How to Prevent Irritation When Shaving Your Head

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With celebrities like Jason Statham and Ross Kemp embracing a bald crown, the no-hair trend is here to stay. But before trying this style on your own cranium, you need a game plan. A shaved head may be the ultimate low-maintenance hair style, but it does require some basic prep and the right technique to achieve a close shave. Skip these steps, and you can expect razor bumps, skin irritation and ingrown hairs.

Start With the Basic Prep Work

Before shaving your head for the first time, start with a long shower to soften the hair. Then begin with a trim. Use a set of hair clippers to cut your hair so it's approximately one centimetre long.

If you don't have a shaving mirror with an adjustable arm, invest in one. That way, you'll be able to see the back of your head easily. You'll also be able to avoid shaving the same area twice, which is akey cause of general skin irritation.

Don't own a set of clippers? Consider going to a barber for your first shave. That way, you'll only need to shave regularly to maintain your new look.

Establish Your Regular Shaving Routine

Prior to every shave, take a hot shower and then cover your scalp with a shaving cream or shaving oil. Wait about five minutes to let the hair soften fully.

Shave with a sharp razor that has at least three blades. Start with the front of your head, and shave with the grain of the hair. Apply very little pressure when shaving, and let the blade do the work. Rinse the razor after every stroke.

Create an orderly pattern when shaving to avoid shaving over the same spot twice. Save shaving the back of your head for last because that area tends to have the coarsest and thickest hair. Don't stretch the skin, which can cause ingrown hairs. However, look down when shaving the back of your neck to get an even shave.

Now examine your head carefully. If you want a closer shave, you can repeat this process, except this time you should shave against the grain of the hair. However, if you have curly hair, coarse hair or sensitive skin, you greatly increase the risk that you'll cause ingrown hairs if you shave again.

Finish With Some Shaving Aftercare

Once you're done shaving, splash some cold water on your scalp and gently towel the area dry. Use an alcohol-free aftershave balm or lotion to soothe the scalp. Also plan on moisturising your scalp regularly. Look for a moisturiser with SPF unless you want a freckled head.

On the days you're not shaving your head, use an exfoliating face wash on your scalp to prevent ingrown hairs. Look for something with chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic or salicylic acid, to increase skin cell turnover. After your scalp is clean, apply your moisturiser to protect the newly exposed skin.

Address Persistent Skin Irritation

Some minor scalp irritation is common after your first shave. To prevent aggravating your skin, wait a few days before shaving again, but make sure to moisturise and wash the scalp daily. Most men wait one to three days between shaving sessions.

However, if you follow these tips but still end up with regular razor bumps, you may want to visit a dermatologist. Depending on the cause of your scalp woes, the dermatologist could prescribe a retinoid for better exfoliation or a hydrocortisone to minimise existing irritation. Sometimes a topical antibiotic is necessary to eliminate acne-causing bacteria from the scalp.

Shaving your head means you'll never need to use conditioner again, but don't mistake low maintenance for no maintenance. Give your scalp the same level of care as your face, and you'll have a spot-free scalp that's worthy of leading-man status.


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