Ever since I was old enough I have hated, loathed and rued shaving my facial hair. Due to my sensitive rosacea skin I tend to get it all; razor bumps, redness, in-grown hairs, dryness and that physical burning sensation whenever I shave. Thus I shave but once or twice a week so I tend to look a bit scruffy most of the time (and not that cute Hollywood kind of scruffy either) which makes me feel like I come off as a terrible slob.
I have tried just about every Men’s shaving product that DermStore carries in an effort to achieve the closest, most comfortable shave for my incredibly sensitive skin, and I believe I’ve found an excellent shaving regimen, which I am happy to share with you. I began by deconstructing my shaving regimen to determine the cause or causes that contributed to my skin becoming so inflamed.
First and foremost, I looked at my razor. I was using a 5-bladed razor with the interchangeable disposable head and it seems to me that 5 blades truly is overkill for your whiskers. It may cut the hair as short as possible but it also takes a lot of surface skin with it, thus causing inflammation for what your skin observes as an injury. In its mad dash to automatically heal this uniform abrasion, your cells will funnel more energy regenerating your epidermis than they will to hair growth. Since the skin is regenerating faster than the hair follicle can regrow the whisker, it will heal over the follicle, thus trapping it beneath the epidermis. This can cause a bacterial infection which leads to in-grown hairs and razor bumps.
I concluded that a 5-blade razor was too abrasive for my skin, not to mention unwieldy ,as the head was too large to fit under my nose to all get the whiskers on my upper lip. So, I went back to a 3-bladed razor which works just fine for me. Less is more in this instance and bigger isn’t always better. Having gotten my choice of tool down, I then focused on prepping my skin to minimize irritation at the onset of the shave. Pre-shave treatments are great to soften and condition your skin before you apply shaving cream or foam and can make for a much slicker shave.
The Proraso Preshave Cream – Sensitive Skin is excellent for sensitive skin types and features soothing extracts of thyme, oatmeal and menthol which can really help you have a comfortable shave but it’s not necessarily enough to fully prevent your skin’s reaction to being exfoliated with a sharp metal object. I had to figure out a way to completely neutralize my skin’s natural response to shaving, which was increased sensitivity and micro-swelling of the epidermal layers.
I was watching a special season 1 reunion of Rupaul’s Drag race and the Drag Queens were having a Q&A session when one of the questions posed was “What do you use to keep your legs so smooth and bump free?” Most of the Queens did not have a ready response and seemed to indicate that it was still an issue for them, but Shanel from Las Vegas stated that she mixed a small amount of a topical anesthetic in with her shaving cream.
I thought to myself, “what a brilliant idea!” It would completely solve the issue of my sensitivity if the nerves in my skin did not realize they should be reacting to an abrasive stimulus. I used the Lamisil LC-5 Lidocaine 5% cream and massaged it onto the lower part of my face, jaw and neck and let it set until I began to feel a mild numbness. I then applied the pre-shave cream and let that set for another minute before applying the Proraso Shaving Soap In a Bowl – Sensitive Skin with a shave brush. My shave was incredibly smooth and I did not cut myself even though I was numb. After rinsing with lukewarm water I applied another light layer of lidocaine cream to my skin and sprayed my skin with a non-astringent toning mist. The numbness, while not complete, wore off within an hour but the swelling and inflammation never manifested and I never developed any razor bumps or in-grown hairs. The trick of it was to “trick” my skin into staying calm throughout the entire shaving process and letting that numbness linger for a while afterward.
Topical lidocaine is perfectly safe and can be purchased on www.dermstore.com or at many local pharmacies over the counter. It is commonly used to treat minor skin irritations resulting from insect bites, burns, lacerations and skin rash. This handy little trick may just as easily be adapted for Women’s shaving as well.