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Shaving And The Perils of Sensitive Skin

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I am a person who is blessed with “Prison Skin,” you know, the occasional breakout. I really thought that by the time I reached my middle 50’s, acne and zits and bad painful shaves would be a distant, unpleasant memory of the past. I have found that I was wrong, especially in light of my new found hobby of traditional wet shaving. I have put the blame on everything that I used, including my razors, my brushes, the soaps and creams, the aftershaves, etc… However, I overlooked something very important – understanding and properly treating my skin type. A whole different kind of face prep, if you will.

Ideal vs. Real, And Preparation

Ideally, every man in his 50’s would love to have the smooth face of a teenager, although not necessarily the face of a teenager with acne and irritated sensitive skin. I really enjoy the great feeling that proper face preparation brings, as well as the comfortable precision shave you get from a good DE razor and blade, but the pain that acne brings to the shave and afterwards takes a bit of the joy from it. So, instead of despairing and turning my back on traditional wet shaving, I went on a learning journey.

Bad skin conditions are not always caused by shaving, but shaving can aggravate it if the things you use are not right for your skin type. The brand of face wash you prep your skin with, the razors and blades you use, the soaps, oils and creams, and the after shaves all play a role in keeping your face clean, but they can also play a role in keeping your face irritated as well if what you are using is not right for your skin type. Of course, as I am wont to do, I learned the hard way. The upside to all of this is that I have accumulated a great razor, blade, cream, soap and shaving mug collection, but I still suffer, at 56 years old, from irritated sensitive skin from time to time. Other people who use the exact same products that I do didn’t seem to be having the same problems that I had.  So,  my journey began to take me away from the articles of wet shaving to the question of understanding my skin type.

Similarities not withstanding, just as in our DNA, we all have slightly different skin types that respond differently to the tools of wet shaving. What works well for you may not work well for me. You have to spend some time and money and effort  to find the items that work best with YOUR skin type. This can be pleasant and frustrating at the same time as well as expensive. But there is another thing you can do if you battle skin irritations.

You Might Need To Consider…

You CAN still enjoy the hobby of traditional wet shaving to the max as well as enjoy your search for the right razors, blades, soaps, creams, face washes and aftershaves, but you may also want to consider visiting a good dermatologist. These people specialize in skin conditions, and they can help you get your skin into great shape so you can really enjoy all the benefits of traditional wet shaving without any additional pain and frustration from acne and other skin ailments. It would be ideal if you could find a dermatologist who also happens to be a traditional wet shaving enthusiast as well. He would be more sympathetic to both correcting your skin problems as well as expanding your traditional wet shaving hobby. The best of both worlds, eh? I think so.

Dermatologists can do tests to help determine what type of skin you have and he or she can recommend treatments and prescriptions that you can use, many times in tandem with your favorite shaving products, to correct any skin problems you may have. In my case, the dermatologist prescribed Tetracycline Hydrochloride.  I took this as prescribed and within 2-3 weeks, I saw my skin begin to clear up and and smooth out and it actually made my daily shave a joy instead of a dreaded chore. Another triumph of combining science, medicine and art. Shaving is becoming a “pleasurable hobby” again. And my customers and friends are noticing the difference, too.

In addition to seeing a dermatologist, you can also go to You Tube and see all kinds of great videos on traditional wet shaving, including the different razors and blades that are available, different reviews on shaving soaps and cremes, brushes, hot towel treatments….the list is getting bigger everyday. My passion for all of this began with a guy named Mantic59 in 2006. I wish his videos had been around in 1982 when I went to Basic Training in the Army. Better late than never. Different skin types are also discussed in these videos as well.

We spend a lot of time and money on all the things that make up the proper wet shaving gear. It is a hobby as well as a daily necessity. You should not wake up everyday dreading your next shave, you should be looking forward to it. And your face should not look like an 18 hole golf course when you are finished shaving. After all, you visit the gym to get the rest of your body in good shape, right? Visit your dermatologist and get your face and skin in good shape so you can really enjoy the look and feel of traditional wet shaving. You will be saving face in more ways than one.

About the author:
Joe Hartka has been enthusiastic about traditional wet shaving since accidentally finding his father’s old Gillette Adjustable Double Edge Razor sitting in his family’s medicine cabinet back in 1980. Having been a Gillette Trac II user since the mid 1970’s, Joe soon discovered (the hard way) that the DE razor shave was very different than when he used a cartridge razor. It wasn’t until 2006, however, while checking out You Tube videos, that Joe discovered Mantic59’s excellent early videos on the “hobby” of traditional wet shaving as well as proper face prep and shaving techniques. Joe had no idea that so many men were traditional wet shaving enthusiasts and were also collectors of the DE razors, blades and accessories as Joe had been since the early 80’s and that he was not alone. Joe is happily married to his wife Karen, lives in Parkville , MD and has been working in the Alarm Industry since 1992.

Joe Hartka

Joe Hartka