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One of the easiest and most common ways of removing unwanted body hair is to just shave them off using a razor. This method is a favorite among men and women because it is easy, painless, fast, and inexpensive. While men usually shave facial hair, women often also shave their underarms, legs, and bikini area. However, shaving does not remove hair roots and results only in temporary hair removal, and so it must be done repeatedly. Since it may become a regular grooming ritual, one has to learn how to do it effectively and safely. After all, it is common for one to experience cuts and nicks, as well as skin irritation, razor burn, infection and skin bumps after shaving.

Shave Hair Properly

Aside from nicks, cuts and razor burns, red bumps are a common side effect of improper shaving. These red bumps or shaving rash are often due to folliculitis, which may develop due to irritation, ingrown hairs (pseudofolliculitis), or infection. They are often itchy and appear like pimples or red rashes, and may be filled with pus if infected.

To avoid skin irritation and other side effects of shaving, dermatologists offer some tips to shave properly:

  • Unless you are using an electric razor, you must make sure that your hair is thoroughly wet before shaving.

  • To avoid irritant folliculitis, avoid using soap for shaving.

  • Instead, use a shaving cream, which can help moisturize and protect the top layer of the skin. Aside from water, glycerin and lanolin, shaving creams contain surfactants such as stearic acid, which act like soap to remove oil and dirt from skin.

  • Wash the area you want to shave with warm water and a moisturizing cleanser to soften the hair.

  • Apply a shaving cream or gel, and leave it on your skin for 2-3 minutes to soften your hair. This will make shaving with one pass possible. Use a brush to apply the cream and lather up to help lift and coat the hairs with the shaving cream.

  • Use a gentle, water-based product if you have sensitive skin.

  • Always use a sharp razor. Change your blade often or as soon as it becomes blunt to avoid getting nicks.

  • Keep the skin relaxed (not stretched out) while shaving.

  • Always shave in the hairs' direction of growth, especially in sensitive areas. To get a closer shave, you can go against the direction of growth, but this increases the likelihood of getting razor burns and ingrown hairs.

  • Rinse your razor blade during the process to remove hair and cream.

  • Try to avoid passing over an area more than once to avoid skin irritation.

  • Rinse with cold water to reduce inflammation.

  • Apply a moisturizer to prevent drying of skin.

  • If you experience skin irritation, apply a small amount of mild corticosteroid cream to relieve itching and inflammation. Avoid shaving the area until the skin irritation is gone.

If shaving is not for you, try other hair removal methods such as waxing or application of depilatories. You must remember, however, that these methods also have similar side effects if not done properly.

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