Once your acne has cleared enough to resume shaving, then finding the correct lubrication for your skin is is key. This is true both if you are suffering from acne or just want a close shave.
The purpose of a shaving foam is to lubricate your hairs and skin so the razor blade can glide freely and frictionless, causing minimal irritation to the skin. This is especially important when you suffer from acne prone skin.
The first things to look at when wet shaving are the products you use directly on your skin. If you wet shave, then the chances are you use a can of shaving foam.
Shaving Foams Could Be Making Your Acne Worse
By far the best lubricant for shaving is water. Unfortunately the gasses and chemicals used in pressurised shaving foam products are actually water repellents! This means manufacturers have to keep adding chemicals to the foam compensate.
What we eventually end up with is a can of compressed gloop with all sorts of unnecessary additives just to have the convenience of a can.
It’s a catch-22 situation which is why when you look at a can of shaving foam; you will see it’s using a whole list of chemical additives to do a relatively simple job:
Water, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Isobutane, Isopropyl Isostearate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa)
Seed Butter, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan),
Laureth-23, Dimethicone PEG/PPG-20/23 Benzoate, Coceth-7, PPG-1-PEG-9 Lauryl Glycol Ether,
PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Lauryl Alcohol,
Propane, Fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Benzoate, BHT.
You will also see that there also are a number of alcohols included. These are a big acne treatment 101 “no no” due to excessive skin drying. Plus you are exposing your skin to a whole host of unnecessary chemicals.
Looking at Alternatives to Shaving Foam
One solution to avoid unnecessary skin and acne irritation is to return to a more traditional way of lubricating the beard for shaving. This is using either a traditional shaving cream or soap. These are very simple products that are made using natural ingredients and because they are not pressurised, only use ingredients that lubricate.
These shaving creams or soaps can be purchased specifically for sensitive or acne prone skin and have little or no perfume added. Commonly, they use components such as coconut nut oil, glycerol or wool fat as the main lubrication base. When mixed with warm water, they create a very simple yet rich emollient that when applied to the skin, causes little or no reaction.
There are now many natural shaving cream products on the market. The last few years has seen a big movement back to more traditional shaving experiences for many men. This makes good quality and specialist products easier to buy.
The switch is partly fuelled by the extortionate costs of mainstream shaving products by companies like Gillette, but more importantly more men are wanting to enhance their shaving experience and turn it into a more pleasurable experience.
Popular Shaving Creams For Men With Acne Prone Skin
Ideally, you will need a non-perfumed product aimed at sensitive skin. Here is a list of shaving creams suitable for acne prone skin. We have personally used and recommend all these products and have had great shaves as a result. No adverse reactions and have enabled good shaves without irritating or worsening acne. This list of shaving creams for acne prone skin is just to point you in the right direction and is by no means complete:
Clinque Shaving Cream for men
A top quality brand that is extremely smooth mild and completely fragrance free. A favourite among men with highly sensitive skin. I have used this product for years and was my first non-mainstream shaving cream.
Liz Earl Sensitive Shave Cream
A very popular UK brand that has moved into men’s skincare. Perfect for sensitive skin – an amazing product using high quality natural ingredients. Highly lubricated and very reasonably priced. I use a number of her products and highly recommend trying them out.
I cannot find a suitable store to link to so your on your own with this one. Do a little Google Fu and see what’s available locally.
Proraso Shaving Cream or Soap for sensitive skin
A cheap and hugely popular product from Italy made from glycerin and with green tea, aloe vera and vitamin E. This was my first shaving soap that needed a brush. I love the smell which is mainly green tea. Highly refreshing in the morning. This is my go to shaving soap when my skin is bad.
A specialist family run English brand that have been creating shaving products the same way for many years. Gentle and mildly scented. A favourite brand for gentlemen. Unique light scent. Good lubrication, however this product is more scented than the others so beware if you extremely sensitive skin.
Penhaligon Blenheim Bouquet Shaving Cream
A slightly more expensive option but another classic old English brand. Again this is lightly scented so if you have extremely sensitive skin beware. However, it is possible you will have one of the best shaves of your life with this product. I love it and has become my cream of choice for everyday shaving.
Some of these products are cheap and some a little more expensive. However they do last a very long time and as with most things, you get what you pay for.
None of these brands are designer brands, in fact Clinique, which is probably the most “designer” is one of the cheapest. What you are paying for is a carefully produced product that uses quality ingredients and is designed to give an amazing shaving experience.
In fact, usually the more expensive ones work out cheaper than branded mainstream canned products over the long run. One product can easily last 6 months or longer.
The last three shaving creams on this list will need a shaving brush to generate lather.
Read the next part of my guide to shaving, choosing a shaving brush for acne prone skin.