Does the thought of running a razor blade across your dehydrated, irritated facial skin make you cringe? If the idea of shaving during the winter makes you want to grow a beard, you’re not alone. “Shaving is terrible in the winter,” says Colin Imrie when interviewed by YourSkin101.com. “I do my best to avoid it, but when I do I use lots of cream, after-shave and moisturizer.”
Winter shaving can be painful and can cause redness and ingrown hairs. Here are some tips for a more comfortable shave this winter.
According to Dr. Erin M. Welch, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the easiest way to get a comfortable shave during the winter is to soften the stubble. “Men should soften their beards before shaving,” she said. “It’s best to shave after showering.”
Stiff facial hair is more difficult to shave and has to be tackled more aggressively. This, combined with dryness, can lead to razor burn and ingrown hairs. It is also important to start off by shaving in the direction of hair growth, Dr. Welch said. “Take one pass with the grain of hair and then a second pass against the grain for a closer shave.”
Use a product that contains aloe or one designed for sensitive skin. This will help to prevent irritation and reduce the risk of ingrown hairs.
An after-shave balm or cream can be effective for soothing your freshly shaven face and preventing ingrown hairs. Be sure to use a product that does not contain alcohol as it will only dry out your skin even more. Instead, find a product that contains aloe, vitamin E and/or glycerin to tone the skin and soften it.
One of the most effective ways men can protect their skin against dryness is to moisturize regularly. Men should apply moisturizer containing a minimum SPF 15 sunscreen daily. “It’s very important,” Dr. Welch stresses. “I recommend my patients wear sunscreen every day. You are getting sun exposure even on a cloudy day.” There are a number of good moisturizing products on the market that contain sunscreen.
To completely avoid the nightmarish side effects of the winter shave, some men will go to more extreme lengths and have the hair permanently removed. “Some men opt to get laser hair removal in areas like the neck where some men are more susceptible to ingrown hairs and it’s more difficult to shave,” Dr. Welch said. It certainly isn’t the most cost-effective option, as one treatment can cost up to $500 (and it can take up to 8 treatments before hair removal is permanent), but it is a way to say goodbye to shaving.
So you see, you don't need to suffer through the winter. With a couple of products and a gentler technique, you’ll no longer fear your daily shave.