Are electric shavers better for sensitive skin?

Electric shavers will probably shave some time off of your morning routine -- pun intended.
Electric shavers will probably shave some time off of your morning routine -- pun intended.
©iStockphoto.com/bmcent1

Shaving is more than simply keeping your face nice and smooth. It's a rite of passage for young men entering adolescence. Young boys grow up watching their fathers and grandfathers shave, and before long, they begin to mimic it on their own. It's one of the many things that kids do to play grownup. Once a boy reaches the age where he has a legitimate claim to shave, it's an exciting experience and part of the transition from boy to young man. But, like many adult things kids yearn for, before long, it becomes another tedious chore. Not many grown men look forward to shaving because of the irritating effect it can have on the skin. Some people's skin is more sensitive than others, but most men at one time or another have felt the ill effects of shaving on their face. Sometimes it's a cut that won't stop bleeding, other times a slight rash can break out. Even non-sensitive skin will likely feel raw for at least a few hours after a tough shave.

When it comes to shaving the face, there are generally two ways to go: You can go with an electric razor, or you can choose a blade, whether it's a straight razor, reusable pivoting multi-blade razor, safety razor or the disposable kind. Chances are, a teenager won't have much of a preference at first, but as the boy grows, he'll have more of an opinion on what kind of blade touches his face. In general, electric shavers are better for sensitive skin because there's no chance for cuts, nicks and/or razor burn. This doesn't mean that there's no irritation with electric razors, but they're generally easier on sensitive skin.

 

Types of Electric Shavers

There are many different variations on the electric razor, but they can generally be broken down into two categories: wet shavers and dry shavers. Previously, all electric razors were the dry kind, but when wet shavers hit the market, they provided another option for men with sensitive skin. When electric shavers first came out, they were pretty rough on the face. With advancements, however, many top quality electric shavers can now get as close to the skin as a blade.

Electric razors work by shearing the whiskers as close to the skin as possible. The whiskers enter a perforated round metal head, where spinning blades cut them. There are usually either three round sets of spinning blades (rotary), or two horizontal sets that go from side to side (foil). Getting the right one for your skin may take a little trial and error, and because of this, most electric shavers come with a money-back guarantee so you can try it out.

Early electric shavers had a set head, but now they rotate and pivot so they can come into closer contact to the contours of the face. Dry shavers are just that -- they require nothing more than stubble. Wet electric shavers, on the other hand, allow you to use a shaving lotion or even shave in the shower. Many men find that a high quality wet electric shaver is easy on the skin and provides a shave as close as a blade. It's also recommended that sensitive areas of the face, like the neck, are tackled first before moving on to the cheeks, chin and under the nose.

Electric Shaver Alternatives

We don't recommend an axe as a shaving tool.
We don't recommend an axe as a shaving tool.
©iStockphoto.com/silverkblack

If you aren't into the electric razors, then there are a few different blade options to choose from. Disposable blade razors are broken down into ones where the blade cartridges pop out and are replaced, and those that are fully disposable. Over time, the disposable blade razors have grown from single blade models to razors that have as many as four blades stacked one after the other. The idea is that as each blade comes into contact with the skin, it provides a closer shave. This can cause skin irritation, as the last pass actually takes off a thin layer of the epidermis.

Reusable blade razors are a little more old school. Both straight razors and safety razors are making a big comeback in recent years as young men are discovering the shaving methods of years gone by. A straight razor is a single long steel blade attached to a handle and sharpened on a leather strop. It takes a steady hand and a little practice to achieve the best results. Traditionally, a straight shave uses a mug of shaving soap applied with a badger hair brush, although regular shaving cream or lotion can be used as well.

Safety razors are also reusable and have blades that are inserted into a traditional looking razor handle. They are typically made of metal and meant to last a lifetime, as long as you change the blades out regularly. The blade is set so that only the outer edge comes into contact with the skin. Safety razors have also made a comeback in recent years and now come in varieties with double blades and pivoting heads.

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Sources

  • "All About Shaving." Ftmguide.org, 2010.http://www.ftmguide.org/shaving.html#straight
  • "Best Electric Shaver." Bestelectricshavershop.com, 2010. http://www.bestelectricshavershop.com/
  • "Electric Shaver Care and Shaving Tips." Shavercentre.com, 2010. http://www.shavercentre.com/shavingtips.html
  • "Lee's Safety Razors." Leesrazors.com, 2010.http://www.leesrazors.com/
  • "Men's Electric Shavers: Reviews." Consumersearch.com, 2010. http://www.consumersearch.com/electric-shavers