If you’ve read part one of this blog post all about teenage boys and acne, you’ll know that skincare advice for young men is thin on the ground!
Most advice online is posted by specific companies, trying to sell you their products with very few unbiased (and quite frankly helpful) suggestions. And while not every boy will suffer with spots, breakouts or oily skin, almost every teenage boy will have to deal with shaving at some point.
In the second part of this blog post, I’ll be looking at issues related to shaving, and I’ll also give you a quick round up how to help sensitive skin, with a focus on choosing an appropriate moisturiser.
Shaving advice for teenage boys
Electric or manual razor?
The first decision to make is whether to advise your son to use an electric or manual razor.
Electric razors tend to be more gentle as they don’t shave quite so close to the skin. However, they’re not that helpful if your son has to shave often or his hair is quite dark.
Manual razors are great if used correctly, allowing precision and accuracy. If you’re concerned at all you can get one with a skin guard or safety grill to minimise the chance of cuts and nicks to the skin.
Also try using a manual razor with two or three blades as this usually means a closer, more precise shave. I believe you can now get up to five or six blades in a men’s razor, although that might be overkill!
Helpful tips while shaving
I would always recommend a teenager start shaving after a shower as the skin will have been softened by the warm water.
I’d also suggest using shaving foam rather than oil at least to start with. This is because it’s easier to see where you’ve shaved so you’re less likely to go over the same area more than once. Many shaving foams contain menthol which feel refreshing but can be too strong for particularly sensitive skins.
Remind your son to start slowly. Rushing is pretty much the main reason boys have problems with shaving! Shave in the direction of the hair growth, and take it in sections to get into a good routine.
Try to remind your son to replace his razor regularly as blunt blades can be painful and ineffective to use as well as being more likely to cause trauma to the skin.
Folliculitis barbae/Pseudofolliculitis barbae
The most common side-effect of shaving for a man is Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB for short), which is an irritation caused by shaving or ingrown hairs. It is more common in boys who have curly hair but can affect anyone. It presents as red bumps or raised skin and can be itchy.
Folliculitis barbae (FB for short) is very different and is caused by an infection in the hair follicle. The skin is usually painful and the hair follicles themselves can sometimes contain pus.
FB requires a course of anti-biotics to clear, so it’s worth explaing the difference when discussing the side-effects of shaving with your son.
PFB can be dealt with by using an anti-bacterial skin wash (see part 1).
If PFB does occur, using Glycolic Acid daily as been proven to reduce lesions by up to 60%. You can get Glycolic Acid pads or toners which are both quick and easy to use. However, it’s probably best not to preempt an issue and use Glycolic Acid from the get-go as it can be too strong if there’s no issue.
Finding an after-shave balm or lotion with Aloe Vera will also help PFB as it’s soothing and reduces inflammation.
Treating cuts and nick from shaving
Cuts and nicks happen to even the most experienced shaver, so it’s always a good idea to have a treatment product on hand to deal quickly and efficiently with the odd cut. The sight of blood can be scary so anything that can be picked up and used immediately is always helpful I find!
Try one of the following:
1. Superdrug Styptic Pencil, £1.99
This is good to use on the odd cut or nick rather than on the whole face
2. Alum Block, Bluebeards Revenge £5.99
Best for more general use on the whole face
Using a calming, soothing moisturiser can help while the skin gets used to regular shaving, and any of the recommendations below will be a valuable addition to your son’s skincare routine (if you can persuade him to start one!)
How to deal with sensitive skin
The product that will probably make the biggest difference to a teenager’s sensitive skin is an effective moisturiser.
Moisturisers can help to soothe, calm and stregthen the skin. This is particularly important as sensitive skin can sometimes be caused by thinner, or less resilient skin (which teenagers have anyway).
It’s worth spending some time browsing online or in the shops, to really have a look at the ingredient list of any moisturiser that claims to be for sensitive skin. Fantastic, helpful and gentle ingredients are:
– Aloe Vera
Using a moisturiser twice a day can really help to calm skin. Three recommendations are:
1. Yu-Be Moisturising Skin Cream, £13.50
It’s high glycerin content means it’s moisturising without clogging pores or aggravating acne
2. Cowshed Bullocks Soothing Moisturiser, £16.00
Contains Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty oils which mosturise and rehydrate the skin. Particularly good post-shave
3. Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser, £6.00
A great ‘starter’ moisturiser that contains relatively natural ingredients
Teenager’s skincare needn’t be overwhelming! Using a few key products with a sprinkling of sensible advice and your son will set up good habits that he’ll hopefully keep for the rest of his life.
As always, if you have any questions, or need further advice please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org