1. Style
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

How to Shave with Sensitive Skin


Woman Shaving Her Legs
Sydney Shaffer/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Shaving with sensitive skin can be extremely tricky hopping from one solution to the next in hopes of relief. Nailing down the cause behind making your skin cry is different from person to person and it may take some trial and error.

Once you get the reason, or reasons, behind the reaction in your hair removal routine you can get relief from redness, itchiness and other annoying side effects.

What's In Your Products?

There might be something in your shaving kit triggering problems. You could be allergic to an ingredient, or it may be simply irritating or drying to skin.

Allergic reaction

We can be allergic to almost any ingredient, man-made or natural. Common allergens in skin care products are artificial fragrances (perfume), colorants, and certain preservatives. (Learn more: Skin Allergies.)

Check the labels carefully and try products that are fragrance free or made for sensitive skin which tend to leave out the most popular allergens.


While you may not allergic to a certain ingredient, it may be bothering your skin and react similarly to a skin allergy. There are also other factors that may be responsible for creating aggravation.

  • Too much exfoliation. Shaving exfoliates in itself. Using an acne or anti-aging product that contains powerful exfoliators (like glycolic or salicylic acid) or pre shave scrub may be too much combined with shaving.

Cut back on the amount of exfoliating or use something less intensive.

  • Debris stuck to your razor. Those dead skin cells and leftover product cling to your razor. Skin becomes more susceptible to bacteria when shaving and can definitely irritate skin, often causing redness, itching and pimples.

Make sure to rinse razor thoroughly, clean with an alcohol wipe or use a product like the Razor Pit Teneo that cleans the razor for you.

Moisture Zappers

Shaving depletes moisture. Some skin already on the dry side will get worse by itching, feeling tight and turning red. Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, two foaming agents used in shaving creams and gels are known to dry skin. Alcohol also in many skincare products, including aftershave, can sting freshly shaved skin and promote dryness.

Use a pre shave oil. Use warm, not hot water. Check labels before buying any products and look for moisturizing ingredients like aloe, natural oils and glycerin. Finish off with a quality aftershave lotion or balm.

Side Effects of Shaving: Ingrown Hair, Razor Burn, Bumps and Pimples

The consequences of shaving often aren't pretty, but can affect those with sensitive skin or not. Learn more about how to avoid these problems.

The Right Razor

A cheap disposable will wreak havoc on even those with the least vulnerable skin on the planet. The most expensive or fanciest razor doesn't have to be the answer. However, a quality razor will mean the world of difference.

What works great for one person and doesn't irritate their skin, may not for the other. Here are some basic features to look for in a razor, especially if you're prone to irritation:

  • A pivoting head. This bends with the curves of the face or body and gives a closer shave with less irritation.
  • Ditch the disposables. The quality isn't as good as a regular manual razor, so there's more chance of upset skin.
  • Less blades. This doesn't bother everyone and it depends on the brand. However, it's best to choose a razor with less blades if it seems to be a problem.

Change When Needed

That great razor will eventually lose its life and begin pulling on skin, therefore causing irritation. We know putting in fresh blades can cost a small fortune. However, there are many ways to make one last a long time so you can save money (See: How to Extend Your Razor Blade's Life).

Learn more great tips in: How to Shave.

  1. About.com
  2. Style
  3. Hair Removal
  4. Shaving
  5. How to Shave with Sensitive Skin

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.