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Shaving with Pimples

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Shaving with pimples can be tricky. First, there is the technique on which to use the razor to avoid the least amount of pressure, friction and irritation to skin (see tips). But the ingredients in the products you shave with can also have an impact. Some can definitely aggravate the situation, while others may help subdue the problem or at least help with the side effects.

With varying skin types, severity of breakouts and products currently being used, exactly what works in your personal regimen will depend and might take some trial and error. But we have some recommendations to keep in mind to create your customized shaving experience.

Why Some Oils May be a Good Thing

Often the word 'oil' has those fighting pimples running the other way. But don't put them all in one category.

Artificial ones wil almost always clog pores. Granted, some natural oils can also be a foe to acne-prone skin, especially those hydrogenated. But the right kinds when applied and used correctly may be extremely beneficial. They can remove excess oil, protect, moisturize, fight bacteria, encourage healing and ease inflammation.

  • Tea tree essential oil. This may help those with acne (see why). Because of its wonderful antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties it's added in many personal care products.

    How to use: You don't have to look hard to find it in shaving gels/creams and other accessories.

  • Argan oil. This is found in many products for hair, skin and nails because it's very hydrating but absorbed easily and rich in skin-loving vitamin e and squalene.

    It has actually been known to balance skin's oil production which is why it's loved by those with many different skin types- from oily to dry. I use a couple drops of organic argan oil myself as a facial moisturizer on my combination, acne-prone skin and love it.

    A friend of mine with dry skin kept getting some those kind of pimples that are deep underneath the skin and don't come to a head. Everything she tried irritated her skin. I gave her some of my argan oil (compare prices) to try and it worked. Her skin cleared up and she bought some.

    How to use: It can be found in some shaving products or used by itself as a pre-shave oil. But it's not exactly cheap and can better serve its purpose if it's not rinsed off. So I'd recommend rubbing in a couple drops post-shave to moisturize.

  • Coconut oil. A very heavy oil rich in fatty acids, it has antiseptic and antifungal benefits and can help soothe inflamed and irritated skin.

    How to use: Look for it in many natural shaving creams and gels, they use it alot because it produces a natural lather. Those with dry or dehydrated skin can work a pea-sized amount of raw, virgin coconut oil (compare prices) on post-shave. Rub in and then rinse off.

  • Pre-shaving oil. This one may only be a good choice for those with mild cases of breakouts. A blend of hydrating oils which allows the razor to glide more easily instead of pull, and also helps prevent ingrown hair and razor burn. Usually less moisturizer is needed after shaving.

    How to use: A few drops underneath shaving cream or gel. To get the most use out of a small amount, pour it into an atomizer which has a fine mist and spray on skin.

Don't Forget to Moisturize

Skin needs to have some of the moisture replaced lost from shaving, even if you have oily skin. It's just finding the right product that will moisturize and possibly fight bacteria without encouraging breakouts.

What's on the Label?

Those battling breakouts know anything that's put on skin can be a friend or foe. Check the ingredients of your current shaving products and when you're shopping. These recommendations aren't to suggest what will treat or encourage pimples. But some ingredients can promote healing while help with the side effects pimples often bring, like redness and inflammation. And others may encourage dryness, itchiness or irritation especially when being used in conjuction with other strong acne skincare products.

Potential Friends:

  • Aloe vera: Widely used to soothe burns this emollient with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties hydrates, softens and heals.
  • Vitamin E: An antioxidant known for its ability to moisturize skin.
  • Green tea extract: An antioxidant which has demonstrated anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Products labeled 'Sensitive skin' or 'Non comedogenic': Sensitive skin products often have less skin irritants and fragrances in that are known to irritate many people. Non-comedogenic products aren't supposed to contain ingredients proven to block pores.

Possible Foes:

  • Alcohol: While you might be able to steer totally clear of this one, see that it's near the end of the ingredients list instead of the beginning. There's probably enough alcohol or drying ingredients in the products you're already using.
  • Fragrance: Artificial fragrances are one of the most common ingredients that irritate skin. Find products that are fragrance-free or don't have perfumes listed on the label. If you like scents choose products that use essential oils, however they're generally more expensive.
  • Artificial oils: Silicone (dimethicone) and mineral oils are two that are often added into skincare formulas because they coat skin making it look smooth and are much cheaper than natural oils. But these can easily clog pores.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate: Artificial ingredients that create the suds action in products but can be very drying.
  • Products labeled 'Moisturizing' or 'Medicated': The moisturizing ones may be too rich for skin and the medicated ingredient may dry or sting skin.
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