The use of an aftershave product is a very important process in proper skin care after shaving. Following the correct procedures and choosing the right after shave products will lessen shaving irritation.
Shaving is generally a harsh process for the skin to endure and this process is repeated daily in many cases. It is an irritating process that leaves the skin very sensitive. During shaving, layers of protective tissue and protective oils are removed and the surface of the skin is roughened. Pores are opened up and the skin is left vulnerable to contaminants penetrating into the skin.
Information on preparing the skin for shaving and the actual shaving process can be found here. Most individuals are primarily concerned with these first two elements. Without a doubt, knowing how to shave properly is critical to ensure the skin damage is minimized. However, often overlooked are the procedures that should be followed after shaving. Factors such as what aftershave products to choose, the composition of the aftershave products, and skin care procedures to follow after shaving are just as important as shaving correctly.
Step 1 – Rinse-off
After the shaving process and prior to considering the use of an after shave product, it is important to remove shaving residue such as excess shaving cream. This can be performed by rinsing the skin with warm water. Afterwards, it is a good idea to rinse the skin with cool water. Cool water closes the skin pores and prevents contaminants and bacteria from entering the skin. You may consider using a good gentle skin cleanser to ensure the skin is well cleaned after shaving. After rinsing and cleaning, pat dry the skin with a clean towel. Avoid rubbing the skin dry, as this will further irritate the skin.
Once the face has been properly rinsed and cleaned after shaving, then it is a good idea to use an after shave product. Aftershaving products can be in the form of a lotion, gel, or liquid. Whichever form is used, there are usually three ingredients found in after shaves. These ingredients are: an antiseptic, a fragrance, and a moisturizer.
Antiseptic in After Shave Products
The purpose of the antiseptic is to prevent infection from any cuts that occurred during shaving and to numb the damaged skin to relieve some of the irritation and pain.
Unfortunately, the product most often used as an antiseptic in after shaves is alcohol. Although some individuals prefer or enjoy the cooling and refreshing feeling that alcohol-containing aftershaves can provide, generally such products are not recommended. After shaving, the skin has already been abraded and irritated. Placing an alcohol-containing aftershave on skin in this condition will likely lead to additional irritation instead of soothing. The use of alcohol also stings and can be quite painful and simply compounds the skin damage that shaving has produced. This is especially a concern for people with sensitive skin. Alcohol will dry out the skin and can contribute to skin blemishes. There are claims that aftershaves containing alcohol can also cause an increase in ingrown hairs.
Alternatives to using alcohol as the antiseptic are natural products. One such example is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil acts as a natural antiseptic that acts to prevent shaving rash. Another option for an antiseptic is to use styptic pencils. These pencils usually contain alum, which acts to disinfect shaving nicks and cuts. In addition, because alum is a coagulant, it helps stop any bleeding. Generally, healing time for shaving nicks and cuts is significantly reduced when styptic pencils are used.
As a general guide, if the after shave burns, irritates, leads to skin inflammation or redness or is just provides discomfort when applied, then it should not be used.
After Shave Fragrance
The selection of the type of fragrance for most individuals comes down to personal preference. Some even prefer non-scented products. As a rule, avoid products that are heavily scented. Cheaper products normally contain a lot of scent or perfume and poor quality ingredients. Many individuals are sensitive to perfumes and may get allergic reactions or skin irritation.
Moisturizers in Aftershaves
At the very end of the shaving process, the use of a moisturizer or after shave containing a moisturizer is critical for good healthy skin care. A good quality moisturizer will soften the skin after shaving as well as reduce itching and irritation.
The moisturizer should be non-greasy or oil-free. It should be “non-comedogenic” or non-pore clogging especially if you are susceptible to acne. A nourishing moisturizer is best. These moisturizing creams contain ingredients such as vitamins (vitamin E), aloe vera, chamomile, allantoin, and panthenol. These elements help cool and soothe the skin and help it recover from shaving and various nicks and cuts.
Finally, there are moisturizing products tfor after shaving hat are specially formulated to combat problem such as razor bumps and ingrown hairs. If you are susceptible to these problems, then it would be a good idea to give such products a try. Cortisone anti-itch creams or unscented and undyed aloe vera gel may help with razor burn or razor bumps as well.
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