Expert Q+A

I always end up getting ingrown hairs and irritation when I shave my neck. Is there a trick to comfortably shaving this area?

ANSWER:

The skin and hair under your chin deserves extra attention when you shave, because it’s different from the skin and hair on your face.

First off, the skin on your neck is thinner than the skin on your face, so it may be more prone to irritation. When you shave, use light strokes so you don’t put too much pressure on your neck. It’s also a good idea to wash your neck with warm water before shaving. The water not only removes dirt, but also softens up the bristles so they can be cut more easily by the razor. Once you finish shaving, don’t forget to moisturize; it will replenish your skin’s natural fats and water levels after they’ve been diminished by the washing and shaving processes.

Unlike the hair on your face, the hair on your neck tends to grow in several different directions. This can pose a challenge to shavers, and it can lead to irritation and ingrown hairs. Do your best to shave in the direction of hair growth. For me, this means starting at the jaw line and shaving downward. If you see a swirl of hair growing in different directions somewhere on your neck, do your best to follow the growth patterns. Shave lightly when you get to those areas and be mindful that shaving against the grain may give you a closer shave, but it can also lead to more irritation later.

Lastly, what should you do when you find ingrown hairs in your beard? If you can, gently lift the hair from the skin’s surface using a clean needle. Make sure, of course, that your skin is clean as well! Plucking the hair out may lead to more problems, so don’t remove the hair completely. Once the edge of the hair has been cleared from the skin, you can go ahead and shave as usual. -- Reviewed by Craig the Barber, a skin- and hair-care expert who specializes in men of all ethnicities, and the editor in chief of the grooming blog TheMensRoom.com.

About the Expert

Dr. Josh Zeichner

Dr. Josh Zeichner is a certified dermatologist and the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

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