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For Men: Is Shaving Bad For Your Skin?

Everyone develops different amounts of facial hair and at different times in their life. Just as hair color is controlled by genetics, so is the amount and rate of facial hair growth. The length of one’s hair is determined by the duration of the growth phase. For example, your eyebrows have a growth phase that only lasts a few months, while the hair that grows on your scalp can grow for years and years. It’s the reason your eyebrow hair isn’t as long as the locks on your head!

Shaving the face for men, and some women, can be a daily morning routine. So, the question is: is it bad for your skin? As it turns out, if you are pay attention and practice the correct shaving techniques, that daily routine can actually be good for the skin, both increasing collagen production and acting as an exfoliant by removing dead skin cells. However, if you shave incorrectly, it could lead you to a range of problems, which can be both unattractive and uncomfortable.

Chief among these — as any man who’s ever gotten caught with an empty can of shaving cream on the night of a big date can attest — is razor burn, a condition in which the skin becomes irritated from the friction of the blade scraping across the skin. Normally, time, a cold-water compress and some alcohol-free moisture is enough to soothe the angry facial skin.

If redness, itching and small, white-headed pimples develop, this can indicate another shaving-related problem: barber’s rash or folliculitis. This occurs when the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus penetrate the hair follicles. The condition generally goes away on its own, especially if the irritating factor is removed. However, persistent cases may require topical or oral antibiotics.

Folliculitis is not to be confused with razor bumps, or ingrown hairs, another dastardly depilatory condition that can develop from poor shaving practices. Ingrown hairs occur when a shaved whisker curls and grows back down into the skin. Ironically, multiblade razors can help contribute to this condition because after the first one, subsequent blades pull hair up and out before snipping. When the hair snaps back, it’s actually below the skin’s surface. This might make for a very close shave, but when the hair is deeper in the follicle, the chance of it becoming ingrown is even greater.

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About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar is the founder and owner of Cosmetic Laser Skin & Surgery Center. With degrees from Harvard University and NYU, along with multiple publications and media features, the double board-certified dermatologist and laser surgeon proudly shares his expertise with patients in Garden City, Manhattan, and those who fly in to receive treatment at his offices. Dr. Rokhsar has worked extensively with Vbeam laser, Thermitight, Coolsculpting, and Fraxel laser technology, as well as Allergan and other injectable brands. He pioneered the Non-Surgical Nose Job and continues to be a leader in his field.

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