Is Facial Shaving a Good Idea for Women?

Some skin care experts propose that women should shave their faces to help exfoliate their skin. Others maintain that this will stimulate unwanted hair growth. So who should you listen to? Is facial shaving a good idea for women?

The common assumption that shaving will make hair grow back darker and thicker is not true. Shaving simply removes hair at the skin level, so the re-growth will replicate what was already there. However, the new may appear darker because it has never been exposed to the sun. Also since this hair is all at the same length, the stubble can appear thicker and rougher.

Dangers of Facial Shaving

The bigger issue with shaving is that it can damage the hair follicle and cause ingrown hairs. Shaving produces a sharp edge to new hairs. As these grow, the sharp edges can re-enter the skin, causing the skin to become inflamed. The double-edged razors most people use make this even worse, since the first blade lifts the hair and the second one cuts it, causing hair to retract deeper under the surface and increasing the chances that it will grow abnormally. Taking precautions like using a single-blade razor, using shaving lotion, and shaving in the direction of hair growth can minimize the risks of ingrown hair. However, facial skin is so sensitive that you're likely to run into problems. While it's true that shaving can exfoliate your skin, there are less risky ways to do it.

First of all, if you're under 30 you likely don't need to exfoliate at all, since your skin naturally completes this process. If you're over 30 or have acne-prone skin, you should exfoliate once a week. Steer clear of rough salts, scrubs, or sponges, which can tear and irritate your skin. Opt for exfoliating masks or very gentle scrubs specifically designed for sensitive facial skin.

If you have enough hair on your face that tweezing, trouble-spot waxing, or a depilatory can't control, talk to a dermatologist. She can recommend the best hair removal option for your problem. And if you notice a lot of new hair cropping up on your face, let your doctor know. It could be a sign of a medical problem like Cushing's disease or polycystic ovary syndrome-which would need special attention.



Sources: "The Perfect Shave: Shaving Myths Debunked" Gillette Manufacturer's Website. Web. 2011. "What Do I Do About These Ingrown Hairs." Health Services at Columbia University. Web. 2005. "Preventing Ingrown Hairs" Mayo Clinic. Web. 2011