unwanted body hair before swimming, it’s important to recognize that some viruses and bacteria spread easily in swimming pools or in contact with wet surfaces. Molluscum contagiousum is a virus that causes small bumps on the skin. It’s more common in children but can occur in adults who have not developed an immunity to it. 3. Avoid shaving right before surgical procedures. The nicks and cuts introduced by shaving or potentially ingrown hairs can increase your risk for infection afterward. Leave the hair removal to your surgeon!



When's the best time to shave?

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. Have you ever seen a jelly spike ball? Imagine a hair growing out of each spike. Now, imagine taking a razor and trying to shave those hairs without nicking a spike and still getting a close shave. Every time we shave, that is exactly what the topography of the skin is like up close! 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 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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