A: Although unsightly and sometimes painful this is a common occurrence that can be avoided. Causes – Ingrown hairs occur when the hair is cut off beneath the skin’s surface, gets trapped inside the follicle and then curves back on itself and grows into the surrounding skin. This can irritate the skin and cause a red, lumpy reaction, made worse next time you shave and sometimes leading to infection.
How to prevent them – Exfoliate and moisturise regularly. The former to remove dead skin cells and release trapped hairs, and the latter to keep skin soft and allow hairs to grow through the surface more easily. Always shave after a hot shower with a sharp razor in the direction of the hair growth so you don’t distort the follicles. Don’t stretch the skin tight while shaving to avoid too close a shave.
How to deal with them – soak a towel in hot water and put it on the skin for a few minutes to soften the hairs. Using sterilised tweezers, loosen the end of the hair and leave it for a couple of days before plucking so the skin can heal back around the hair shaft so that it can grow correctly in future. Keep the area clean and dry to minimise future infection.
A: There are two types of shaving rash:
- Caused by ingrowing hairs (read tips above)
- Due to a persistent infection in the follicles themselves. Some key ways to avoid this are:
- Always wait at least ten minutes or so after you have woken up so the ‘puffiness’ in your face can go down.
- Have a hot shower and then prepare your beard with a good quality foam or gel to soften the hair and make sure bristles can be cut without pulling and irritating the skin.
- Use a sharp razor – blunt or dull blades can increase irritation.
A: Yes, Razors can be used to remove hair from the legs, underarms, back or the pubic area – but as with the face, shaving against the growth direction can cause ingrown hairs or irritation so proper shave rules still apply.
In the same way that bacteria can be transferred from one person to another, it can also be transferred from one area of the body to another, so use a clean, sharp razor and rinse it in warm water after use to ensure it’s clean and hygienic for the next time you use it.
Remember – if you can’t see or reach the area properly, don’t attempt to shave it yourself!
A: If you suffer from acne, shaving can be a real pain in both senses of the word, and your daily routine will need extra care. For a more comfortable shave, apply good shaving practice but always shave lightly so that you don’t cut into the blemishes. Aim for less irritation rather than the closest finish. Wash the face with warm water and a gentle soap to soften the skin and open the pores or warm the face with a hot wet flannel for 30 seconds. Then use a good quality shaving gel or foam that doesn’t contain alcohol and is designed for sensitive skin – using this with a shaving brush will help to lock in moisture and raise the facial hairs. Instead of aftershave, use a deep cleaning facial cleanser. It will have the same effect but will also help kill the bacteria that cause the acne.
As with your scalp, your chin is still vulnerable to UV rays – even if it is covered with hair. How much UV light penetrates will depend upon how your beard is styled as well as the thickness of your hair type. In fact, most sun damage occurs during every day routines so you should be using a daily moisturiser with an SPF already incorporated.
For protection against stronger rays, try using a clear lotion or dry oil spray which are generally easier to apply on top of any type of body hair – and won’t leave the tell tale white marks where it hasn’t been rubbed in.
If you’ve recently restyled your beard or shaved it off, remember that the skin underneath will be extra vulnerable, so up your UV protection.
- Shaving, tweezing or waxing does not cause hair to grow back thicker or fuller.
- Your hair grows in response to individual biochemistry and hormones. Heredity, genes, race, medications taken, physical and mental stress, and diet influence these hormones.
- Most shaving accidents are caused by using dull and/or dirty razor blades, insufficient preparation of the skin and hair before shaving, and using the wrong equipment and products.
- A man’s beard contains between 7 000 and 15 000 hairs.
- Titanium – the same stuff that’s used to coat the Quattro range of razors – is half the weight of steel but triple the strength.
- Titanium does not corrode when exposed to harsh weather, grease or most chemicals – which is why its coating helps razors stay sharper for longer without rusting.