Fixing facial ingrown hair
Ingrown hair or Razor Bumps are a terrible affliction for those of us with curly hair or sensitive skin. Medically this condition is known as “pseudofolliculitis barbae” which are a direct result of hair or hairs growing out of the skin and curling to grow back into the skin. This causes skin inflammation, pus formation, physical discomfort and it looks nasty.
The usual caveman recourse is to pop what feels like a giant zit with hands which leads to even more nastiness from bacteria in the hands. Far better is to dig the hair out with tweezers and even better than that is to carefully use a needle.
But why even go through all of this unpleasantness? Prevention is always better than cure. And preventing ingrown hair may be as simple as changing your shaving system.
Remember the Gillette multi blade razor adds that espouse the first blades pulling the hair back so the succeeding second, third, fourth, fifth (I’m losing count) cut the blade closer and closer? Well, that works very well for a lot men but for us who have sensitive skin that can cause all sorts of hell on our faces such as razor burn and the dreaded ingrown hair. Multi bladed systems pull up on the hair and cut it below the top skin layer (epidermis).
The solution is not to go full Santa but to switch to a single blade or double edge safety razor system. Think about it, 1 good blade vs three pieces of tin foil means 67% less irritation and heck 1 good blade vs 5 pieces of tin foil means 80% less irritation, if your skin is sensitive enough as it is does it make sense to put more or less blades on it? I think you are getting the point.
Another cause of irritation to faces is the use of chemicals on the skin. Even canned shaving foam or gel can be the culprit here as well as harsh cleansers, aftershaves and treatments. If you find your skin really unhappy when you apply something then stop. Look for alternatives because each bout of irritation can further damage your easily irritable skin.
So how should you be shaving to prevent all sorts of facial maladies and make yourself so handsome that men whose faces are printed on money would blush if they saw you?
The Proper Shaving Ritual
1) Wash your face – this will soften the hair and skin preparing them for the shave.
2) Use a shaving brush – using a shaving brush with a quality shaving cream made with natural ingredients (such as our Taconic Shave Cream or Parker Shaving Soap). The natural cream or soap will prevent irritation from harsh chemicals which do not belong on your face. The gentle application of lather using a shave brush will lift the hair, exfoliate your skin therefore making the actual shave easier.
3) Shave – No across the grain or against the grain passes for guys with sensitive skin. Sorry, you can only go with the grain or shave only in the direction the hair grows which is generally downward strokes. Use short strokes, do not add any pressure to the razor, let the razor’s weight do all the work and wet the razor regularly – its wetshaving after all. You really should end here if you have sensitive skin but if you shaved well and your skin is unfazed, you can get extra smooth then relather and do another pass but again, with the grain.
4) Splash – Splash cold water to close the pores. Finish off with a light moisturizer or light shave balm.
Ingrown hair will be gone once you grow out any you may have and shave properly. Patience is key!
Even Reader’s Digest agrees single blade shaving is best to fight ingrown hair! See their article here.