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Tips For A Healthy Shave

How many blades do we need to shave?

I’m a man. I use a two-blade razor. This might surprise you. I have the means, so why don’t I use the latest five-blade-vibrating-titanium tool? Any razor good enough for Tiger Woods and Derek Jeeter should be good enough for me, right? 

Advanced technology doesn’t always make a product better. Think of your universal remote control — it has half a dozen buttons you’ve probably never pushed and, if it’s like mine, changing the channel is a complicated affair. 

Last week a patient of mine, who looks a lot like Javier Bardem, came to my office frustrated. He had been using the latest-blade razor and had red razor bumps on his neck and cheeks. Why? 

Because there is such a thing as a shave that is too close. If your beard is cut at or below the level of the skin, then the hair can become trapped when it regrows. The coiled hair continues to grow downward causing a painful, red razor bump. For some men, the closer the shave, the more likely they’ll have this problem.

For a close, comfortable shave, you don’t need a new gadget; you need good technique: 

  • Warm your face with water. Massage shaving cream and let set for one to two minutes before you start.
  • Shave it the first time, with one stroke. Rinse your blade between every swipe.
  • Sharp blades cut without pulling hairs. Change your blade often.
  • Pull the skin taut for a closer shave. Let it relax for a more comfortable shave.
  • Always shave with the grain of the hair.

I might not be manly enough for a straight razor, but I’m sticking to my classic two-blade shaver, even if it is circa 1970s technology. Like moving the ball half the distance to the goal when your already at the goal line, shaving twice a close when you’re already close doesn’t matter much. Sometimes close is close enough. 

What is your favorite razor? Is your shave better now than it was five years ago? 

[Photo credit: Guarana]

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*


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