Best shaving practices reduce occurrence of pseudofolliculitis barbae

August 1, 2012

There is no doubt that shaving cream is important in preventing pseudofolliculitis barbae. The purpose of shaving cream is to reduce friction between the blade and the skin, prolong the life of the blade, soften the hair, and improve shave aesthetics.

Key Points

Q: Are certain shaving creams better at preventing pseudofolliculitis barbae than others?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a blade designer's nightmare. The enhanced irregular skin surface with hairs exiting the skin at various angles creates tremendous challenges.

The success of a shave is based on the ratio of hair removal to skin removal. A well-designed blade accompanied by a well-formulated shaving cream will increase this ratio. Shaving cream increases the amount of water that enters the hair shaft, thus softening the hair shaft and allowing the razor to cut the hair cleanly with less force. Post-foaming shaving gels are better at softening the hair than regular shaving creams due to more water absorption.

A post-foaming shaving gel comes out of the aerosolized can as a gel and then foams to a cream when rubbed into the skin. Patients with pseudofolliculitis barbae should be advised to use this type of shaving product.

Post-foaming shave gels provide the following benefits for pseudofolliculitis barbae: 1. The hair is cut closer to the skin and less likely to ingrow. 2. The hair is cut cleanly without a frayed end preventing skin re-entry. 3. Reduced shaving pressure minimizes cutting of the razor bumps, creating an irregular skin surface. 4. Shaving discomfort is reduced, encouraging the patient to shave more often and thus preventing ingrown hairs.

Q: What is the science of glycobiology?

a: Glycobiology is a relatively new area dealing with the important role of sugars attached to the cell surface. Sugars such as glucose and galactose control how cellular communication occurs and can affect cell behavior. Bacteria, viruses and antibodies attach to cells through these sugar moieties that are present on the skin surface. The ability to modulate these sugars can result in the prevention of infection or possibly alter cellular deficiencies that occur with age.

Glycobiology is the newest science being used in the development of anti-aging skin creams claiming to reprogram aging cells to behave like young cells. This is an area to watch in cosmeceutical development.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a Dermatology Times editorial adviser and consulting professor of dermatology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. Questions may be submitted via email to zdraelos@northstate.net
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