One year into DE shaving - help!

#1
Apologies for the horror pics, just hoping to get some advice really. This is my face / neck an hour after shaving (post Nivea face wash & shower) with a DE89, Voskhod blade (3rd use) & Body Shop Maca Root cream. It was a 3 pass: WTG, XTG & XTG opposite direction, then touch ups. If I had taken the pics within minutes of shaving, they would have been far more horrific!

I think that the bulk of the redness is scars leftover from going ATG and having to dig out ingrowers resulting from said passes. I haven’t gone ATG for over a month as it seems my skin really can’t take it. If I go ATG, I get an assortment of weepers, regardless of blade, razor, angle, etc and my face gets itchy later on during a shaving day and this can carry over to the following day. I’m gutted that I can’t get as close a shave as I’d like because of this, but for the punishment my face gets I just have to settle for a DFS.

As you can see though, I thought that after over a month of not going ATG, my skin would have cleared up a lot more. I’m tearing my hair out somewhat with this now, my face looks like this after virtually every shave, except sometimes worse if it’s a blade that doesn’t agree with my skin. I always shave after either a shower or a good face wash / hot flannel etc, and I think I get good lather from Truefitt & Hill Ultimate Comfort cream. I let the weight of the razor do the work and don’t apply any more pressure than is necessary. I cold water shave and rinse with cold water for half a minute, clean up my stuff then apply balm. I get a more efficient shave with an iKon open comb than with the DE89, yet still get irritation. Even with my face looking like it does, it doesn’t particularly feel like a mild razor helps me, as I get irritation no matter what I use, so I may as well use a more efficient razor.

Not sure what to do really, it’s partly seeing myself in photos from 10-15 years ago that has made me realise that my face was nice and smooth and irritation free back then, using just canned goo and a WS Protector cartridge razor. Before anyone pipes up with “Shaving is beard reduction, not beard elimination”, I am NOT trying to get every hair, just trying to get a decent shave without my face looking wrecked. Ideally if I can sort the problem out I’d like to keep DE shaving. I don’t really want to go back to carts as Fusions gave me bad ingrowers and irritated my neck anyway, even with a 1-pass WTG shave. I’ve tried a slant and an SE recently and got the same level of irritation with them. Just wish I could get rid of the rash. I don’t really get any burn or pain as such, I just hate my face looking like this. It’s settled down a bit since I took the pics a few hours ago, but depending on the blade it can take 2 hours for my face to settle down after shaving. I remember the days of shaving and then going out for the night almost straight after, that’s just not an option now as I can’t go out with my face in a right state.

I suppose seeing a dermatologist is an option (how do you even do this, presumably your GP refers you?), but I would be interested in any thoughts or product recommendations. Would pre-shave or witch hazel be helpful for example? I use Aloe Vera gel sometimes. It soothes irritation but doesn’t make the redness go away. I’ve heard hydrocortisone cream can help, has anyone tried it? I’ve read a ton of articles on razor burn and they all say to use a single blade rather than a multi blade cart, which is another reason I don’t want to go back to carts.

Any help appreciated. Potentially I may have to face up to DE shaving not being for me, but I’ve done it for a year now and enjoy the products, ritual, etc of it all, but I honestly can’t say that my skin is that much better now than when I started all this. . .


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#3
I’ve heard hydrocortisone cream can help, has anyone tried it?
The NHS recommend not using hydrocortisone on the face due to the delicate nature of facial skin

www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/medicines/why-can-you-not-use-hydrocortisone-cream-on-the-face/

If I was you and it is a regular occurance I would give my face a rest from shaving for a while and see if it shows any signs of clearing. If not I would pay my GP a visit as the issue may be deeper rooted.
 
#4
I don't find maca root to be the most protective of shaving creams. It's either so thick it's actually sticky and causing razor drag else so thin and wet it's not doing anything, and it's kind of drying. Still use it to fall back on if I'm having some rough shaves, but it's not the kindest I've found.

I go through bouts of having problem skin like this, quite a bad one recently that left some scars, and thought it was the shave itself when in fact it was just a particular new product I'd tried using post-shave causing a severe breakout. Are you sure it's your shave that's causing this and not your facewash or any post-shave products you're applying to try and help your skin? Have you introduced something recently that may have upset your skin?

The last bad bout I had I went back to a baseline of basic routine/products until it cleared (wash face with Pears soap, use Haslinger seaweed shaving soap and Speick Active AS only - no other products at all on my face) and everything settled down quickly. Any products with oil in them are very bad for me. I also soak my razor in isopropyl alcohol before every shave while I'm building my lather.

It might be your razor/blade/technique, but I don't think so. Wouldn't hurt to give your face a rest though and maybe avoid ATG for a few days until it's back on track. No point chasing a BBS until things are calm, and you'll just make it worse keep irritating it.
 
#5
Hi Dave,

Sorry to hear about the irritation you're suffering from.
One tip I think you should try is shaving with cold water. From your initial wetting of the beard, to your lather, to soaking your razor, keep it all as cold as your tap will allow. I found that if I shaved with hot water, my skin would get irritated very quickly.

Also, as buddha said, don't chase the BBS. Keep the passes minimal until you can get the irritation down.

To answer your question about getting an appointment with a dermatologist, you would have to get a referral from your GP.

I hope this helps, and please keep us updated as to how you're getting on.
 
#7
I don't find maca root to be the most protective of shaving creams. It's either so thick it's actually sticky and causing razor drag else so thin and wet it's not doing anything, and it's kind of drying. Still use it to fall back on if I'm having some rough shaves, but it's not the kindest I've found.

I go through bouts of having problem skin like this, quite a bad one recently that left some scars, and thought it was the shave itself when in fact it was just a particular new product I'd tried using post-shave causing a severe breakout. Are you sure it's your shave that's causing this and not your facewash or any post-shave products you're applying to try and help your skin? Have you introduced something recently that may have upset your skin?

The last bad bout I had I went back to a baseline of basic routine/products until it cleared (wash face with Pears soap, use Haslinger seaweed shaving soap and Speick Active AS only - no other products at all on my face) and everything settled down quickly. Any products with oil in them are very bad for me. I also soak my razor in isopropyl alcohol before every shave while I'm building my lather.

It might be your razor/blade/technique, but I don't think so. Wouldn't hurt to give your face a rest though and maybe avoid ATG for a few days until it's back on track. No point chasing a BBS until things are calm, and you'll just make it worse keep irritating it.
Though it was the first use of Maca Root for me, I don't want to lay the blame on the cream as like I said, my face often looks like this post-shave. That said, it felt hard work to lather so I wasn't overly impressed with it compared to the T&H Ultimate Comfort I normally use.

All I use pre-shave is either just shower gel or the blue Nivea 'Deep Cleaning' face wash. I've tried exfoliants and all they do is make my face ache later in the day. Rubbing those little stones/beads or whatever they're called into my face? It does NOT appreciate it. May try the white Nivea Sensitive face wash sometime, as its a while since I last used it. I use Barts Balm ASB after shaving, its definitely the best balm I've used so far, so I'd rule that out. I haven't introduced anything new as such though I have been rotating blades for a while. The next one I have lined up is the last different one I'm trying for now, then I'll be solely using ones I know are ok for me.

Heard good things about glycerine soap so may try that. As I said in the first post, I'm not currently going ATG anyway. Also I shave every other day to give my face a break. 3 days growth & beyond is really pushing it and my skin gets even more irritated then. Perhaps I should try shaving daily but just doing 2 passes! I don't use any oily products like pre-shave oil as I've heard of them clogging your razor.

Thanks for the input
 
#8
It can be thick in places, but its more sparse than it is dense. My skin isn't particularly dry or oily, I can't say I've had problems with it being one or the other which I suppose is good.
It will probably be necessary to eliminate what is giving you the trouble one thing at a time.

You've said that canned goo & a WS Protector cart gave you no irritation.

So stop shaving for a few days, till your skin has largely healed up.
Then start shaving with the same goo & cart you used earlier. If you still have the same problems, it's not the razor/cream/brush. Its something to do with your skin, or some of the other products you're using, & you'll need to see the derm.
But if your skin irritation disappears, you need to investigate further.
Now use the same WS cartridge with the brush & Maca root cream you were using. Does the problem come back? Then either the cream does not suit you or your brush is causing the irritation. Change your cream. If that does not work, it could be your brush. Try disinfecting the brush. If neither works, change your brush or start applying cream by massaging it in by hand.

In a similar way, you can eliminate the things that might be causing irritation one by one by working the other way-using the goo that worked for you & shaving with your current DE razor. If its not the goo, it must be the razor /blade/technique.
In which case, you can change your blade, or try changing your angle by 'riding the cap' or, if nothing else works, changing the razor.

Don't change anything more than one step at a time, & try out each combination for at least a few days. Eventually you'll find the right combo for you.
 
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#9
All I use pre-shave is either just shower gel or the blue Nivea 'Deep Cleaning' face wash. I've tried exfoliants and all they do is make my face ache later in the day. I use Barts Balm ASB after shaving, its definitely the best balm I've used so far, so I'd rule that out.
I'd cut out all these products for a week, just use Pears soap or something really mild, and see what happens. The product which caused me to have a huge breakout complete with cystic acne was Thayer's Alcohol Free, so it can easily be something you think must be innocuous.

I would run your products through a website like this to check them out for potentially problematic (for some people) ingredients if you have had this for a while: http://www.cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_57b4402619.html (use only products with almost exclusively green safety ratings and no acne/irritant rating). Geraniol can cause breakouts for a lot of people.
 
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#10
Hi Dave,

Sorry to hear about the irritation you're suffering from.
One tip I think you should try is shaving with cold water. From your initial wetting of the beard, to your lather, to soaking your razor, keep it all as cold as your tap will allow. I found that if I shaved with hot water, my skin would get irritated very quickly.

Also, as buddha said, don't chase the BBS. Keep the passes minimal until you can get the irritation down.

To answer your question about getting an appointment with a dermatologist, you would have to get a referral from your GP.

I hope this helps, and please keep us updated as to how you're getting on.
Thanks. I do rinse the razor in cold water during the shave & then rinse my face in cold water after. But working backwards, as well as splashing warm water on my face pre-lather, I do fill the lather bowl with hot water, generally with the razor stood in it, whilst I shower, before lathering in it. Due to a tip I read about it supposedly being good to start with a warm bowl as it helps the lather retain some heat. I guess I can cut out the warm water totally and see if it helps. My problem with 'keeping the passes minimal' is I hate my face looking like like it hasn't been shaved. Which generally it does after 2 passes. If I go to the GP, I'll have to make sure I shave as close to the appointment as possible so they see it at full effect!
 
#11
Thanks. I do rinse the razor in cold water during the shave & then rinse my face in cold water after. But working backwards, as well as splashing warm water on my face pre-lather, I do fill the lather bowl with hot water, generally with the razor stood in it, whilst I shower, before lathering in it. Due to a tip I read about it supposedly being good to start with a warm bowl as it helps the lather retain some heat. I guess I can cut out the warm water totally and see if it helps. My problem with 'keeping the passes minimal' is I hate my face looking like like it hasn't been shaved. Which generally it does after 2 passes. If I go to the GP, I'll have to make sure I shave as close to the appointment as possible so they see it at full effect!

Just a thought, . . Could letting your razor sit in very hot water degrade the coating on the blade, resulting in a bad blade edge?
I generally like to use warm to almost hot water for shaving, but not too hot for fear of the temperature affecting the blade
 
#14
It will probably be necessary to eliminate what is giving you the trouble one thing at a time.

You've said that canned goo & a WS Protector cart gave you no irritation.

So stop shaving for a few days, till your skin has largely healed up.
Then start shaving with the same goo & cart you used earlier. If you still have the same problems, it's not the razor/cream/brush. Its something to do with your skin, or some of the other products you're using, & you'll need to see the derm.
But if your skin irritation disappears, you need to investigate further.
Now use the same WS cartridge with the brush & Maca root cream you were using. Does the problem come back? Then either the cream does not suit you or your brush is causing the irritation. Change your cream. If that does not work, it could be your brush. Try disinfecting the brush. If neither works, change your brush or start applying cream by massaging it in by hand.

In a similar way, you can eliminate the things that might be causing irritation one by one by working the other way-using the goo that worked for you & shaving with your current DE razor. If its not the goo, it must be the razor /blade/technique.
In which case, you can change your blade, or try changing your angle by 'riding the cap' or, if nothing else works, changing the razor.

Don't change anything more than one step at a time, & try out each combination for at least a few days. Eventually you'll find the right combo for you.
A lot was already said, and this is in fact a way to try and figure out what is causing you that... well, that state.

I would just like to add on question. Have you tried other blades? I personally find Voskhod blades very mild, only use them with more aggressive razors. I also can't seem to get more than one shave out of them. Of course, YMMV, but still, DE89 with Voskhod for me doesn't work. And if you have tried other blades, do you get the same redness with them?
 
#15
A lot was already said, and this is in fact a way to try and figure out what is causing you that... well, that state.

I would just like to add on question. Have you tried other blades? I personally find Voskhod blades very mild, only use them with more aggressive razors. I also can't seem to get more than one shave out of them. Of course, YMMV, but still, DE89 with Voskhod for me doesn't work. And if you have tried other blades, do you get the same redness with them?
Thanks. Yes, I've tried numerous blades in both the DE89 & iKon OC. I'm so keen to remember the good shaves and learn from the bad ones, also trying to pinpoint what may be causing the irritation, that I have made notes on each blade in both razors. Funnily enough, my first ever use of the Voskhod blade in an OC gave terrible results, it was slightly better in the DE89 but by the third use (also in DE89), well that was the trigger for this thread. Perhaps its a 'two shaves and its done' type blade. I toss them after 3 anyway. Whether that's right or wrong, its just what I do. But then some say that blades smooth out and improve over time, maybe I should use a blade a little longer and see what happens.

I get SOME irritation after every shave, the key for me is trying to limit it to as little as possible. I'm not overly worried about Voskhods, I'll try another in rotation in case it was a dud, but I imagine it will then be filed under 'Do not buy these blades again'. I definitely get less redness with certain blades, yes, and I know full well which they are thankfully. I seem to fall somewhere between the 'medium sharpness' ones like Voskhod and the really sharp ones like Feathers & Gillette 7 O'C Yellows.
 
#18
No I haven't. What does it actually do?
It's great for soothing the redness. Although from the photos I doubt it could heal all your neck. I use witch hazel mixed with aloe vera gel, and I find it great at keeping my skin in good condition. I even use it in the back of my neck after a haircut (my barber uses a shavette here, with BIC blades).

It's not miraculous, but helps, and using it as a routine really made a difference for me.
I also keep a Floid at hand, great for when it goes bad.
 
#19
No I haven't. What does it actually do?
One more question, did you feel the blade struggling to cut? Did you feel discomfort at any stage of the shave? A good shave should feel comfortable, and cut your facial hair with ease, if not, then there's something to change, be it technique, hardware or software. From what you said, technique shouldn't be the fault, that leaves us with software and hardware.
 
#20
One more question, did you feel the blade struggling to cut? Did you feel discomfort at any stage of the shave? A good shave should feel comfortable, and cut your facial hair with ease, if not, then there's something to change, be it technique, hardware or software. From what you said, technique shouldn't be the fault, that leaves us with software and hardware.
No, this is the frustrating part really. Like I said, I get what I consider to be good lather, and generally the shave itself feels fine and the blade seems to cutting perfectly well. I only sense tugging when going ATG which I no longer do anyway. . Many a time in the throes of shaving I've thought to myself "This is a great shave, maybe may face will look better after this one", only to find that it doesn't. I've mapped my beard well so don't go ATG. I feel my technique is ok, thinking about it, I've been doing this for a year so will have DE shaved about 180 times. I guess there is room for improvement still but if I was getting angles, pressure etc, drastically wrong, I'd surely have realised this by now. Also I'd be getting weepers, nicks & blood galore, which I'm not.
 
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