Single-blade razors are the best option if you have sensitive skin.

Shaving Tips for Sensitive Skin

by Jennifer Blair

Whether you shave your legs and underarms every morning or every few days, shaving can be a tedious task. If you have sensitive skin, it can be even more of a challenge to avoid razor burn and bumps every time you pick up a blade. A few small tweaks to your shaving routine can help protect your sensitive skin, so you're smooth and irritation-free whenever it's time to remove some excess hair.

1. Prepare Skin

Before you pick up a razor, prepare your skin and hair to ensure a smooth shave. To prevent irritation, wet the skin on your legs and underarms for at least two minutes before you shave. If you try to shave when the skin is dry, you may experience chaffing or irritation as the razor drags across the rough surface. Use warm water to dampen your legs and underarms – it helps raise and soften the hairs so they’re more pliable and easier to cut. Your skin shouldn’t be soaked, however, or the skin around the hair follicles may swell up, preventing a close shave. That means you should avoid shaving while taking a bath.

2. Watch Ingredients

To get a close, irritation-free shave, lubricate your skin so the razor doesn’t drag. Look for shaving creams, foams and gels that are formulated for sensitive skin. Check the ingredients carefully, and avoid any products that contain artificial fragrances, alcohol, peppermint or menthol. These can cause rashes and ingrown hairs. If you can’t find a shaving cream or gel that’s free of irritating ingredients, use a fragrance-free body wash or hair conditioner to lubricate your legs and underarms for shaving. Don’t use bar soap, though – it’s too drying and can cause the razor to skip on the skin.

3. Choose the Right Razor

Use the right razor to prevent shaving irritation on your legs and underarms. Whether you prefer disposable razors or those with replaceable blades, choose an option with a single blade. Razors with multiple blades can give you a closer shave, but that's actually a problem for sensitive skin, because cutting the hair so close to the skin can cause irritation. Once you find a razor that works for your skin, remember to change the blades frequently. When a razor’s blades are dull, you must apply more pressure to effectively remove the hair, which can lead to rashes and bumps. Replace your razor or blade after every five uses.

4. Shave in the Right Direction

You get the closest shave when you shave against the direction of hair growth. However, that can irritate sensitive skin and cause bumps and razor burn. In sensitive areas, shave in the direction of hair growth to minimize irritation, and avoid shaving the same area more than once. When you’re moving the razor over your legs and underarms, use smooth, even strokes without applying too much pressure to keep your skin smooth and irritation-free.

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