When you know how to exfoliate properly, magical things can happen. Blemishes may vanish, the skin starts to emit a bright glow, and shaving becomes a whole lot easier. Exfoliation can help you achieve the smoothest shave possible, regardless of whether you shave your face, legs, arms, or armpits. Now, should you exfoliate before or after shaving for best results?
According to many dermatologists, the best way to achieve smooth, razor bump-free skin is to exfoliate before shaving. It’s quite possible that exfoliating post-shave may cause a burning sensation on the skin. This, however, depends on the type of exfoliant you use, as many typical ones can irritate the skin. It’s best to avoid scrubs or exfoliants that have harmful chemicals, so as not to contaminate the skin while cleansing it.
What Is Exfoliation?
Exfoliation works to slough away dead skin cells, unclog pores, even skin tone, and remove general debris. Regular exfoliation may also increase circulation to the skin’s surface and even stimulate the production of collagen. The type of exfoliating you do will depend on where you exfoliate. The skin on the face, for example, is much more sensitive than the skin on the legs. A more mild technique (gentle circles) may be necessary for the face, as opposed to the legs, on which you can use a loofa or wash cloth.
Why Is Exfoliation Important For Shaving?
Shaving, in and of itself, if a form of exfoliation, but it can lead to unwanted razor burn. While this has to do with shaving technique, exfoliating prior to shaving may reduce the likelihood of razor bumps. Physical exfoliants tend to have a mildly abrasive texture that helps to remove bacteria, dirt, and dead skin cells. Gentle exfoliation is the key because that can help free the edges of hairs that may be trapped under the skin.
When you remove dead skin cells, you prep the skin for a close shave. The exfoliation process also helps the hairs stand up, ensuring that the razor shaves them cleanly without pulling. If the razor has to work hard to pull hairs, you may experience cuts or tears in the skin. Depending on the area that you want to shave, exfoliating may loosen ingrown hairs, contributing to a more effective shave.
Exfoliating The Legs
Not only is the skin less sensitive on the legs than it is on the face, but there is also more surface area. Using a gentle exfoliant may not be necessary, and it may cause you to use all of it during one session. Before you shave your legs, it’s best to exfoliate them with a sugar scrub, which you can easily make or purchase in stores. Exfoliating the legs prior to shaving helps the razor glide smoothly across the skin’s surface. This yields a much smoother shave and may reduce the chances of ingrown hairs developing.
Exfoliating After Shaving
This probably isn’t the best idea, primarily because freshly shaven skin can be very sensitive, sometimes cut in certain places. Exfoliating after shaving may cause a burning sensation and irritation, which will only increase redness. Instead of exfoliating after shaving, you simply rinse the area, pat dry, and feel your softer skin. After drying the skin, it can also help to apply a moisturizer. The reason you want to apply a moisturizer after rinsing the skin or showering is to help lock in that moisture the skin just absorbed. This reduces the chances of dryness later on in the day.
What About Waxing?
Waxing and shaving are completely different, and the same exfoliation rules don’t apply to waxing. Experts say that the last thing you want to do is exfoliate right before waxing. The skin barrier needs to be intact in order to reduce the risk of irritation or burning from waxing. It is, however, beneficial to exfoliate the areas you plan to wax, just not right before you yank those hairs out. Exfoliating encourages hairs out of the follicles as they grow, making it easier for the wax to adhere to them.