Raise your hand if shaving bumps and ingrown hairs have personally victimized you 🙋♀️.
Irritation from shaving is a super common problem that many people struggle to both treat and prevent—especially those of us with sensitive and acne-prone skin. Shaving with the wrong technique or products can often result in tiny, mean, red, and itchy (a great combination of adjectives) bumps and pimples that can pop up on the face, neck, and armpits, well as the bikini area and legs.
The good news is that a combination of the proper shaving technique, a good shaving cream, and the right razor blade for your skin can significantly reduce the risk of razor bumps and burns. Read on for dermatologist recommendations to help achieve smooth, bump-free skin with every shave.
What is the best razor for sensitive skin?
You may not realize it, but selecting a razor is a pretty personal choice! And we don't just mean the color of the razor you chose. Your razor should be more personalized to match your skin type and the area(s) you're treating.
There are many types of razors on the market, from manual to electric shavers, trendy "safety razors," and expensive cartridges to cheap plastic disposables. It can be hard to determine the best choice for you and your budget. Here, we'd rank the different types of razors from Best (1) Worst (4).
- Cartridge Razors: Cartridge razors, the kind where you invest in a handle and replace it with new blades every few shaves, are the best option for people with sensitive skin. They're much easier to handle than safety razors and come with a swiveling/adjustable head to accommodate the angles of your face and body. This helps provide a closer shave and reduces the change of knicks and bumps. In addition, cartridges are generally designed with lubricating strips to help create better skin shaving conditions to help reduce irritation.
Safety Razors: These vintage-style razors have recently come back "in vogue" for several good reasons. Theoretically, they provide a closer shave with fewer passes, which can help lead to less irritation. In addition, the blades themselves last longer, are easy to clean (essential for acne-prone skin!), and are much more affordable than cartridges. Plus, they're more eco-friendly than the cartridge alternatives, as they can be recycled. Safety razors can be anything but safe for unskilled user and require a lot of practice and precision to prevent nicks and cuts. You can expect to need several (if not more bandaids) after your first shot with one of these.
Disposable Razors: Disposable razors are significantly less desirable than multi-use cartridge razors. They're often poorly designed with low-quality blades and materials and a bad idea for sensitive skin! The handles of multi-use razors usually include and swivel head and will be built with better materials than the disposables alternatives. These pivoting heads allow the razor head to follow the contours of your face/body, helping prevent nicks, cuts, and irritation.
Electric Shavers: While electric shavers might seem more convenient, they're a no-no for anyone with sensitive skin. The main downside of electric shavers is that they are never as sharp or clean as manual razors. In addition, the way they remove the hair (essentially pulling up and "mowing" the hair) tends to cause more skin irritation and has a higher risk for shave bumps. Even with high-end (i.e., $$$) shavers, the electric shave will never be as close as with a manual shave.
What are the best razor blades for people with sensitive skin?
There are a few factors to consider when looking for the best razor blades for you. These factors include blade quality, quantity, distribution, handle shape, razor sharpness, and lubrication.
What are the best razors for men?
Gillette Mach 3: This is of the best razors for men with acne-prone skin. Its main advantage is that it has a triple-blade cartridge, which provides the same close shave as five-blade cartridges but is much easier to rinse and clean. This is a great advantage when using thicker, creamy shaving creams, which need to be cleansed from the blades thoroughly after each use to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria. In addition to well-spaced high-quality, sharp blades, the Mach 3 razor has a lubricating strip to help hydrate the skin and a high-quality, well-balanced handle designed to prevent it from slipping from your hand during shaving. All that is to say... we're big fans of this option!
Schick Hydro 5 Razor: The main advantage of this razor is its Hydrating Gel Reservoir, which is purported to deliver 40% less friction than standard lubricating strips used in other razor cartridges. It contains aloe and vitamin E, which helps keep moisture in the skin after your shave. However, there's less space between the Schick Hydro 5 Razor blades, making it harder to clean than the Gillette Mach 3 razor. For this reason, it's the second-best option in our opinion.
What are the best razors for body hair removal for women?
Gillette Venus Extra Smooth: This great razor has five blades for a super-close shave, necessary for short (dare we say, stubble-y) hair on the legs and bikini area. As we mentioned, this can be harder to clean than 3-blade razors, but it's a great option if you're thorough with cleaning. It has a reusable handle with a pivoting head and lubricating "moisture ribbon," which helps protect your skin from nicks, cuts, and razor burns. While it may not seem like an important detail, the handle on this razor is super well designed to fit comfortably in your hand, making it easier to reach those tricky spots on the backs of the ankles or under your arms. You can also use it around your bikini line, though you should proceed with extreme caution in this region!
Billie: Another great, high-quality razor choice for women is this subscription-based razor, which will save you money (at an affordable $9.99/month or less) while also saving you a trip to the drugstore. The quality is just as good, if not better than the Gillette Venus. It has a modern design with an easy-to-grip handle, pivoting head, and more space between the blades for easier cleaning. It's also Encased in 360° of charcoal shave soap for a smoother glide. Plus (big bonus), it comes with a magnetic "pedestal" to help keep your razor out of puddles, clean, and dry.
What is the best razor for shaving the bikini line?
The bikini area tends to be more tricky to treat than other areas, so the blade you use for your face and body is not necessarily the best choice for your bikini line.
Noxzema Bikini Shave and Trim: this small razor helps provide a safer shave than most regular-sized razors, which is essential for sensitive, hard-to-reach areas. In addition to its small size, this razor includes a shea butter lubricating strip and a unique, comb-like protective cover specifically designed to deliver a better shave for extra sensitive skin in hard-to-reach areas. These are disposable razors, so you'll have to throw the entire shaver away when the blades start to dull.
Is shaving your face suitable for acne?
Good shaving is an essential part of good skincare, particularly for people with sensitive, acne-prone skin. A manual shave, performed with good technique and the right tools and products, helps provide a mild manual exfoliating effect on the skin, followed by lubrication to help prevent razor bumps, irritation, and acne breakouts.
More tips for a better, bump-free shave:
Use Hot Water: The best time to shave is after a hot shower. The warm/hot water will soften your facial hair (in men) and body hair (in women), making it easier to get a close, smooth shave. Doing this also helps open the pores and keep them clean and unclogged—super helpful for acne-prone skin!
Apply a Shave Cream: Shaving foams (and gels that turn into foam) can be convenient but could contribute to your bump problem. Shaving creams, which lathers rather than foam, are a better alternative for people with sensitive skin, as it helps provide irritation-free shaving while leaving skin smooth and hydrated. We're biased, but the MDacne Soothing Shave Cream is our favorite for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Use a Sharp Blade: There are several reasons why using a sharp blade every time you shave is important. The first is that sharper blades provide a better, closer shave. Additionally, a dull blade can tug on your hair, ultimately leading to bumps and irritation. Since sharp blades are often "fresher," they usually have less dirt, grime, and bacteria, which you want to keep away from acne-prone skin. Most quality razor blades can provide up to 10 good shaves. For those who shave daily, it's a good idea to replace dull blades at least every ten days and more often (every 3 shaves) if you can afford the cost of extra blades each month!
Go the Right Direction: Always shave with the grain of the hair (i.e., in the direction of hair growth. While shaving against the grain does provide a closer shave, it is also more likely to cause bumps, irritation, and ingrown hairs (also called pseudofolliculitis barbae). One tip for getting a closer shave while using this technique is to do two passes with the grain and then do a third pass against the grain.
Not Too Much Pressure: You might not realize, but you might be putting more pressure on your razor than you need to! When shaving with a heavy double-bladed safety razor or a high-quality multi-use use razor, you do not need to apply a lot of pressure on your skin—the razor's weight will do the job for you. Lighter, disposable cartridge razors require more pressure, which is one reason they tend to cause more irritation.
Use the Right Angle: The angle between the blade and your skin is super important. One of the benefits of multi-use cartridge razors is that they (usually) have a swivel head that automatically adjusts to match the contours of your face or body. With a safety razor, the angle of the blade depends entirely on how you position the razor with your hands. Therefore, you must be extra careful to keep the blade at a ~30-degree angle, which requires attention and precision.
Good Hygiene!: Keep your blade CLEAN! One of the most common causes of shaving bumps is shaving with unclean blades. With multi-blade razors, the small spaces between the blades (especially in 5-blade cartridges) tend to accumulate shaving cream, cut hair and dirt, and harbor bacteria between uses. Using a three-blade cartridge and rinsing the blades clean with hot water immediately after use will go a long way in helping prevent irritation.
Moisturize: An oil-free moisturizer after shaving is a great way to help soothe the skin and is a much better alternative to once-popular "aftershave." Alcohol-based aftershave lotions are too irritating to the skin (adding insult to injury) and should not be used by people with sensitive skin. Alternatively, using a small amount of an excellent oil-free moisturizer can help prevent shaving bumps and is a great idea for people with acne-prone skin. An oil-free moisturizer that contains aloe vera is even better, as it helps calms the skin and reduces irritation and redness. Shaving oil is not the best idea for people with acne-prone skin, as these oils can clog your pores and increase the risk of acne breakouts and shaving bumps.
FAQs about razors and shaving cream in people with a tendency to acne or razor bumps:
Q: What causes razor bumps and ingrown hairs?
A: Razor bumps and ingrown hairs are typically caused by hair that grows back into the skin after shaving. This can be exacerbated by using the wrong shaving technique or products, having curly or coarse hair, and having sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Q: How can I prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs?
A: To prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs, you can try using good shaving cream, a sharp razor blade, shaving in the direction of hair growth, and avoiding shaving too closely to the skin. You may also want to try using an exfoliating scrub or using a warm compress to open up the pores before shaving.
Q: What is the best razor for sensitive skin?
A: The best razor for sensitive skin is typically a multi-use cartridge razor with a swiveling/adjustable head and lubricating strips to help reduce irritation. Safety razors can also be a good option for those with sensitive skin, but they require more skill to use without causing nicks and cuts.
Q: What are the best razor blades for people with sensitive skin?
A: The best razor blades for people with sensitive skin are typically sharp, high-quality blades with lubrication strips to help reduce friction and irritation.
Q: What are the best razors for men?
A: Some of the best razors for men include the Gillette Mach 3 and the Schick Hydro 5 Razor. These razors have multiple blades and lubrication strips to help provide a smooth, irritation-free shave.
Q: What are the best razors for body hair removal for women?
A: The best razors for body hair removal for women include the Gillette Venus Extra Smooth and the Billie razor. These razors have multiple blades and pivoting heads to help provide a close, smooth shave without causing irritation.
Q: What is the best razor for shaving the bikini line?
A: The best razor for shaving the bikini line is typically a small, disposable razor with a shea butter lubricating strip and a comb-like protective cover. One example of this type of razor is the Noxzema Bikini Shave and Trim.
Q: Is shaving your face good for acne?
A: Shaving your face can be good for acne if you use the right technique and products. Shaving can help provide a mild manual exfoliating effect on the skin, followed by lubrication to help prevent both razor bumps and irritation, and acne breakouts.
Q: Can laser hair removal help prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs?
A: Yes, laser hair removal can help prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs by permanently reducing hair growth. However, laser hair removal can be expensive and requires multiple treatments, and it is not suitable for everyone. It is important to consult with a dermatologist to determine if laser hair removal is the right option for you.
Q: What are some other tips for a better, bump-free shave?
A: Other tips for a better, bump-free shave include using hot water to soften the hair, using a shaving cream rather than a foam, using a sharp blade and shaving with the grain of the hair, avoiding too much pressure, and using the right angle, keeping your blade clean, and moisturizing your skin after shaving with an oil-free moisturizer or aloe vera.
Q: What is the MDhair Shave Cream Trio, and how can it help prevent razor bumps and irritation?
A: The MDhair Shave Cream Trio is a dermatologist-formulated shaving cream designed to provide a smooth, bump-free shave for people with sensitive and acne-prone skin. It includes plant-based boosters like Paeonia Albiflora Flower Extract and Allantoin that help to reduce skin irritation and prevent razor bumps. Additionally, the cream is vegan and cruelty-free and free of parabens and phthalates, making it an excellent choice for those who want a natural and gentle product for their skin. By providing a close and soothing shave, this cream can help prevent razor bumps and irritation.
Q: How should I use the MDhair Shave Cream Trio for the best results?
A: To use the MDhair Shave Cream Trio, start by washing the skin with warm water to prep it for shaving. Then, massage the cream to a light lather and gently shave in the direction of hair growth. By following these steps and using the cream regularly, you can enjoy a smooth, bump-free shave that is gentle on your skin.
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