why does my face break out after shaving
An isolated pimple that appears after you've shaved can be treated with simple remedies. However, a group of pimples caused by shaving coarse, curly hair may be a condition called folliculitis that can be more difficult to manage. If the cause is a bacterial or fungal infection, you'll need medication from your doctor to cure the problem. Taking some simple precautions before shaving may help prevent the problem. If you squeeze a whitehead filled with a bit of pus, the trauma to the skin can cause a pimple to form. Pimples contain debris and white blood cells that can spread into the surrounding area, causing an unsightly blemish that may not heal properly. People with oily skin are more likely to develop pimples on the face after shaving. Pimples can also appear after shaving the armpits, legs or the groin area. Never squeeze these areas. Instead, apply a bit of benzoyl peroxide to the area to help it dry out or simply allow it to heal by itself. (Ref. 7, p. 7)
A rash of itchy, mildly painful pimples around a hair follicle on your neck or pubic area may actually be an infection called folliculitis.
The follicle, which attaches the hair under the skin, can be irritated by shaving and become infected by a bacteria normally found on the skin called Staphylococcus aureus. To heal the folliculitis, your doctor may prescribe clindamycin lotion or gel, an antibiotic that kills S. aureus when applied to the skin. (Ref. 3) If the folliculitis is severe, you may need to take prescribed antibiotics by mouth. Men who have coarse, curly beards may develop a condition on the face or neckline called pseudofolliculitis barbae that looks much like folliculitis. Shaving this type of beard can cause the hairs to pierce the skin, causing ingrown hairs. Warm compresses to the affected skin can relieve some of the inflammation and make it easier to remove the ingrown hair with tweezers.
Your doctor may advise you to use an antiinflammatory ointment on the affected area and to allow the beard to grow out slightly to prevent more ingrown hairs from forming. Sometimes antibiotics are given by mouth as well. (Ref. 6) To prevent pimples after shaving, make sure that your razor blade is sharp and clean. Soften the skin with hot water before shaving and apply a shaving gel to the area, leaving it on for four minutes before starting to shave. Take care to shave in only one direction, preferably top to bottom when shaving the face. (Ref. 2) Avoid using pressure that can break the skin while you shave. If you cannot see the area you are shaving, consider having the procedure done by a professional, especially if the pubic area is involved.
Apply moisturizer after shaving to rehydrate the skin. Acne that occurs after shaving is a little different than the common form associated with puberty and the teen years. Acne in general refers to a clog of the hair follicles that leads to red bumps. Ordinarily, this clog forms when dead skin cells and oil pool together to block the follicle opening. The pimples you get after shaving occur because that act of shaving itself irritates the follicles and causes blockage. As with many things, the best cure for acne after shaving is prevention. Proper shaving techniques will reduce irritation and the pimples that go with it. Splash warm water on your face before beginning to shave. This will open up pores and soften the skin. Select a shaving cream that provides a thin layer of protection to your skin. According to the website Acne. com, filmier creams will enable the razor to move freely over the skin surface and help reduce irritation.
Use the shaving cream liberally when applying. Use disposable, single-bladed razors. Double-bladed razors actually damage the dermis. When skin grows back, it may clog the follicle and lead to chronic acne. Replace the razor with every shave. Shave in the same direction as the hair grows. Look at your hair growth before applying shaving cream. Hair grows downward in most cases. To shave with the grain, you stroke the razor in the same direction as hair growth. You will not get as close of a shave this way, but will reduce irritation. Apply a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid gel to face as a toner. This will both medicate the acne to prevent it before it starts, and close pores. As an alternative, try a natural astringent like witch hazel. Acne. com states the best tool to prevent acne is an electric razor.
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