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African American Male Facial Care Tips

Updated on September 1, 2015

Men of all races often endure the same issues when it comes to facial hair care. African American men, however, need to take extra precautions so certain issues do not become bigger ones. The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that black men have body hairs that are predominantly wiry and curly. This means that after he's shaved, the hair follicles are more likely to curve back and re-enter the skin as they grow. Irritation and razor bumps occur from this. In-grown hairs are another issue that can arise from the hair growing the wrong way. Instead of re-entering the skin, an in-grown hair doesn't even emerge from the surface of the skin, but instead coils underneath. If not taken care of properly, it can get infected.

These kinds of issues can cause major discomfort in the neck and facial area. It also can affect black men for years at a time if not handled properly or prevented altogether. Prevention is key. As you read further, we'll discuss various methods to protect yourself from experiencing these issues.

Use a one bladed razor, preferably not a disposable one. If the shave is too close, there is a higher possibility for razor bumps. Don't forget to make sure that razor is sharp! If you are using a dull razor then it will force you to go over the same area of skin multiple times. This in itself can cause irritation. After about five uses you should discard the blade. This goes for any type of razor you cut your hair with, including electric razors. Electric razors, however, are at least good for a few months. So you don't have to discard those or rather change them as often.

If you can, try not to shave too much. Ideally you want to shave every other day. If that is not a possibility for you, then make sure you definitely don't shave too close. Exfoliation plays a huge role in this process. Using a gentle exfoliant helps to remove the top layer of dead skin, which allows the hair to grow more easily.

When you shave you always want to go in the direction of the hair growth when using a manual razor. Shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth seems to get a closer shave, but going with the hair growth gives less irritation. Remember, you don't want too close of a shave! However, if you are using an electric razor you can go against the grain. The only reason you can do this is because there is no blade dragging against the skin and cutting the follicle beneath the skin layer. Going against the grain will ensure you get the closest shave possible without getting too close.

Also, do not pull your skin taut when shaving. This increases your risks of having in-grown hairs. Softening the hairs before shaving helps to keep the irritation at a minimum. You can do this by massaging warm water into the beard area, as well as applying a lubricating shaving cream. You only have to let it sit on your face for a couple of minutes prior to shaving.

I cannot stress enough, RESIST THE URGE TO PLUCK THAT IN-GROWN HAIR! I know it is a hard urge to fight, but it is crucial that you do. There will just be another hair that grows in its place with that same issue. Most often when someone has an in-grown hair, they will take a needle-like point and try to release it that way. If you can't do this yourself, your doctor will.

It's not only important to treat in-grown hairs because they are painful, but also because they can be damaging to the pigment. Taking care of the issue immediately and using a Retinoid can help with the pigmentation that occurs.

After you shave that gorgeous face of yours, the next step is to put a solution on it. It is good to use things that are hydrating like witch hazel, tea tree extract and aloe. Some things you read will say to stay away from drying solutions like alcohol, but I can tell you that is not the case. Some people do not want to use alcohol because it is drying and can produce an "ashy" effect. Then others will use it because it works great. Alcohol is also good for sterilizing your razor blade before you use it.

If you decide to use alcohol on your skin after shaving, you can always moisturize later on. This is a matter of preference, as far as the after shave goes. You will have to find what is right for you.

Lastly, if you shave before you go to bed be careful about laying your face on a pillow. This could cause the hair to mash down and either grow into the skin or get pushed under the skin. If you absolutely have to shave at night, try to sleep with the back of your head on the pillow. It often is the small things we don't think about that makes a big difference.

Do you prefer shaving with a traditional razor or an electric razor?

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There clearly are not enough quality videos out there for black men when it comes to facial care. Below I have inserted a video, however, that will help on a few skin care tips. I think the overall thing to stress is moisturize.


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