Red bumps from shaving can make a guy crazy. For many men, shaving can be a painful and frustrating experience. But there are easy fixes.
“Ingrown bumps occur when hairs are cut beneath the skin, then grow back curly and bend back under the skin,” says Dr. Annie Chiu, a dermatologist and the director of The Derm Institute in Hermosa Beach, Calif. “Our skin recognizes the hair as a foreign body — much like a splinter — and creates inflammation around it, resulting in painful, inflamed bumps.”
But you don’t have to settle for sandpaper face. You just need to switch to the right products and up your shaving technique. Here’s how.
CHANGE YOUR RAZOR
Skip those turbo-charged five-blade monsters. A single-blade razor is a better choice for you. “They don’t cut nearly as close. So hairs are less likely to dive back under the skin,” explains Dr. Chiu. Another must: Change the blade frequently, between every three and five shaves.
One to try: Schick Shave Classic Single Edge Razor, $22.99. The stainless-steel blade delivers a clean shave without irritating skin.
SHOWER BEFORE SHAVING
Proper pre-shave prep is vital for avoiding bumps, and that means thoroughly wetting your beard. “Facial hair will absorb up to 30 percent of its volume in moisture, and hair swollen with water is weaker and easier to cut.” says Dr. Chiu. The easiest option: Hop in the shower! The warm water and steam will soften stubble.
Have to skip your AM shower? Rinse your face and hold a warm moistened towel on it for a couple of minutes, she advises. “Never ever apply shaving products to a dry face.”
PICK A LUBRICATING SHAVING CREAM
“You want one with a high concentration of lubricants and moisturizers,” she advises. “The best ones create a rich creamy lather instead of foam.” Another tip: Let the cream sit on your face for at least a minute.
One to try: V76 Smooth Shave Cream, $19. This rich cream contains natural lubricators ⸻ Vitamin E and essential oils ⸻ to soften and prep stubble.
SHAVE IN THE DIRECTION OF HAIR GROWTH
“Start with the sides, then the mustache area and then the chin,” says Dr. Chiu. Avoid applying too much pressure, rinse the blade frequently and don’t shave over the same area.
GIVE YOUR FACE SOME AFTER-SHAVE LOVE
Dr. Chiu recommends rinsing first with warm water and then with cool water to help close the pores. Pat dry and apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
One to try: Cetaphil DailyAdvance® Lotion. It is clinically proven to hydrate dry skin for 24 hours.
CONSIDER GOING ELECTRIC
Electric razors don’t deliver as close of a shave — and that’s a good thing because it also means less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs, Dr. Chiu points out. Plus they’re faster than manual razors.
One to try: Panasonic ES-LT7N-S Arc 3-Blade Electric Shaver System, $201.95. Its three floating, precision blades will give you a close shave without irritating skin!