Does Shaving Your Face Cause Acne? (Prevention)

Does shaving your face cause acne and if it does what can you do to stop it? The truth is that shaving can absolutely cause acne and it's an unfortunate part of shaving for some men. The good news is it doesn't have to be apart of your shaving life permanently.

Our goal is to inform you of your options so you never have to deal with shave acne again. It's one of the biggest shaving problems for men but you won't have to deal with it much longer.

Shaving Acne & Razor Bumps

Improper shaving techniques are the root cause of your shave acne (i.e. razor bumps). In today's world we've almost stopped putting any thought into the act of shaving. We slap some shaving cream on our skin and shave the hairs and never give it a second thought.

We've been marketed to by large companies to believe that we need 3-5 blades on our razors. These cartridge razors are a big factor leading to your acne. The multiple blades do give you a smoother shave quicker but it comes at a cost that frankly just isn't worth it.

Each blade counts as a single pass across your skin. Each blade cutting the hairs closer to the skin and eventually cutting them way to short. This causes the hair to have to push through the skin when it begins to grow and this is what causes razor bumps.

In addition to the razor bumps your multi-bladed cartridge razor is terrible for sensitive skin. These razors are more likely to cause rashes, razor burn, and general skin irritation. If your razor isn't the root cause of your problem it could also be your shaving cream but we'll get to that later.

How to Fix Your Shave Acne

There are two key options you can do to take own your shaving acne yourself. You can use an electric shaver or use a safety razor. You want to make a decision and choose one and stick with it for a while to see how it effects your acne.

It's also important to not shave everyday. Always give your face and skin a small break now and again. It helps keep your skin healthy and lowers your risk of shaving issues if you let the hairs grow out a little.

does shaving your face cause acne

Option 1) Electric Shavers

Swapping from your cartridge razor to an electric shaver such as the Braun Series 9 will be a big change if you've never shaved electric before. It's an entirely different experience and most men find it to be a highly convenient alternative to traditional shaving.

When you're using an electric shaver you don't have to use shaving cream. Some electric shavers will work with shaving cream if you find yourself feeling like you need it but it's far from necessary.

What makes electric shavers great for shave acne is because they don't shave your facial hair so low that it requires your hairs to grow back through your skin. An electric shaver can give you a low cut but you'll be able to feel the small hairs if you run your hand over your cheeks.

That key factor is both why it's perfect to prevent shaving acne and why some men are turned off by them. You may feel as if you're walking around and everyone can see your facial hair and that's a big difference compared to the close shave of a cartridge razor.

If you can get over the feeling of being exposed you'll be golden. In reality you're not exposed and you can use an electric shaver every morning to keep your hairs down without having to worry about those shaving issues.

As an added bonus it's much quicker to shave with an electric shaver. The bonuses of speed, efficiency, and convenience are more than enough a reason to own an electric shaver in my opinion. Buy one even if you keep a bladed razor around because face it you're not always in the mood to do a full shave.

Foil or Rotary Shaver

There are two types of electric shavers -- foil and rotary. Here's how you know which one to pick. Take a moment to evaluate the type of facial hair you have. Is it thinner and straight or thicker and curly?

  • male
    Thin & Straight - Go with a foil shaver.
  • male
    Thick & Curly - Go with the rotary shaver.
safety razor for razor bumps

Option 2) Safety Razors

Going from your cartridge razor to a safety razor (like the Viking Chieftain) will require you to go through a learning curve. It's nothing you should be to concerned about because learning to use a safety razor isn't difficult and will only take a moment.

There are many benefits to swapping to a safety razor other than combating your shave acne. Safety razors are more precise and less expensive than your cartridge razor. It's also a shaving experience that's great to teach your son and can be an experience you teach and is passed down to children becoming of age.

If you're going to try wet shaving with a safety razor here's how to get the most out of it:

Pre-shave Routine

Everything begins with your pre-shave routine. A poor pre-shave routine is starting off on the wrong foot and sabotaging your own efforts. So take the time to get it right.

I recommend always having a nice warm shower before shaving. The steam loosens your hair follicles and relaxes the skin. This helps give you a naturally smoother shave. If you're unable to shower before your shave prep your face with a warm washcloth.

After the warm shower or washcloth you want to take the time to exfoliate. Cleanse your skin with a warm washcloth or sponge and give it a scrub down. The goal here is to remove any left over dirt or oils on the face while also exposing hairs that may be stuck under the skin.

Ditch Your Canned Shaving Cream

Your canned shaving cream contained ingredients and preservatives that you don't want to contact with if you have an issue with shave acne or sensitive skin. Instead opt for the shave soap that you can lather yourself.

These shave soaps and natural shave creams contain less chemicals and the act of lathering will actually help raise your whiskers and prevent shave acne.

Learning to lather shaving cream is apart of the safety razor learning curve but once you've got these little aspects of wet shaving down your shave life will be much better.

Shaving to Avoid Acne (Multi Pass Shave)

You've taken the best step of swapping to a safety razor so you're off to a good start. Now it's time to learn how to shave in a way that will reduce your chances of redness and razor bumps.

Normally the three pass shave goes "with the grain", "across the grain", and "against the grain". Also typically shown as WTG, XTG, and ATG.

To help reduce your chances of acne you're going to have to change it up a little. We don't recommend shaving against the grain if you are prone to shaving issues such as shave acne.

Your going to shave "with the grain", "across the grain", and "across the grain". Also displayed as WTG, XTG, and XTG. Your across the grain shaves are when you shave at a slant to the growth of your facial hair.

Your first XTG pass can be in any cross direction but the second XTG pass should be at the opposite of the first pass. This will help you get a closer shave while reducing your chances of getting shavers acne.

If that's not enough you may want to reduce your shave to only WTG and a single XTG.

Don't Forget Your Post Shave Routine

Your post shave routine is just as important as your pre-shave routine. When you're finishing your shave up you want to clean your face with cool (not warm) water.

Your goal here is to clean any shave residue left over from your shave and to close up your pores. The cold water will close your pores and tighten the skin after the shave so that they don't get clogged with any residue left behind.

Do the Pimples Persist?

If your pimples and shave acne continue after your efforts to change things around you may want to consider visiting your doctor. You may have a more serious issue that changing your routine can't fix. Make sure to give yourself ample opportunity to resolve the issue if it's only happening when you shave.

If it all fails for you then look into retinoid creams which are prescription only. Your doctor will know what your best options are.

Does Shaving Your Face Cause Acne?

So, does shaving your face cause acne? The simple answer is yes it does but with the tips we've given you above your odds of getting rid of acne is very good. Shavers acne (razor bumps) are a common occurrence when we don't know proper shaving techniques or our alternative options.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found some helpful information that can turn your shave acne around. Leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts and if we were able to help you. Thanks for reading!

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