How to Prevent Skin Darkening After Shaving: 7 Proven Tips

Let’s clear one thing in the first place: Shaving is only partially to blame for darkened skin. Logically speaking, hundreds of millions of people shave every day, and are you sure everyone ends up with dark spots? Not really.

The mere act of shaving doesn’t cause skin darkening; it’s ‘how’ you shave that’s the key. Changing up your shaving routine may help you combat those pesky spots. That’s not to say you have to do a drastic overhaul – in most cases; just a few little tweaks can make a big difference!

This includes pre-, during, and post-shaving preps, which involve using and replacing certain products and strategies. So stay tuned and learn:

  1. What are hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation(aka darkening of the skin)
  2. Does shaving cause dark spots, and why?
  3. Tips and tools to prevent post-shaving dark spots and;
  4. The most important queries are cleared out at the end of the article.

So, first things first –

Understanding Hyperpigmentation and Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

‘Hyper’ refers to ‘more,’ and ‘pigment’ means ‘color.’ The combination refers to a condition in which some areas of skin appear darker than others. The condition can appear as black, brown, gray, pink, or red spots or patches.

Hyperpigmentation is an increase in melanin, a protein that gives our skin, hair, and eyes their color. Various factors cause the body to produce melanin in some skin regions, such as sun exposure, hormonal influences, and age. Moreover, any injury or abrasion to the skin, such as acne, scrapes, cuts, ingrown hair, etc., also leads to it, which we specifically call ‘post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.’

Now, let’s prove what we claimed in the beginning:

Can Shaving Cause Hyperpigmentation?

Yes, it can. We confess. But it’s just partially involved in the crime – chances are it’s you being the second crime partner!

Do you remember the abrasions-to-the-skin thing above? If yes, bear in mind that shaving can be quite abrasive to the skin. After all, you’re gliding sharp blades back and forth on your skin.

When you shave aggressively, i.e., repeatedly rubbing and scraping your skin with the razor’s blades, That can lead to irritation after each shave. FYI, irritation and inflammation go hand-in-hand regarding shaving, especially the intimate parts (ahem) of your body. On feeling irritation, your body activates its immunity and healing processes (triggers melanocytes to start producing melanin) as with any other injury.

You get razor bumps caused by stretching of nasty ingrown hair. You may end up with a cut or two. On the other hand, you might have scratched that acne bump. Whatever has happened, it’ll trigger melanin production, leaving you with dark spots.

Now, if you somehow have those spots, you might be thinking:

How Long Does Hyperpigmentation From Shaving Last?

Darkened spots from shaving, without any treatment, can last a minimum of three months and take two years to fade. However, even after they fade either themselves or as a result of specific treatment, they won’t disappear completely.

No one wants to wait that long. Right? Well, prevention is better than cure. So, this leads us to the following:

How to Prevent/Avoid Skin Darkening After Shaving?

Whether you scroll down for the details or not, the first ‘don’t’ we advise in avoiding hyperpigmentation post-shaving is steering clear of products in your shaving routine that have alcohol in them. The “acetaldehyde” (alcohol gets broken down to) produces reactive free radicals and damages DNA, leading to the breakdown of collagen fibers, skin inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles. So instead, the best ones to select are those with moisturizing plant-based ingredients like avocado oil or shea butter.

Also, keep your skin moisturized before and after using a standard razor or an electric shaver.

Now is the time for the tweaks!

1. Never Forget Cleansing Beforehand

The timespan between your two shaves is enough to let all the dirt and skin oil dwell on your scalp. And this grime, when it seeps inside your skin, makes it rougher and sometimes causes rashes there. Shaving without removing that buildup leads to skin infection and swelling, further opening the doors for PIH.

As a pro tip, we recommend using warm water for cleansing. Warm water opens up skin pores, allowing the mess to run away quickly and making your skin softer. When your skin is softer, you’ll get a smoother shave without worrying about cuts or rubbing-driven rashes/redness.

Caution: Since cleansing itself and warm water make your skin sensitive, avoid rubbing your razor harshly or over and over again to prevent razor burns.

2. Must Apply Shaving Gel or Cream

If you’re a fan of dry shaving, it isn’t bad if done using an electric razor. But using a regular razor, regardless of high quality, means risking cuts, scrapes, and stretching out ingrown hair.

So always apply a high-quality shaving gel or cream to ensure a softer and smoother surface for your regular razor.

3. Check On Your Razor and How You Use It

The sharp and clean razor is one of the keys to preventing skin darkening after shaving.

A rusty razor and one clustered with shaving leftovers don’t remove hair easily, causing rashes and possibly severe cuts and scrapes. PIH was waiting for you!

You also need to keep in mind some other tips on how to handle your razor correctly.

  • Prefer a long-lasting, high-quality, sharp, hypoallergenic Branded Razor that inhibits the hassle of buying a new one every day.
  • Keep the razor as wet as possible and reapply the gel/cream if the razor seems hard to slide.
  • Replace your blades or throw away disposable razors after 3-4 shaves to minimize irritation and ingrown hair.
  • Rinse the razor thoroughly, dry it, and store it properly. Ensure the razor dries completely to prevent rusting and bacteria from growing.

If you use electric razors, apply an alcohol-free pre-electric shave product.

4. Shave With the Grain, Not Against

One of the most critical steps to preventing razor bumps and burns and, thereby, PIH is to shave in the direction the hair grows. This is especially true for intimate areas. Though shaving against the grain undoubtedly can give you a closer shave, this can take with it some degree of pain, irritation, and razor burn.

We just found what Farzad Salehi, barber, and owner of Farzad’s Barber Shop in Vancouver, British Columbia, comments in this regard:

“Nothing happens to the hair if you shave against the grain. Instead, it is the skin that gets the irritation and, in some cases, razor burn,” Salehi says.

If you’re not prone to ingrown hairs or don’t have skin that’s easily irritated, then you’re one of the lucky “some faces” Salehi is referring to.

Also Read: How to Tan With Fair Skin and Freckles?

5. Rinse It With Cold Water

Here, we’re talking about the cold water you take out of your freezer! Of course, it won’t be anything likable – and affordable – on a cold winter day. Still, it’s super beneficial when preventing hyperpigmentation.

The cold water will help close open pores and stop any nicks you might have picked up. And believe us, after you’re done splashing, you’ll feel a tremendous calmness on your shaved skin.

6. Exfoliate Once A Week

You can’t rely on a mere cleansing before each shave. Instead, exfoliation at least once a week is crucial for breaking up bacteria, dirt, and sweat from the clogged hair follicles. So the clearer your skin underneath the hair, the less the chances of any damage and thereby PIH!

Though a chemical-based exfoliating formula can get the job done, it’s always advisable to use a plant-based product like Malie Organics’ All Natural Exfoliating Organic Body Polish that gently removes dead skin cells and reveals a new layer of beautiful, radiant skin.

To achieve the best result, dampen the skin and massage in a circular motion to exfoliate as the natural oils replenish moisture. Rinse well with warm water. Use body polish to reveal brighter, smoother skin that will keep you hydrated long after you leave the shower.

7. Apply A Dark Spot Treatment Oil After Shaving

To make all the above strategies and routines work well, you must erase even a single chance of hyperpigmentation from its root. Only a dark spots treatment lotion can get the job done.

Remember that your skin has turned very sensitive post-shaving, so only some lotions will work effectively. Also, the more chemicals the treatment contains, the more risk of skin reactions you’ll increase. So, opt for a dark spot treatment oil that contains natural plant-derived ingredients and suits all skin types, including oily and sensitive.

Final Thought

That was a brief yet comprehensive idea about how to avoid skin darkening after shaving. Sticking to the newly adapted routine is the key to seeing the desired results. However, if you somehow end up with a few darkened spots (which we think isn’t going to happen from now on), here’s another scoop to fade those nasty patches. Applying vitamin C serum on the darkened area is shown to fade dark spots and exfoliate dry, dead, and dull cells off the top layer of your skin. Plus, it promotes the healthy, rapid healing of wounds. Now, everything’s at your fingertips – we wish you a happy shaving all the time!

Related Questions

Is it Safe to Shave?

No matter which area of the body you shave, it should be safe as long as you do it right. Also, some areas require more care and different shaving techniques than others. Still, the rule is that the gentler and more careful you are with your body, the better each shaving session will become.

Also Read: How to Wash Hair After Microblading?

Should I Shave Up or Down?

You must focus on shaving with the grain, regardless of whether it’s upwards or down. Shaving against the grain will cause razor burns and ingrown hair. In most people, the built-in grain direction is downwards, so you should shave down. However, if you aren’t sure about your grain direction, you must first identify it and proceed with shaving.

Does Shaving Make Your Hair Grow Back Thicker?

It’s a common myth that shaving your hair makes it grow back thicker or faster. What shaving does is that it gives your hair a blunt tip. This tip might feel coarse or stubbly during its initial growth period. So hair appears darker and thicker as it becomes more noticeable or stubbly.

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