The average man has more than 25,000 hairs as hard as copper wire coming out of his face and spends 3,000 hours in his lifetime shaving them off.
The Egyptians were the first to do it — to bathe several times a day and remove body hair, sometimes with a clam shell. (What is the Egyptian word for “ouch”?) But even though men have been shaving for thousands of years, a lot of us are still pretty bad at it. And despite wondrous breakthroughs in shaving technology — Waterproof cordless electric shavers! Four-bladed razors! — many guys still go to work with stubble and razor burn and bits of tissue staunching their daily shaving wounds. So what are we doing wrong? WebMD turned to some shaving experts to find out.
National Men's Health Week starts June 11, topped off by Father's Day on June 17, so it's a good time to give your man some good health advice. "Use sunscreen!" Research suggests that men are more likely to get skin cancer than women.
Also, get the checkups every man needs to ensure a healthy heart, prostate, and colon.
Roxanne Griego, administrator and director of the Arizona Board of Barbers, has been a barber for 32 years and followed her father and grandfather into the profession. The first step in shaving, she tells WebMD, is to prepare the surface of the skin. “You want to remove the hair while preserving the skin's integrity,” she says. “Massaging in the cream or shaving soap plumps up the muscle called the erector pili, which pushes the hair up, kind of like gooseflesh. This also releases skin-softening oils from underneath the skin. What you want is to push the hair up and soften it so you can cut it off in one cold snap.”
A lot of people, she adds, don't follow the instructions on the creams or soaps, or the creams and soaps do not have adequate instructions. You need to heat the skin and then massage in the soap. “Work it in, form an emulsion,” she advises.
“Shaving in the shower is good,” says David E. Bank, MD, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY. “Keep the water on the warmer side. You can even put a hot, wet towel over your face for a few minutes — like in those Westerns, where guys sit in the barber chair under a towel.”