Men’s Skin Care: Preventing Shaving Razor Bumps

shaving razor bumps

Knowing the correct way to shave will help prevent skin problems like razor bumps, ingrown hairs, skin irritation and pimples caused by shaving. Dermatologists treat many men whose skin problems stem from shaving. For best results, skin type, hair curliness, skin bacteria and skin irregularities such as acne and scars are some of the factors to consider when shaving.

Anthony Rossi, MD, FAAD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Weill Cornell Medical College -New York) just helped the American Academy of Dermatology create a proper Men’s Skin Care Tips page for the AAD web site. He made these good points about shaving:

For some men, multi-blade razors can work too well or shave too closely to the skin. If you often experience razor bumps, razor burns or ingrown hairs, use a single- or double-blade razor instead and do not stretch your skin taut while shaving. Before you shave, wet your skin and hair to soften it. Use a moisturizing shaving cream and shave in the direction of hair growth. Rinse after each swipe of the razor, and change your blade after five to seven shaves to minimize irritation.

You need a slippery or foaming product to help your razor skim over your skin easily. You can get a shaving cream or high foaming soap for this important step. Shaving with a high foaming soap or cleanser works well for many men. Soft water will help your soap foam well. If you have hard water, you may need a shaving cream.

As a dermatologist, I want you to know 2 additional skin care shaving tips to prevent razor bumps:

First, Apply medicated treatment cleansers after shaving.

razor bumps and best acne treatment cleanser

If you have a facial skin problem that requires using a treatment cleanser, then use it after shaving. This will help the active ingredients stay on your skin and also help to remove any shaving cream residue.

These treatment products might include products to treat acne such as Foaming Acne Treatment Cleanser (with salicylic acid and glycolic acid that are ideal for blackheads and clogged pores), and Foaming Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cleanser (with a full 10% benzoyl peroxide, the only ingredient that kills the acne causing germ that leads to pustular acne pimples and blackheads).

benzoyl peroxide cleanser to treat razor bumps

Cleansers that address seborrhea (including beardruff), rosacea and 'fungal acne' include pyrithione zinc which fights the Pityrosporum yeast. In my practice I recommend Foaming Zinc Cleanser (which works well into hairy skin and is also a shampoo) or Calming Zinc Bar Soap (a natural soap base ideal for more sensitive skin).

best facial cleanser for beardruff and seborrheafight fungal acne with this and prevent razor bumps

Know that shaving razor bumps can happen from acne lesions and rashes that are shaved. Treating these conditions is important to help prevent razor bumps. 

Second, don’t apply leave-on products that sting right after you have shaved. 

Shaving causes small abrasions in your skin and acid pH products like a glycolic acid cream or vitamin C will really sting. If you shave in the morning, then use these products at night instead. Glycolic Acid Cream fights acne, clogged pores, pigment skin problems, wrinkles, crow's feet and skin roughness. 

    Did you know that your daily shaving helps reduce wrinkles?

    It’s true! The mechanical aspects of what shaving does to your skin acts like a microdermabrasion treatment to stimulate new collagen formation. Men start out with thicker skin than women, and when you shave throughout adulthood, you add to your skin thickness.

    Have you noticed that men don’t suffer as many facial wrinkles around their mouths and lower face as women do? Shaving may be inconvenient at times, but it has its upside too!

    bet tinted sunscreen for men

    To fight premature skin aging, men still need daily facial sunscreen. My most popular facial sunscreen for men is my Sheer Strength Pure Physical SPF 30+ Matte Tinted Sunscreen

    This ultra-light sunscreen is oil-free, fragrance-free and works well into facial hair. The very subtle iron oxide tinting blends into all skin tones and helps to block screen light that can contribute to pigment problems from razor bumps. The matte base absorbs oil throughout the day. My husband wears this SPF daily and it's absolutely invisible on his skin.   

      I hope you were able to learn some solid new ways to avoid skin care problems while shaving!

      For more dermatologist's advice and information unique to men's skin care, please check out these related posts: