It's important to note that everyone's experience with acne is unique, and treatment approaches may vary depending on individual factors. Our best advice would be to consult a dermatologist for professional guidance and personalized advice on managing acne while shaving. They may recommend specific products or treatments tailored to your needs.
Acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. It is characterized by the presence of various types of lesions on the skin, including pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and in some cases, more severe forms such as nodules and cysts. The exact cause of acne is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of factors including excess oil production, clogged hair follicles, bacteria, hormonal changes, and inflammation. Certain risk factors can contribute to the development of acne, such as hormonal fluctuations (common during adolescence and pregnancy), certain medications but a lot of times it is hereditary.
Acne most commonly affects areas of the skin with a high density of oil glands, such as the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders. It can range in severity from mild, with a few occasional breakouts, to moderate or severe, characterized by widespread and persistent lesions. The impact of acne goes beyond physical symptoms, as it can also have psychological and emotional effects. Acne can cause self-consciousness, lowered self-esteem, and negative body image, particularly when it occurs during adolescence.
Treatment for acne depends on its severity and may include over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, prescription topical medications, oral medications, and in severe cases, procedures performed by a dermatologist.
How do you shave when you have acne?
Shaving when you have acne can be challenging, as the process of shaving itself can irritate the skin and potentially worsen the acne. However, with the right approach and some precautions, it is possible to shave without exacerbating the condition. Here are some tips for shaving with acne:
Prepare the skin:
Before shaving, cleanse your face with a gentle, noncomedogenic cleanser to remove excess oil, dirt, and bacteria. A noncomedogenic cleanser simply means a cleanser that avoids blocking your pores. Use lukewarm water, as hot water can further irritate the skin.
Consider a shaving brush:
A shaving brush helps to gently exfoliate, clean and raise the hair prior to shaving. If you have skin that is prone to acne, make sure you choose very soft bristles in your shaving brush. Boar hair is likely to be too stiff and could irritate your skin. A synthetic brush bristle in a shaving brush is likely the best option compared to natural bristles. I talk more about shaving brushes here. We offer a titanium shaving brush with or with out a knot...while our knots are soft, consider looking for an even softer knot(use silicone to seat the knot so you can swap it out if you don't like it.)
Soften the hair:
Take a warm shower prior, shave in the shower or apply a warm, damp towel to your face for a few minutes to soften the facial hair. Either case it is best to shave right after or in a shower. This will open the pores, soften the skin, help raise the hairs(with a brush) and make it easier to shave and help minimize post shave irritation and razor burn.
Use a clean, sharp razor:
It's important to use a clean and sharp razor blade to avoid further irritation. Dull blades can tug at the hair and cause more friction on the skin. If using a disposable razor, ensure that it is fresh or has a new blade. One of the biggest challenges with shaving with a plastic cartridge razor is they are difficult to clean and can collect bacteria. They are also very expensive which makes you less likely to use a fresh blade.
Shave in the direction of hair growth:
Shaving against the grain of hair growth can increase the likelihood of irritation and ingrown hairs. Instead, shave in the direction that the hair is naturally growing to minimize friction and reduce the risk of aggravating the acne. Below is a diagram I shave in order to shave with the grain. If you feel irritation after a shave in a particular area, consider changing the direction you are shaving in that area. Hair grows differently depending on the individual...I talk more about shaving with sensitive skin here.
Use a gentle shaving cream or gel:
Choose a shaving cream or gel that is specifically formulated for sensitive or acne-prone skin. Look for products that are fragrance-free and as mentioned above, non-comedogenic to avoid further clogging of the pores.
Avoid excessive pressure:
Apply light pressure while shaving to prevent unnecessary friction and irritation. Let the razor glide gently over the skin without pressing too hard. If you are using one of our safety razors, consider a milder blade. Shave around the pimples.
Rinse the razor frequently:
Cleanliness is your friend, rinse the razor blade with warm water after each stroke to remove hair, shaving cream, and debris. This will help maintain the effectiveness of the blade and prevent buildup that can contribute to further irritation and pore clogging.
Rinse your face thoroughly with fresh, clean water...don't use the same water you rinsed your razor in, use fresh, clean water. After shaving, cleanse your face once more with a gentle cleanser to remove any residual shaving cream or debris. I used to always finish with a cold fresh water rinse to refresh and close the pores.
Pat dry your face:
Do not rub your face to dry after rinsing with water...gently pat your face with a dry, clean, soft towel.
Moisturize after shaving:
Once you've finished shaving, apply a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer to hydrate and soothe the skin. Look for products that are oil-free and designed for acne-prone skin. Avoid alcohol based after shaves.
Avoid touching or picking at the acne:
Touching or picking at acne lesions can introduce bacteria and worsen the inflammation. It's important to be gentle and avoid further irritating the skin.
Avoid popping pimple!
Can you shave with a safety razor if you have acne?
Yes, you can shave with a safety razor if you have acne, but it requires extra care and attention to minimize irritation and potential aggravation of the acne. The most important step, when shaving if you have acne, is to prioritize skin preparation.
Properly preparing your skin before shaving can help minimize irritation, reduce the risk of aggravating acne, and promote a smoother shaving experience.
Some tips for using a safety razor with acne include:
- Choose a mild safety razor(we offer a mild plate with our Cx models)
- Stick to a one pass shave
- Shave around pimples if at all possible.
- Choose a mild double edge razor blade, one of the benefits of a safety razor is you can refine the experience. I talk more about razor blade choice and their characteristics here.
What type of razor is the best to use if you have acne?
When choosing a razor for acne-prone skin, it's generally recommended to opt for a razor that provides a gentle and precise shave while minimizing irritation. Here are some razor options that are commonly used by individuals with acne:
Safety razors are popular among people with acne because they offer a single, sharp blade that provides a close shave without excessive pressure or multiple blade passes. The replacement blades are super inexpensive and a safety razor can be more effectively kept clean by disassembling and rinsing. The single blade reduces the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs compared to multi-blade razors. Safety razors allow for more control and precision during shaving. You do need to learn the technique to avoid nicks but with some practice, you will pick it up. Your grandmother and grandfather shaved this way!
Electric razors can be a suitable option for those with acne. They have oscillating or rotating blades that cut the hair without direct blade contact with the skin, reducing the risk of nicks and irritation. Some electric razors also come with adjustable settings to accommodate different skin sensitivities. They are more difficult to keep clean and can collect debris, but can be an option when shaving with acne.
Single-Blade Disposable Razor:
Single-blade disposable razors are more expensive in the long run, plastic disposable cartridge razors are not environmentally friendly at all but can be a practical choice for individuals with acne. These razors have a single sharp blade and are designed for a few uses before discarding, however they are difficult to keep clean. The more expensive versions can provide a relatively gentle shave and reduce the chances of irritation compared to multi-blade disposable razors. These are good for travel but you might consider using them only once before discarding to maintain a clean, sharp blade.
Avoid multi-blade cartridge razors:
Multi-blade razors, such as those with three or more blades, can be more aggressive and increase the likelihood of irritation and razor burn, especially if you have acne-prone skin. The multiple blades can pull at the hair and cause more friction on the skin, potentially leading to further irritation or ingrown hairs.
When using any type of razor for acne-prone skin, keep the following tips in mind:
- Ensure the razor blade is sharp to minimize pulling the hair, friction and irritation.
- Shave with the grain (in the direction of hair growth) to reduce the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs.
- Consider only doing 1 pass, don't go over the same area more than once.
- Keep the blade clean
- Use a light, gentle stroke and avoid applying excessive pressure on the skin.
- Keep the skin hydrated by using suitable shaving cream or gel and moisturizing afterward.
- Try to shave around pimples.
- Cleanse the skin before and after shaving to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria.
Ultimately, the best razor for acne-prone skin may vary from person to person. It's essential to consider your individual skin sensitivity, acne severity, and personal preferences when choosing a razor. If you're unsure, consulting with a dermatologist can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific skin condition.
Our High-Quality Machined Stainless Steel (316L) Safety Razor and our machined titanium single edge safety razor are a great start when it comes to wet shaving and having the best shaving experience you can.
With a safety razor you can choose the closeness of the blade to your skin with different base plate options. With razor blade choices and with different techniques you have a lot of user control to customize your shaving experience. Controlling the pressure and angle of the blade will allow you to refine the shaving experience on different areas of your skin.