ZocdocAnswersWhat's the safest way to get rid of facial hair?

Question

What's the safest way to get rid of facial hair?

I'm a guy with very sensitive skin, and I like to stay clean shaven. But every time I shave, I break out with a horrible rash of ingrown hairs, razor bumps, etc. I think it's because I have very coarse hair. Are hair removal creams safe? Is there a better way?

Answer

This is a fairly common problem, especially in those with coarse, curly hair. The medical term for this condition is pseudofollicular barbae. Here are a few tips to prevent your symptoms. First, make sure you always use a clean sharp razor and don't shave against the grain of the hairs. Also, avoid applying any pressure to the razor. Don't use an electric razor as this can exacerbate the problem as it cuts hairs in many different directions. Second, exfoliate your skin with a gentle face scrub to help slough off dead skin cells which contribute to ingrown hairs. Third, after shaving, apply a lotion that contains salicylic acid which will also help pores from clogging. Fourth, try to take a break from shaving whenever you get the chance, such as on the weekend. Also try to avoid stiff collars as these can irritate sensitive skin. Hair removal creams, known as depilatory creams, use chemicals that dissolve the hair shaft. Some people are very sensitive to these so I would recommend testing on a very small section of hair first. Also do not use these when your skin is already irritated as it could potentially make it worse. It is important to see a dermatologist to discuss your condition and treatment. If severe enough, permanent hair removal such as through electrolysis or laser might be warranted.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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