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7 Healthy Lifestyle Choices for the Shaving Enthusiast

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Despite much mythology in the beauty and cosmetic business, good science and evidence-based conclusions suggest that the general guidelines for healthy skin and healthy shaving are the same as those for general health:


  1. Drink adequate fluids
  2. Eat a wholesome, varied, balanced diet
  3. Get adequate rest and sleep
  4. Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week
  5. One moderate alcoholic beverage per day is probably beneficial
  6. Avoid excesses of food, sunshine, alcohol intake
  7. Don’t smoke

Let’s briefly look at those recommendations in more detail to better understand them.


Adequate hydration is important for skin health as well as general health. There is a common myth that one should drink 64 ounces of water a day, but this isn’t necessarily so. All water-based beverages contain water (duh!), and even many foods contain water. For example, beef is roughly 60% water. It’s true, though, that some beverages are more hydrating than others. For example, alcohol causes the body to lose water, so alcoholic drinks aren’t a great source of hydration. Caffeinated drinks are reputed to cause a body to lose more water than they provide, but that isn’t generally true. Coffee, for example, hydrates, but not as much as pure water. A fully hydrated person produces urine the color of lemon juice, which is a very pale yellow, almost clear.


A wholesome, varied, balanced diet has the following key characteristics:
An abundance of fruits, nuts, and vegetables in all colors of the rainbow. Fruits and veggies are not only our main source of key vitamins and minerals. They are also the unique source of phytochemicals, which are compounds present in small amounts that play a key role in maintaining health even though there are no specific daily requirements established by the nutrition community. Phytochemicals are generally acknowledged to perform this function.  For example, olive oil in one’s diet has the reputation for promoting health. But in fact, pure olive oil is known for being health neutral. Virgin and extra-virgin olive oil are actually healthy, not because of their oil, but because of the phytochemicals that are present along with the pure olive oil.  Different colored foods contain different beneficial phytochemicals, which is why the recommendation is to eat varied plant foods in literally every color of the rainbow!  Adequate and varied fruit and vegetable intake will provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids, and fiber.
Antioxidants such as selenium, vitamins C and E, and others are best gotten from food. Supplements are not as well absorbed and also bring the risk of excessive intake. Keep in mind that antioxidants taken in large quantity become prooxidants, which is not a good thing. (Virtually every nutrient is dose dependent – even water! Though essential for life and health, if you drink four or five gallons of water in a day, you will die!) If you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables every day, one multi-vitamin-multi-mineral supplement every other day or so is probably a reasonable idea, although remember that you can’t get phytochemicals from a pill.
Another reason for a nutritious diet is vitamin K, a needed factor for blood clotting, which can on occasion be of interest to someone who shaves. A balanced and varied diet will tend to encourage adequate vitamin K reserves in the body.
An appropriate balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Fat has gotten a bad rap in the popular press. A little fat in your meals slows the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, which can actually lower your overall daily calorie consumption. The best fats to consume are polyunsaturated. Nuts – especially walnuts and canola oil are two examples of foods with healthy fats that can be consumed in moderation. Most Americans eat too much protein – more than necessary, anyway – and would be well advised to substitute plant-based foods including whole-grain foods.


Sleep is important too. Most of us need more rest, which would improve our overall health as well as our skin health. If you can’t sleep for eight hours at night, try to cultivate the habit of a nap break in your day.

Physical Activity

Physical activity helps keep us minimally fit to perform the activities of daily living. It also helps our circulatory system function well so the necessary nutrients can find their way to our tissues (including our skin), and so waste products can be removed before they do harm. Physical activity doesn’t have to be exercise. Yardwork, household chores, or fun activities such as hiking, biking, tennis, walking, skating, etc. – these all qualify as beneficial physical activity.


Very light alcohol consumption can also be healthy. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, promoting better circulation. If you take your alcohol in the form of red wine, you also get a chemical called resveritrol, which seems to help reverse to some extent the effects of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Bear in mind, however, that like everything else, more isn’t better. Women who have more than one moderate alcoholic beverage per day are doing more harm to themselves than good. Likewise, men, depending on their size, are advised to limit alcoholic beverages to one or two per day.

Avoid Excess

Too much sunshine will damage your skin; that is a fact. Wrinkles and skin cancer are two of the common risks. Yet a little sunshine, say 15 minutes, several days each week provides valuable vitamin D, which is beneficial in many ways including reducing some cancer risks and promoting healthier bones. A vitamin D supplement is the general exception to the food-only rule because we get very little vitamin D from food. However, milk is an example of food supplemented with vitamin D. Like all things, however, more isn’t always better; so don’t go crazy with D supplementation either.


Finally, smoking tobacco can be very hard on your skin. Smoke tends to be a vasoconstrictor, which limits blood circulation and thereby promotes poor tissue nutrition, hydration, and waste elimination – the net result being unhealthy, wrinkled skin.
Moderation, healthy variety, and balance are the key concepts for a lifestyle to take care of your skin as well as the rest of you.
Doug Hansford is a registered dietitian-nutritionist, who writes a blog on shaving at
Copyright 2014 by Douglas N. Hansford

Doug Hansford

Doug Hansford


10 thoughts on “7 Healthy Lifestyle Choices for the Shaving Enthusiast”

  1. FYI, the latest systematic reviews around Reservitrol seem to lean towards it showing no benefit, but also no harm (so while I don’t know that I would encourage the glass of red wine, it certainly shouldn’t discourage it…).
    I eat semi-gluten free, because my wife is celiac, so when we eat at home everything I make is gluten free, but we still do other whole grains that don’t contain gluten…
    And yes, Sugar is the worst culprit in North America, Carbophobia is up there as well. Our bodies are not meant to use protein as a primary energy source, because of the bi-products of it’s breakdown (too much protein breakdown can actually change the internal pH in a bad way, causing problems with chemical reactions in the body).
    The most important thing people can do is care. Most wet shavers have already started down this route, they aren’t using mindless mach13s, and canned goo, because they care about their faces and are using systems that make more sense, are better for their skin, and is more enjoyable. The same goes with food, care about where it comes from, what is in it… I try to avoid most processed stuff (the food equivalent of your canned shaving goo), try to get natural grass fed meats, organic vegetables, etc. First of all, the quality of the input is better for your body, and most importantly it just tastes better. I couldn’t go back to eating supermarket meat, because you have to over season it and cook the bejesus out of it, whereas a good quality steak with a little salt and pepper speaks for itself…

    1. AdamE: You raise some good points. Yes, there have been conflicting studies on resveritrol; this is common with nutrition research. For example, for 50 years it has been thought that saturated fatty acids (SFA) were the culprit in heart disease, and we now better understand that SFA is rather benign (and sugar and other processed carbs may be a culprit). So regarding resveritrol, if one is going to take an alcoholic beverage, red wine may be better, or not, but little harm in trying as you suggest.
      The fact that protein is slightly acidic is a relatively minor issue; acid-base balance is more of a concern for persons consuming large amounts of cola, which has phosphoric acid, and is more likely to diminish calcium deposits in bones (are you paying attention, ladies, because you are at greatest risk for osteoporosis — especially if you are trim and lean, unfortunately).

  2. P.S. guess I better clarify, I merely meant just be sure and include, a little at least, a salad and eat in moderation not excess and yes – have that delicious, barbequed cheeseburger in paradise burger now and then!!

  3. Ok. I don’t have an ms rd or advanced degree in nutrition but over the last 30 years I’ve read a very considerable library of information. I ran for 20 years and continued reading much about nutrition from sports scientists and specialists from major universities and such. I’m not the expert but I’ve come to see over the years one myth after another, diet fads, and unsubstantiated and exagerated theories. It’s true that Americans eat a substantial amount of protein, but like the author stated, it’s BALANCE. GOOD fats are the key but fat intake in moderation, for athletes 30% of their total diet. For most people protein intake should be around .8grams per kilogram of body weight, and for athletes it should be 1.2-1.7g/1kg. And complex carbs btw are not only NOT the enemy, and yes for diabetics even though yes, they obviously have to watch their sugar intakes, but COMPLEX carbs are ESSENTIAL for our energy needs. Like Mark said, the author didn’t say dump meat but to focus more on vegetables and fruits. Blueberries are JP5 for us (like jet propulsion fuel). We’re just too worried about having to eat rabbit food all the time. Not to worry!! A good little salad with variety and a few berries and a banana now and then and have that (thanks Jimmy Buffet!!) cheeseburger with the works now and then. Read anything from Human Kinetics Press, notably Dr. Dan Bernardot, or Nancy Clark. They speak intelligently and down to earth. The trouble is all the hyped up political correct Hollywood fad crap of do’s and don’ts that sends dieters right back to the junk food they’re trying to escape from in the first place. If it’s extreme, drama or from Hollywood, drop it. Smart nutrition and exercise. Uh oh, exercise another evil word. Exercise is another issue altogether, it’s not only NOT that difficult it’s a blast!! People think they have to train for a marathon to be healthy, not so. A few pushups and a few steps in place is worthwhile. BTW I love running, so I’m not blasting marathoning. Eat smart, exercise at least a little, and laugh heartily. And a great shave in the morning starts the day off PERFECTLY!!

  4. Canola oil – no
    Whole Grains – no
    Substitute meat for plant-based protein – Absolutely no
    “Most Americans eat too much protein” – Too much sugar is worse than too much protein, so why hone in on protein while ignoring the real danger?

    1. “No” to whole grains?? Please give your reasoning. And I think you read the protein bit wrong: it’s the other way around.

    2. Mantor.Me: It is true that for most, too much protein is better than too much sugar; but too much is… too much! Not sure what you mean by no to canola oil and whole grains; I suppose some are leery of canola oil being genetically-modified rapeseed oil, but canola is rich in essential fatty acids, is heat tolerant for high-heat cooking, isn’t terribly expensive or hard to get, and there is NO evidence of it being anything but salubrious in appropriate moderation.

      1. BTW, regarding protein, my point wasn’t really that excessive protein is generally bad in and of itself, but rather that the average diet would be healthier if we traded some of that excessive protein intake for more and varied fruits and veggies. It is likely that the odds of avoiding chronic diseases like cancer among others can be improved if we make that trade off to intake more fiber and phytochemicals.

    3. Mantor.Me: By no to whole grains, does that reflect a concern about gluten intolerance? If so, gluten-free diets have become a fad that is not necessary for most — only those who are genuinely gluten intolerant. When others eliminate gluten from their diet, they are also losing important sources of dietary fiber, B-family vitamins, inexpensive energy, and other nutrients.

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