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Real Talk for Women With Alopecia: Tips for Shaving Your Head

Posted by Thea Chassin

August 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM

headblade-pink-alopecia-436883-editedWe talked last week about why some women with alopecia might need to shave their head and what they should be thinking about when considering. Shaving your head certainly isn't for everyone, but if it's for you, here are some "pro tips" to make it as pleasant an experience as possible.

Choosing the Right Razor

First of all, never skimp on the quality of the blades and know how to prepare your scalp!

Ideally, use a blade holder that’s designed to shave a rounded shape like the HeadBlade® (full disclosure, Todd Greene and HeadBlade.com are supporters of the Bald Girls Do Lunch organization, though I’ve loved and used the HeadBlade® product line since way before).

  • That cheap disposable for your legs is going to be frustrating  and prone to cut you, not to mention produce a less than close shave.
  • Your partner’s electric razor? That won’t cut it either unless you’re going for the shadow look.

Advanced technology really does make a difference. The HeadBlade® is one such product that’s designed to maintain close contact with the scalp following the contours of your head. Lubricated blade edges keep the process safe and smooth even after the first pass of shave gel is removed. With this technology, my own experience is that my random hairs come off safely (no nicks ever) and for me there are two more important features: 

  1. I can tell what areas I’ve already gone over and
  2. I can do it in record time.

The kinesthetic sense of having my hand close to my head makes all the difference compared with holding a wobbly, long-handled handled razor several inches off my head.

Preparing the Scalp for a Shave

One of our BGDL medical advisors, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City offers skin tips! (Excerpted with permission from Dr. Zeichner’s 2010 Get Better Skin series, A Dermatologist’s Guide to Shaving and Skincare an educational blog for Gillette).

Understanding Shaving and Understanding Skin

In shaving, a razor actually removes a thin layer of dead cells on the surface of the skin. Lighter strokes could potentially result in less trauma to the skin surface. Shaving with too much pressure will take off excess skin and cause irritation.

Razors themselves exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation is a process of removing dead cells from the surface of the skin, exposing new, healthy skin cells below. 

Follow-up post shave: post-shaven, exfoliated skin is sensitive and should be treated with an after shave moisturizer.

One blade, two blades, three blades or more?

With more blades the razor has more contact points onto the skin; therefore the pressure is distributed in small amounts over a wider area. With multiple blades that are close together, there is less bulging of the skin between blades and reduced friction across the skin. 

Preparing your skin: Generally, use warm water prior. (Thea’s tip: Drenching your scalp in the shower feels great. While you may not have hairs to lather up, do indulge in luscious, aromatic shampoos and body wash to start the day!). Warm water opens the pores and softens the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. Liberally rinse the skin to remove any residual shaving products.

Note: This advice is for general interest and is designed to support, not replace the relationship nor the advice you get from your medical professionals.

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Topics: women living with alopecia, skin and alopecia, shaving your head