Using Proper Shaving Methods to Avoid Irritation and Infection
Shaving is a part of most women’s beauty regimens, and it can certainly make your skin feel soft and smooth. Using proper techniques and precautions while shaving your legs, underarms, and bikini areas, however, is more important than some people may realize. The potential dangers of shaving go beyond the typical nicks and cuts.
Dangers of Shaving
To most of us, the typical nicks and small cuts associated with shaving are bothersome at most, but what we fail to realize is that they could lead to more serious issues. The main concern associated with shaving is folliculitis, which could lead to various other skin infections.
What Folliculitis Is
Folliculitis is a common skin infection that develops in the hair follicles when they are damaged. It usually looks like a sudden acne breakout, and each spot may have a red ring around it, which is a sign of the infection. It is commonly known as razor burn/razor bumps, hot tub rash, and barber’s itch.
Common causes of folliculitis include:
- Touching or rubbing your skin frequently
- Wearing tight clothing
- Having skin rub against skin
- Use of an improperly maintained hot tub
- Shaving, plucking, or waxing
- Certain topical or oral medications
Skin Infection Complications
Once hair follicles are damaged, it’s easy for germs to get inside the follicles and cause an infection. A common source of infection is Staph aureus, which is found on our skin. In addition to shaving, bacteria can get into the follicles if you have athlete’s foot or similar conditions.
A serious concern is cellulitis, which is when bacteria such as Streptococcus and Staphylococcus get into the skin. Individuals with cellulitis may experience fevers and require urgent medical care due to the infection. It is especially dangerous for individuals who have uncontrolled diabetes, HIV/AIDS, kidney disease, liver disease, and poor circulation.
Do’s and Don’ts of Shaving
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to avoid the cuts, nicks, and irritations associated with shaving. Following simple shaving tips can help in most cases.
- Wet your skin and hair to soften it prior to shaving.
- Shave right after a shower, as your skin will be warm, moist, and free of excess oil and dead skin cells that can clog your razor blade.
- Use a shaving cream or gel, always.
- Shave in the direction that the hair grows in order to prevent razor bumps and burns.
- Rinse the razor after each swipe.
- Change your blade or throw away disposable razors after 5 to 7 shaves.
- Store your razor in a dry area.
- Consider going to a professional to trim or remove bikini area hair, as this region is especially sensitive to infection and irritation.
- Use a razor with a sharp blade, which will enable you to shave lightly in order to prevent nicks caused by pressing too hard.
- Exfoliate and moisturize the areas regularly to prevent bacteria and ingrown hairs.
- Store your razor in the shower. This can lead to bacteria and even rust on the razor, which increase the potential for infection.
- Ever try to shave off facial acne, as this can make it worse.
- Try to shave with only soap and water. Creams and gels help to protect and moisturize your skin.
- Shave while your skin is dry (unless you’re using a high-quality razor intended for dry shaving).
- Use someone else’s razor.
- Shave the same section of your skin multiple times. If you must go over the same area, reapply shaving cream before running the razor over it.
If you believe you have folliculitis or other skin infection, it can be helpful to make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists. You don’t have to stop shaving, but using topical solutions and following a dermatologist’s proper shaving tips can help you.
On the other hand, you may wish to ditch the razor and talk with one of our clinicians at Associated Dermatologists about laser hair removal, which is a service our certified aestheticians perform daily. Contact us if you want to know more about this option.