ZocdocAnswersCan a dirty razor give you acne?

Question

Can a dirty razor give you acne?

I use an electric razor but I have had it for years and now I'm getting new pimples on my neck and my face along my jawline. Could it be because my razor is dirty? Does a dirty razor give you acne or pimples?

Answer

I would recommend that you see your primary care doctor or your dermatologist about this issue. Although it would certainly be possible to have a dirty razor that could potentially contribute to an increased chance of infection of the skin, I think it is more likely that the mechanical action of the frequent shaving is the culprit here. For example, chronic ingrown hairs are common in the beard area from shaving. These occur when the hairs curl around and grow back down on themselves, plugging the pores and leading to raised, red painful bumps that can look like acne. Similarly, folliculitis, which is an infection of the hair shafts can similarly lead to a crop of red bumps or pustules which look like acne. Most of the time folliculitis is just related to the mechanical act of irritating the skin with the razor, and not so much because the razor is actually 'dirty'. However, it may be dull, which could increase the risk of developing this problem. In addition to making sure that your razor blades are clean and sharp, talk to your doctor at your earliest convenience, because they can help you figure out if additional treatments are needed for this problem.

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