I asked for your top hair removal questions and wow did you come up with some good ones! There were so many good ones, we turned to internationally renowned celebrity dermatologist Dr. Jody Levine to bring you the answers you need.
Read on for our Q&A with Dr. Levine.
1. What is the biggest shaving/hair removal mistake made during the summer time?
During summer people forget about the importance of moisturizing and exfoliating leading to ingrown hairs after shaving. If ones skin is not properly moisturized and exfoliated, ingrown hairs can happen, especially if a dull razor is used. People often assume that given the warm weather during summer months, one’s skin isn’t dry. However, sunblock, chlorine and even one’s own sweat are all factors that can lead to skin irritation and dryness. Proper moisturization after shaving or showering is important to prep the skin for the best shaving results.
Another mistake I find people make is choosing to wax right before a trip to the beach. Waxing, in the bikini area especially, can sometimes lead to red bumps in the immediate period, which can be embarrassing when exposed and not something you would want to show off!
2. What is different about hair removal in the summer months?
Hair removal in the summer becomes much more important and frequent, as ones skin is exposed more often and more of it. Whereas some people do not shave certain areas every day in the winter, in the summer they may choose to shave up to twice a day! Using a high-quality razor with fresh blades is extra important as a dull and inefficient razor will require extra pressure and rubbing on the skin, especially if used frequently. If one finds that her underarms are increasingly sweaty and smelly in the summer, ensuring that the underarms are hair-free may help decrease this problem. Besides the desire to be hair free in the summer given the extra exposed skin, an added benefit to shaving in odor prone areas is to help decrease odor. Hair holds onto odor and less hair not only enables one to clean ones skin better but may also result in less odor.
3. How can you prevent post-shave irritation on legs, bikini, underarms?
Irritation or injuries from shaving can be prevented by using high-quality tools and in using proper shaving techniques. I recommend three important steps to shaving the right way to avoid irritation.
i. First, it’s extremely important to hydrate your hair with warm water and waiting a few minutes from when you step into the shower before shaving. This is especially important for the bikini area. This step hydrates your hair helping to make your hair softer and easier to cut.
ii. Because hair on your bikini line and these other more sensitive areas tends to be coarse and curly and the area has many contours, it’s best to use a high-quality razor that has five, fresh blades and is designed to adjust to the contours of that area. It’s also important to switch blades out often. I recommend switching to a new blade every 8-10 shaves.
iii. Incorporating a shave gel allows your razor to glide more easily over your skin. Using a rich shave gel or cream produces a cushion effect that soap and water alone cannot replicate. Essentially, you shouldn’t feel like you’re scraping the skin as you’re shaving, but instead should feel the razor glide easily and smoothly over your skin. I recommend using a moisture rich-shave gel or cream like the new Venus with Olay Moisturizing Shower & Shave Cream which combines moisturizing ingredients to gently clean and protect your skin while shaving.
4. What is the biggest hair removal myth you hear/are asked about?
The most common is that many women believe shaving causes your hair to grow back thicker, darker or faster. In reality, hair regrowth is determined by your genetics and hormones. The reason women believe this myth is because as hair grows back, the blunt ends make it seem thicker.
I’ve also found that women sometimes think that men’s razors will give them a better shave than women’s razors. A woman typically shaves her legs, underarms and bikini area, about 18x more surface area than a man typically shaves. The reality is that women’s shaving needs demand a razor that is made for them. The technology behind Gillette men’s and women’s razor blades is the same, and both are equally as sharp and effective but Venus razors and their handles are designed just for women, allowing the razor blade to adjust to the contours of a woman’s body. For example, the Venus Swirl features a FLEXIBALL that allows the razor to pivot in multiple ways to navigate all of the tricky areas of a woman’s body, helping to eliminate the ‘shower yoga’ women have previously resorted to, to shave those hard-to- reach places and capture hairs that other razors might miss.
5. Shave/wax/laser? What is really better for your skin/health?
Choosing a hair-removal method is personal – not one method fits all and many women use multiple methods on different parts of their bodies! Everybody has her own preferences, but you should find a routine that best suits your lifestyle. It is also best to choose a method that you can use consistently. If one chooses to laser, one can’t wax in between as the waxing will diminish laser results. If one chooses to wax, one should try to only wax. Of course, shaving can be used in a pinch when waxing is not possible, but it is not ideal to alternate methods.
6. Can you talk tech in hair removal, specifically IPL, what are the things you should know?
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a light-based technology that works by targeting the pigment in hair follicle, leading to an increase in heat energy that eventually ‘kills” the hair and stops regrowth.
The device emits gentle pulses of light beneath the surface of the skin that target the melanin in the hair follicle. The melanin heats up and the hair is shed naturally. Laser and IPL hair reduction is not considered “permanent’ as fluctuations in hormone levels can at times bring back some hair regrowth.
For some people, this is a great, long-lasting option, but it’s important to note that IPL is most effective on light to medium skin tones with hair that ranges from natural blonde to dark brown or black. It isn’t very effective on blonde, red, grey or white hair where there is a smaller amount of melanin in the hair follicle (and thus, less light absorbed).
A great at-home option is the Venus Silk-expert IPL powered by Braun, which is a convenient device to reduce hair growth in the comfort of your home. Since only hairs at a specific point in the growing phase are susceptible to treatment with light, it is important to do multiple treatments to achieve continuously smooth skin. For this reason, I recommend a start-up phase of 4-12 weekly treatments until you notice hair is no longer growing.
Bonus: What are your 3 top tips for summer hair removal?
- If you’re planning to show off a spray tan this summer, I recommend shaving as your hair removal method. Many people don’t always realize the exfoliating nature of shaving, but shaving prior to a spray tan will leave skin that is smooth and best able to hold onto a uniform spray tan vs. waxing or other methods.
- It is smart to keep an on-the- go razor with you (like the Venus Snap) in your day bag or beach bag during the summer. There are times at the beach, or in a sleeveless top, that one may realize a lone hair which was missed during a hasty shaving session. It is always helpful to have a discreet rescue razor on hand during the summer months!
- Keep skin well moisturized, even in the summer. If your skin is dried out from the beach, perhaps consider using a moisturizing shave gel to maximize a silky smooth shave without irritation of the underlying skin.
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