A few tips to get a comfortable shave 

Every man has experienced razor burn or razor bumps, scientifically known as pseudofolliculitis barbae. It’s common in men with coarse, wiry, curly hair and occurs when beard hairs curl as they grow. They then burrow into the skin next to the hair follicle since shaving sharpens the hair ends and makes it easier for them to penetrate the skin.

If you’ve experienced razor bumps then you know they itch and burn, and can even cause scarring. Here are some tips for avoiding the problem:

  1. Apply a shaving lotion after shaving to reduce the appearance of redness.
  2. Always use a clean blade when shaving with a razor. This is best achieved by using fresh blades, which are discarded after three uses.
  3. For users of electric razors, replace the rotary blades or foils after a few months. If you shave every day, these may need to be replaced more regularly.
  4. Always shave in the direction of hair growth. Most facial hair slants downwards, so be sure to shave in that direction; especially in the neck area.
  5. Don’t stretch your skin while shaving. Pulling your cheeks, chin or neck in order to get a closer shave can cause darkness and discoloration of underlying skin tissue.
  6. Keep an eye on what you eat – while this isn’t something you’ll do while shaving, many skin irritations will subside if you avoid certain foods that contain oils, cholesterol and sodium.

Alternative Ideas

If shaving is just a complete pain, try ditching your razor and use a depilatory; there are various types on the market specifically for sensitive areas, but note that it doesn’t work on all skin. If you’re trying it for the first time, do a test patch on the inside of your upper arm, where the skin is soft, to test for sensitivity. Also, be sure not to use aftershave or any alcohol-based creams after using the depilatory.

Alternatively, you could drop by your local barber and indulge in a hot towel shave. Or, if that doesn’t suit you either, you could always grow a beard…