Dermatologist Recommended

Wet Vs. Dry shaving

How to shave with acne razor bumps

Wet shaving is the traditional way to shave. With wet shaving, you soak the area to be shaved in warm water, apply some foam or gel on the area, and run your razor on it. Dry shaving is performed with some electric razor without using water or shaving gels. It is usually used by those who need a quick shaving solution.

Wet shaving gives you the closest shave possible – the hair soaked in water and gel becomes softer and easier to cut. If you start with dry skin and hair, shaving will be uneven, the hair will break down, and you will most probably end with skin bruises. Nevertheless, the preparation of the skin and the procedure itself takes longer than with dry shaving. A sharp blade is crucial to getting a close and irritation-free shave.

Dry shavers cut the hairs at a certain distance from the skin's surface, an advantage for people with sensitive skin. However, this results in a shave that is not so smooth as wet shaving. Electric razors used for dry shaving cost more and require more maintenance and cleaning than the simple razors used in wet shaving.

Your choice of shaving method ultimately depends on your preferences - there is no right or wrong method. Your skin type, the time frame you can allocate to shaving, and your budget are some factors.

For people with acne, it is preferable to shave every day (or at least every other day), and using the right method, products, and tools is essential. Check out these tips:

  1. Start with a warm (not hot) shower. Heat and humidity will soften your beard and make your shave smoother and less irritating.
  2. Cleanse your skin. Use a facial cleanser with medicated anti-acne ingredients such as salicylic acid, preferably customized to your skin type, acne severity, and sensitivities.
  3. Invest in a high-quality razor blade. A high-quality razor will provide a better, closer shave and will tend to last longer than cheaper options. Standard, multi-blade razors or single-blade razors are preferable to electric shavers, which have a tendency to crush the hairs of the beard and may penetrate and wound the skin.
  4. Use a sharp, clean razor blade. To prevent breakouts and irritation, ensure you are shaving with a fresh razor blade that isn't dull, rusted, or full of bacteria. A rusted, dull blade is also more likely to nick pimples, which can result in scarring.
  5. Look for creamy, moisturizing shaving cream. Unfortunately, standard shaving creams found in drugstores are frequently comedogenic (clog pores), contain alcohols, and can be extra drying... this is a recipe for disaster for acne-prone skin as it can cause an increase in the production of sebum and ultimately pimples. Higher-quality shaving can also be a bit pricier but are worthy investments for clear, acne-free, and ingrown-free skin.
  6. Allow your shaving cream to set on your skin. Leave your shaving cream on your face for a minute or so (ideally 3-4 minutes!) before beginning to shave.
  7. Always shave with the grain rather than against it. Shave in one direction: from top to bottom with the grain (i.e., the direction of hair growth). Shaving in two directions goes against the grain of the beard and can cause the tips of the hairs to penetrate and wound the skin and grow back underneath the surface of the skin (i.e., difficult to treat ingrown hairs!).
  8. Take your time to be careful and precise. Going slowly and shaving your skin gently will help prevent those breakouts, ingrown hairs, and irritation we all want to avoid.
  9. Use less of your aftershave or scented after shave creams (or ditch them all together!). Aftershave balms and lotions can actually be irritating for acne-prone skin. Use these infrequently (if ever) and stick to moisturizer.
  10. Hydrate your skin. After shaving, do not forget to hydrate your skin. A good moisturizer will leave skin soft and smooth and help maintain the skin's natural moisture barrier. You can use an oil-free moisturizer (preferably one with active acne ingredients) and/or a good oil-free sunscreen to protect and hydrate your now freshly exfoliated skin.

Some more tips for wet shaving for women:


1. Shave your legs after a warm bath or shower. Soaking your skin in warm water will make skin and hair softer and easier to shave.
2. Use shaving cream. Before shaving, apply on your skin a thick layer of shaving cream.
3. Use long, even strokes. Use long, even strokes without applying excessive pressure.
4. Shave in the direction of your hair. Always shave in one direction following the direction of the hair.
5. Shave carefully over bony areas like ankles, shins, and knees. For knees, bend slightly to pull the skin tight before shaving; folded skin is difficult to shave.
6. Stay warm. To prevent goosebumps, stay warm. Any irregularity in the skin surface can complicate shaving.
7. Be careful with a closer shave. For a closer shave, carefully shave against the grain of hair growth.

For Underarms and bikini area:

1. Don't shave with dry skin. Instead, moisten the skin and apply a thick shaving gel.
2. Smooth out skin. Lift your arm while shaving to pull skin tight.
3. Shave from the bottom up. Then, go in the same direction, down to up, allowing the razor to glide over the skin.
4. Shave over an area just once. Avoid shaving the same area more than once to minimize skin irritation.
5. Avoid applying deodorants or antiperspirants immediately after shaving. To prevent irritation and stinging, shave underarms at night and give the area time to stabilize before using deodorant.
6. Be consistent. Shave frequently year-round to keep the area free of irritation and ingrown hairs.

What should you do after you shave?

Your skin is very sensitive after shaving. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes before applying products.

If you must moisturize immediately following shaving, select a cream rather than a lotion, and never use exfoliating moisturizers on the skin after shaving. Freshly shaved skin is especially vulnerable to chlorine and saltwater swimming pools, tanning lotions that will stain your skin in an uneven way, and sunscreens containing alcohol that will sting.

Our choice for razor: Gillette Mach 3 Turbo on Amazon

Our choice for shaving cream: MDacne soothing shave cream Trio

To find the right acne treatments for your unique skin, take the free skin assessment by clicking here.

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