Never Get Dry Skin From Shaving Again

Shaving often results in some annoying combination of ingrown hairs, redness, nicks, tugging and dry skin. But it doesn’t have to be this way—we swear.

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When guys are asked why they neglect their stubble, the same five answers seem to always pop up: That shaving often results in some annoying combination of ingrown hairs, redness, nicks and cuts, tugging and dry skin.

But it doesn’t have to be this way—we swear.

Let’s start with dry skin. Maybe it’s the cold, dry climate you’re in doing a 20-minute drum solo on your baby cheeks, or genetics, or the “disposable-razor-and-soap” shave-system—Philistines—you’ve been using since high school that’s making your face drier than Death Valley. Whatever the reason, that Star Trek: Insurrection-level tightness you feel after a shave is enough to make you want to drop shaving like a bad habit.

But don’t grow a beard just yet—with just a little science and a wee bit of know-how, you can make the painful annoyance of dry, tight skin go away.

Why It’s A Drag: Razors are, inevitably, exfoliants—you are, after all, dragging a sharpened piece of metal across your face—which means that besides unwanted fuzz, you’re also removing the tippy-top layers of skin that act as a natural protective barrier from the elements. Without these layers, your skin is more susceptible to dryness and irritation, according to Dr. Vincent Deleo, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. 

The wrong shaving creams might also contribute to the problem, as many of them contain nasty sounding ingredients like sulfates that can strip the skin of naturally occurring oils. Products made with naturally derived, plant-based ingredients that are sulfate-free—such as Dr. Carver’s Shave Butter, wink wink—do a much better job of lubricating your shave without taking an ice-scraper to your mug or drying it out.

Who Suffers the Most: Deleo says that dry skin is genetic, and people with eczema or a family history of hay fever or asthma tend to have skin that’s drier and more sensitive than John Q. Public’s. And as you’re probably noticing right now, certain times of year (like late fall, early winter) bring drier conditions, which can turn minor irritation into a full-blown case of razor burn.

Make It Go Away: Deleo suggests a simple solution: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Use a shaving cream designed to help skin retain natural moisture, rinse it all off afterward and immediately lube up with a post-shave moisturizing cream formulated to keep your skin supple without any irritation.

Start applying that lotion now so you can remain irritation-free while you crush the powder during what is sure to be an epic winter on the slopes (or you know, on your walk to work).