Picture the scene: you start the day ­with a wet shave, brimming with confidence as you clear away those morning bristles.

James Bond, eat your heart out.

However, that confidence is quickly extinguished by the appearance of an unsightly facial rash that’s less 007 and more double-oh-damn.

It looks and feels like acne, but can it really be? What causes the spots than occasionally appear after shaving and what can you do about them?

The science behind it

Firstly, you are most likely not suffering from acne. While the spots after shaving may look like acne, they are likely to be the result of a condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae, which is caused by curly hairs getting stuck inside the hair follicles.

“Instead of growing straight out of the follicle, the hair meets resistance from dead skin at more steeply angled pore openings, and curls back around inside the pore,” explains Dr Cynthia Abbott, a dermatologist based in Atlanta, Georgia. “This causes inflamed, painful, red bumps.”

What to do about it

The key is in your preparation and technique. Rather than shaving being a cause of rashes and bumps, it can actually be a great way to proactively care for skin when done properly.

Here are our five top tips for preventing spots when you shave:

  1. In between shaves, use a good exfoliator to clear away any dead skin cells: But don’t go overboard. “If you are scrubbing your skin regularly in addition to shaving (especially if you’re using a gritty scrub or pressing hard), you could be overdoing it,” warns Jeni Sykes, head of skincare at Heyday. “And your skin is far more likely to break out.”
  2. Use a shave gel designed for sensitive skin: Dorco’s Shave Gel contains hydrating aloe vera, glycerin and betaine which work together to organically soothe your skin.
  3. Shave in the direction of your hair growth. It’s tempting to go against the grain in order to get a close, quick shave – but you increase the risk of spots and irritation after shaving.
  4. Choose a quality razor: “Single-blade disposables are likelier to drag against the skin," explains cosmetic dermatologist Neal Schultz, M.D. Select any one of Dorco’s multi-bladed options, and you are guaranteed outstanding performance – just what you need to keep your skin in tip-top condition.
  5. Regularly change your blade cartridge: Blunt blades not only deliver a sub-standard shave, they can also cause razor burn and harbour bacteria. Dorco’s subscription service removes the inconvenience of remembering to stock up on blades. Click here to build your personalised subscription.