Pimples aren’t just for puberty. Ask almost any grown man and they’ll confirm what your mirror has been telling you for some time: acne affects everyone differently, at all stages of a man’s life.
Even many years after you’ve left high school and grown into your own man, your sebaceous glands are likely to become inflamed, leaving your face prone to red blemishes and pock marks.
Why? Studies show a dozen factors could be to blame: Men’s Health cites a range of research that suggests guys who drink too much milk, eat too many carbs or get burnt on the beach could be doing their skin a major disservice.
Plus, according to WebMD, a 2003 study by Stanford University published in the Archives of Dermatology showed college students suffered flare-ups during stressful exam periods – and the severity of their acne increased as their stress levels rose. But one of the main reasons so many men find they can’t leave their pimples in the past? Their need to shave.
Shaving can scrape sensitive skin, and over time, will cause that inflammation to progress to full-blown infection. The result: raw skin that becomes even redder.
Don’t stress – it’ll only lead to more acne – because we’ve got solutions. Put down that razor and read this right now.
How Do You Shave When You Have Acne?
Your facial hair won’t back off during a breakout, and hiding acne under a set of sideburns won’t help your skin to heal – but shaving over and around acne is a regular headache in many a man’s morning routine.
Like most things, however, the solution is fairly simple: the trick is in your technique. Follow these six steps every time you need to trim those whiskers, and we promise, shaving won’t be a pain in your neck.
1. Go in Hot
Prep your face for a pare down with a hot shower. No time? Find a gentle cleanser and combine it with a towel soaked in warm water, at least. Here’s why: dirt will scrape your skin to smithereens, while hot water will soften it, leaving your cheeks and chin malleable enough for your blade to glide over without chafing your skin.
2. Oil Up
No, it’s not just for the pretty boys: a good shaving oil will soften the follicles of your facial hair, readying them for smooth and easy removal. Worried that an oil will compromise your healthy complexion? Look for the word non-comedogenic on the side of the bottle – this means it’ll moisturise your skin without clogging your pores.
3. Don’t Drink and Shave
Stay away from shaving creams that contain too much alcohol, as it can eviscerate your skin’s natural protective oils and cause a burning sensation. A quality shaving cream should be designed to help you – wait for it – shave, and synthetic ingredients or harsh chemicals will do the opposite, drying out your skin and exacerbating the damage of little nicks or cuts.
4. Stay Single
More blades, more problems. The convenience of multi-blade razors might sound great in theory, but the reality is they can cut too close for comfort. A razor with two or three blades is also too rigid, cutting a wide swathe without discriminating between sensitive areas. Stick to one for best results: it may take practice – not to mention some patience – but you’ll be able to navigate the unique nooks and crannies of your skin in a way that suits you on the day.
5. Keep It Clean
In the cleanliness stakes, water wins every time. After you’re done shaving and have wiped down your razor – to prevent buildup of bacteria, obviously – rinse your face thoroughly. After-shave cleansers or balms could agitate delicate or difficult skin, so stick to warm water and multiple splashes. You want to reach all the residue, so it doesn’t stick around and spend the rest of the day clogging your pores.
6. Shave With The Grain, Not Against It
If you wake up most mornings dreading the idea of dragging a sharp razor over red, bumpy and painful skin, remember that by rushing it, or avoiding it, you’re only making your skin more sensitive, and more sore.
The secret to shaving when you have acne is how you do it: slowly, carefully, and with a little help from the best in all-natural shaving products.