Our skin can develop a host of different reactions to shaving. Depending on the area of the body being shaved, and the thickness of the hair, the skin can experience irritation, redness, and dark spots.
Dark spots can be visually unappealing and leave us with an unbalanced skin tone, so it’s always good to know exactly how to get rid of them if the situation arises. That’s where we come in.
Let’s discuss how to effectively minimize dark spots that are left behind after shaving.
What causes dark spots?
Dark spots are common and completely normal. Very rarely do they indicate the emergence of an undiagnosed medical condition, but if you are concerned with some dark spots that refuse to budge, talking to a doctor or qualified dermatologist may put you at ease.
Dark spots are essentially a reaction to skin irritation. More specifically, the act of shaving can increase the likelihood of ingrown hair, which then can lead to the appearance of dark spots. A shaving razor’s job is to cut hair as close to the skin as possible, however, sometimes the cut can leave the hair with a sharp edge. This sharp point can then get stuck under the skin, which restricts its growth in the pore. This causes stress to the skin and the hair becomes ingrown.
If you have sensitive skin and develop dark spots after shaving, check out our guide on how to best shave with sensitive skin.
Dark spots then appear due to a natural protective response from the skin. Since ingrown hair can bring bacteria into the skin and also cause inflammation, the body creates more melanin in order to try and fight it. This melanin is what leads to dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
How to get rid of dark spots
Now that we understand the cause, it’s time to get to work and get rid of these pesky dark spots. The key here lies in exfoliation and brightening the skin.
In order to minimize dark spots, the skin must be cleared of any muck and dirt that may be interfering with the natural healing process. Exfoliators, or scrubs, do a fantastic job of wiping away any problematic debris and any dead skin cells that have accumulated on the surface. Exfoliating regularly with products containing vitamin a, lactic acid, mandelic acid, and glycolic acid encourages healthy skin cell turnover that can assist in clearing up dark spots and areas of hyperpigmentation.
Additionally, combining exfoliators with brightening products will help to balance out the skin’s tone. Ingredients such as vitamin c, hydroquinone, and kojic acid are fantastic at this job, so look for brightening products that contain them.
Using exfoliators and brightening products on a regular basis to treat affected areas will usually give results after a few weeks.
How to prevent ingrown hairs in the future
That’s all well and good, but we find the best way to deal with dark spots is to take effective preventative measures so they don’t become a problem in the first place. In this regard, ensuring you’re doing everything possible to prevent developing ingrown hairs is the best way forward.
There are several ways of doing this. Firstly, as mentioned above, using exfoliators to clear the skin from dirt after shaving will hugely reduce the chances of ingrown hairs forming. Secondly, always shaving in the direction of hair growth is essential, as going against the grain will only increase the probability of skin irritation and ingrown hair.
Finally, using a gentle moisturizer while shaving can help prepare and protect the skin from damage. This moisturizer can come in cream, gel, or foam, but they will all do a good job. Pick the right type of product for your individual skin type, for example, if you have oily skin, a cream may be too rich, whereas a lighter gel would work well.
Dark spots are a natural bodily response when the skin becomes irritated or compromised. The best way to protect against them is to take greater care when shaving. Beyond that, following the advice above will usually be more than enough to severely reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.