Personal grooming habits not only contribute to the way others see us, they directly impact how we view ourselves. Because of this, our routine hygiene habits are profoundly important. This doesn’t mean they have to be complicated or particularly time-consuming, though. In addition to professional medspa services like the ones we provide here at The Institute of Natural Health, there are many simple and easy things you can do in the convenience of your own home to maintain and even improve your body and its appearance. Of course, attention to diet, exercise and proper cleansing are great places to start. But even a seemingly trivial self-care task — like removing unnecessary hair, for example — can be an essential contributor to overall health; physicians confirm that shaving, in particular, can directly impact psychological well-being. To get the most out of your at-home shaving routine, then, consider these five tips for shaving sensitive skin:
Use Good, Clean Equipment Created for Your Hair Type
A clean razor is key to shaving sensitive skin. We suggest picking a new razor when possible, drying and storing it between shaves and completely replacing it — or its blade(s) — after every five or six uses. This helps ensure that every blade being used is not only not dull, but is free of dirt, rust and other contaminants so that your razor is able to quickly cut through unwanted hair instead of “catching” the hair shaft, pulling underlying skin up into its path and causing an accidental cut. Furthermore, a newer, sharp blade helps prevent infection since there is little opportunity for it to harbor bacteria.
With the right equipment at hand, you can now get down to business: exfoliation. Removing debris from the top layer of skin creates a flat and smoother surface for your razor to traverse, reducing the likelihood that its blade will catch on an accumulation of dead skin cells or blemish, cutting the skin underneath. It also prevents your razor from becoming clogged, which frequently contributes to additional skin irritation (i.e., razor burn) when shaving sensitive skin.
Soften Your Skin
Once properly exfoliated, you should then proceed to softening your skin and hair follicles. Either take a warm shower or lay a warm, moist towel across the area you’re preparing to shave. This helps open your pores and soften your hair, making it easier for your razor to cut what needs to be cut! At this point, we also suggest you apply a shaving oil, gel or cream (instead of soap) to further moisturize and protect your skin. Picking a product made with emollients specifically designed for shaving sensitive skin helps create a protective barrier between razor and skin, allowing you to glide your razor smoothly across your skin’s surface.
Shave with the Grain
Gently shaving in the direction of your hair growth is critical, especially when shaving sensitive skin. Gently rub your hand across the hair you want to cut. If you feel a prickly sensation, you’re moving your hand in the opposite direction of your hair’s growth; do not shave in this direction. You want to shave across a smooth surface, flattening the hairs down instead of pushing them up and back on themselves, possibly causing irritation, razor bumps and/or ingrown hairs!
Follow your shaving session with another round of moisturization. You aren’t just removing hair when you shave; you’re shearing off some of your surface skin cells, dehydrating the skin and making it more prone to irritation. Blast your newly shaved skin with cool water to shrink your pores and reduce redness and inflammation and then apply a thick, skin-soothing lotion or balm. This will restore lost water to the skin, calming it and keeping it supple and soft.
Want to Learn More?
To learn more about personal grooming habits and how you can augment your own practices for optimum health and well-being, please contact our team of care providers at The Institute of Natural Health. We can help you develop a healthy self-care regimen that takes into consideration your own unique needs and resources.