Dry skin after shaving might be a problem that starts before you put anything on your face or legs. Dry skin, also called xerosis, occurs when your skin lacks water or lipids to keep it smooth and supple. You can reduce issues that dry your skin during your pre- and post-shaving regimen, and further reduce your susceptibility to dry skin with a few tips and tricks.
The skin is the body's largest organ, and like other organs, needs water and lipids to function. Dry skin occurs in people of all ages, and for a number of reasons, including poor diet and thyroid conditions, according to the American Skin Association. The most common cause of dry skin is dry air. A poor shaving regimen can exacerbate the problem by depleting it of lipids.
Hot water opens pores and loosens a beard or hair on your legs, but hot water depletes naturally occurring oils in your skin. Hot water during your showers, baths, face washing or shaving add to the problem. If you shave in the shower or bath, lower the water temperature. If you shave in the sink, use lukewarm water to shave and cool or cold water to rinse.
If you wash your face or legs before shaving, use a mild soap or use a natural abrasive like dry oatmeal to gently cleanse skin. Avoid scented soaps and those that contain deodorants. Don't rub your skin dry after you pre-wash.
Replace lipids in your skin by moisturizing before and after shaving. If you will be shaving your legs, moisturize the night before for added benefit. After you rinse your skin before your shave, use a moisturizer to help create a smoother shave. Apply the moisturizer to damp skin before you apply your shaving cream. After you have shaved, pat your skin with a towel instead of wiping or rubbing it dry -- leave your skin damp so your moisturizer will absorb better. Use a fat-dense soap, such as those with lanolin, cocoa butter or coconut oil. Try a natural moisturizer like petroleum jelly, aloe or an essential oil. Avoid aftershaves with alcohol, which can dry skin.
If you shave with a dull blade, you will need to press harder to scrape hair from your skin. Shaving with a dull blade will irritate dry, flaky skin and make your problem more annoying. You might also cut yourself, requiring you to wipe the blood for several minutes, wicking away more water and oil from your skin.
Rinse with cool or cold water to close pores. Warm water, heat and steam open pores and promote lipid loss. If you have in the shower, rinse your legs with cold water before you get out, or rinse your face in the sink with cold water.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.