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Does Shaving Cause Acne?

Last Updated on November 30, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

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Does Shaving Cause Acne?

No matter your age we’ve all had acne and pimples. They’re irritating and can really affect your mood so knowing what causes breakouts and how to prevent them is something we’d all like to know.

Pimples are a result of a clogged pore and are created from a mixture of sebum oil and bacteria that forms a white head or a black head.

Shaving is something we all have to do and regularly so doing it right is worth your time as the side effects can be pretty irritating. 

Shaving doesn’t cause acne but it can certainly make acne worse and lead to breakouts of pimples if done incorrectly.

Well, we’re going to discuss some ways of preventing these breakouts and some shaving tips so you can get a more comfortable, clean, and most importantly, pimple-free shave. 

Causes Of Shaving Acne

Razor Type – Cartridge razors and disposable razors have a multi-blade head. This head design causes more razor blades to be in contact with your skin with each pass. Additionally, the increased number of razor blades cuts the hair lower which can be a risk as hair cut too low can allow debris to become trapped in the pores.

Over Applying Pressure – You don’t need to press too hard when shaving even though it may not feel like you’re cutting the hair. If you do push too hard then it may irritate your skin and cut the hair too low.  Try to let the weight of the razor do the cutting for you and if there isn’t any hair being removed then you may need to replace your razor as the blade is most likely clogged or blunt.

Dry Skin – Shaving and some shaving products will dry out your skin.  Dry skin may cause excess oil production which in turn leads to more pimples. Use an aftershave balm or face lotion after you shave to moisturize your skin.

Shaving With The Grain – The razor should always be passed with the grain, especially when using a cartridge razor. Going across or against the grain may cause acne due to the hair being cut too low and becoming infected. While you can cut against the grain you should only do this after having used a manual razor for a while as it can require a little more experience and knowing what works with your skin.

Improper Skin Cleaning – Always wash or exfoliate the area prior to shaving. This will remove both dead skin cells and bacteria from the surface.

Allergic Reaction – Some shaving products contain ingredients that may irritate your skin. Consider trying a new product that relies on a different set of ingredients that are natural and non-toxic.

Shaving Brush Stand – If using a shaving brush, make sure that it is stored bristle side down on a stand. This ensures that all moisture is removed from the brush knot, reducing both bacteria and mold from growing.

Shave Frequency – Shaving is a stressful event for your skin. Frequent shaving may cause an overproduction of oil. If possible, take a day or two off between shaves, especially if you have acne or your pimples are especially aggressive one day.

Post-Shave Tips

  1. Moisturize – Create a moisture barrier for your skin by using aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, or your lotion of choice.
  2. Aftershave – If you have some handy, use aftershave but be careful as some can irritate your skin.
  3. Healing – Tend to any nicks or cuts to your body by using a healing ointment like bacitracin or neomycin and covering with a protective bandage.
  4. Shaving Cream – When you shave next, make sure that you have shaving cream available before you get started.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why does shaving give me acne?

We know this condition by the more common term “razor bumps.” The cause of this is, ironically, shaving. When the hair is shaved close, it can cause the hair to grow into the skin rather than up out of the pore as it normally does. These ingrown hairs can look rather like acne, and can sometimes be mistaken for acne.

Is shaving every day bad for acne?

The formation of acne, which is the result of blockages in follicles, can be made much worse when skin is left oily and clogged with dead skin cells. So, be sure to leave enough time each day to shave, especially after a shower when the skin is less sensitive.

Does removing hair help the face from acne?

The short answer is: Yes! Acne is caused by a variety of factors, including acne bacterium, oily skin, ingrown hairs, and many other conditions. By removing the hair, you can substantially reduce the presence of acne on the face and body. Many clients report a significant improvement.

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