Hello Everyone

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by Truckman, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. Long time lurker, first time poster...

    The old Bic disposable double blade used to tear my face up something fierce, so I switched to electric. That wasn't much better, but I didn't bleed as much (although I left more hair...) Then the Mach III came out and I switched back to "wet shaving", using the Gillette Sensitive Skin foam, then switching to the same in gel form. I had also learned of following the direction of beard growth (WTG) and my shaves became much nicer as far as level of irritation goes. I had resigned myself to the fact that I could never be smooth (BBS?)- just look that way. Of course when the Fusion came out, I jumped right on board... 5 is better than 3, right? Although I got a closer shave with the Fusion my face was slightly more irritated. That eventually passed as my face grew accustomed to the Fusion and I learned not to mash so much with it. The cartridges were so darned expensive though that I switched back to the Mach III. Then my wife came home one day with the new Fusion that vibrated and had different blades (the cartridge was the same but the "comfort strip" was different), and the Fusion Shaving Gel for sensitive skin. A few days later I shaved WTG then ATG to try and get super smooth for our anniversary. That was the start of my semi-serious problems. This would be about a year ago this month. My face started itching, mostly on my left neck just under my jaw line, however no part of my face was immune. Then the redness started a few days later, followed by extremely dry flaky skin. After trying several different home and OTC remedies with very little success, I finally sought out medical advice from my physician. He told me it was eczema and prescribed Triamcinolone Acetonide. I apply it always after I shave, and only about 50% of the time I don't shave. Every time I've discontinued use after shaving my symptoms return within a few days. Today I didn't use it and I already notice minor itching. I've tried going back to my old setup to no avail; I've tried removing the "comfort strips" to no avail; and I've tried various different combinations in between including using just soap in the shower to shave (very difficult without a proper mirror). The doctor says once a flare up starts, there's no telling when (or if) it will ever go away - just keep using the cream.

    My Current Routine/Setup:
    Aveeno Shave Gel for super sensitive skin (the peach colored cap, not blue)
    Gillette Fusion (soon to be Mach III again as soon as these cartridges run out)
    Triamcinolone Acetonide
    L'Oreal Men's Expert Shave Balm

    I use about 1 cartridge/week. Due to my schedule I shave 4 days in a row, off 2 days, shave 3rd day, off 1 day, then back to the 4 days in a row...it just repeats itself like that

    Wake up
    Wet face with warm water
    Work Aveeno Gel into a lather in my hands then apply to face
    Shave WTG N-S right side to jaw line in 3-4 passes from ear to lip, left side same, mustache, chin, N-S from jaw line to mid-horizontal line on neck from far left to far right, Adam's apple S-N, then from mid-vertical line E-W on left and W-E on right. I hope that makes sense.
    Apply Triamcinolone Acetonide
    Let dry while finish getting ready
    Apply L'Oreal Shave balm

    RECENTLY CHANGED (ideas from lurking here): Shower 1st, don't dry face, apply hotter water, and add more water to the Aveeno gel.
    Result: a nicer, smoother shave which seems to be closer, and less irritation.

    So, with that out of the way....

    1. Has anyone here had similar issues and did it ever clear up for you?

    2. If yes to #1, what did the trick for you (yes, I know YMMV)?

    3. I'm not concerned with BBS, as long as I look clean shaven for work. Do you think DE and the more traditional wet shaving is appropriate to try out, or can I cause even more irritation?

    4. If it's a go, what super sensitive hypo-allergenic products can you recommend for a novice?

    I think that's about it for now...lol. Sorry for the novel. I'm afraid I may have gone into information overload.... :blushing:
  2. netsurfr

    netsurfr Vendor

    First, welcome to the forum! Glad to have you aboard.
    In your post you talked about learning to shave with the grain. Something else you should do is to map your face to learn what the actual grain is on different parts of your face. It varies a lot between individuals. Use this as a mapping to take your first pass with the grain and the next couple of passes across the grain in different directions. I would really avoid shaving against the grain given your sensitive skin.

    As far as a soap, I highly recommend Momma Bear's Essential Oil soaps. If you think that the essential oils might be a problem, then Sue has a soap with no fragrance or essential oils in it that you could use.

    After your shave, I would recommend that you use Witchhazel. The drugstore brand will have some alcohol content. You can purchase a brand from Thayers that has no alcohol and has other healing components such as aloe vera.

    Hope this helps...
  3. Hello. welcome, I am tired today.
  4. View attachment 28968 View attachment 28969

    Welcome to the B&B. It's all guesswork on our part of course especially since you developed an actual medical condition. My suggestions are change soaps/creams. Aveeno makes a good lotion, but I'm not sure about the efficacy of their shave products. Didn't know they had any in fact. Try a nice triple milled soap like Tabac or MWF. Or try the Van Der Hagen glycerin soap found at most drugstores. These all require you get a brush of course. Also you must dump the Fusion I think. Those five blades are just too harsh for your face. Maybe even try a Trak II instead of the Mach 3. I think I would make that switch right now and just eat the cost of dumping your existing Fusion cartridges. Chalk it up to live and learn. You know the rest. Good prep, slow, even strokes w/ mild pressure. Finish off with a soothing balm like Nivea or Toms. Good luck. Keep us posted.
  5. Welcome Aboard Truckman,

    Enjoy the shaves!
  6. Welcome to B&B sir!!
  7. Welcome to our little corner of the web.
  8. Welcome to B&B

    I think a DE will provide you as good or better a shave then you are getting now with less irritation once you learn proper technique, however on the various creams as mentioned perhaps e-mail one of the soap makers and get there opinion it may end up being trial and error but with so many good products to try you should be able to find something and have fun doing it.
  9. Welcome to the mix!
  10. I think an immediate switch to a DE razor is needed here. Try finding a Knife Shop at a local mall as they have Merkur razors, what kind they don't know (open comb) or shop online to get one. Or go to an antique shop and look for a Gillette SS or adjustable. Just get rid of your current set up. The Knife Shop also carries Col. Conk. products such as shaving soap (the ones here have only the Amber) and the shaving brush. The brush is about $55. Online you can buy less expensive one like the C&E BBB. You can also buy a cheap boar brush at WallyWorld to get started. I have an old Surrey boar I used for years before upgrading to a badger.
    But most importantly, GET RID OF YOUR RAZOR!!
    My biggest problem for years was the razor itself. I would have horrible razor burns on my face, especially on my upper lip. It would be red for hours. Even with wetshaving, while that helped a little, it wouldn't go away. Until finally not to long ago I switched to back to DE shaving (it's how I learned years ago). My face is finally happy.
    I think that once you do that one little thing, and learn how to shave with it, your eczema will probably clear up. I'm basing that on the information you've given us since it seems that your skin problem is directly related to your shaving experience.
    That and definately change your shaving cream to something more natural like Kiss My Face or Tom's Of Maine. After that you can experiment with other stuff. And acquire various soap and cream Aquisition Disorders like the rest of us have.
  11. I have to second the suggestion to use a traditional DE. Even before switching to a DE, I found that one of the best razors for me was the Bic disposable with a single blade and no comfort strip. One blade is much better than 3 or 5!!! A straight also works well for me (I have very sensitive skin) as it allows me to control both blade pressure as well as angle. Straight shaving is a completely different animal than what you're used to though, and possibly more time and gear than you want to invest in.
  12. Alacrity59

    Alacrity59 Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    Hi and welcome.

    I've had similar problems with eczema cropping up over the years and been prescribed similar medication. Time and not futzing with my face seems to be the key. As you say YMMV I can just say what works for me.

    I never ever wash my face other than spraying it with water in the shower or putting a hot cloth on my face before shaving. You might want to try laying hot squeezed out face cloth on your face twice for about 30 seconds . . .especially on the spot where you are having trouble. Finding out the direction your beard grows in is very important . . . I thought my neck had half NS and half SN but it turned out when I actually took the time to figure it out it was more of NE NW SE SW in quarters. Going with the grain with little pressure should give very little if any irritation.

    Soap/Lather/Brushes etc.
    Growing up Dad had to find a nylon bristled brush . . . which back then was a specialty item where we lived. Badger and Boar hair would cause him to break out.

    Lather - some lather making products just tingle in a itchy way when they are on my face. I should probably avoid these but some I don't avoid because I like the smell or some other excuse . . . but if I get that itchy tingle I sure don't grind the lather into my face with my brush.

    I'm a big lather fan but I've also found that using shaving oil on my sensitive neck area before doing an ATG pass results in zero irritation and if it was not for the wonderful not itchy tingle I get from Proraso shaving cream and the wonderful feelings and scents of Momma Bear's soaps I would gladly use it for my entire face . . . and I have on occasion. (there is a neat thread on Oil Cleansing which I relate to this in my mind)

    I use Cromwell and Cruthers which is a Canadian brand. I think I read that Whole Foods, which I'm guessing is a chain, may carry something called the total shaving solution. You might wish to give this a try.

    Rinsing and Astringent
    Cold water . . . again I cannot scrub my skin. . . I just rinse very well.

    Witch Hazel . . . I love the stuff. For me just the regular drug store brand as I've not found Thayers in my neck of the woods. I'm a cheap bugger so a dime sized amount in my palm is about all I use.

    I also love using Proraso post shave but some folks are allergic to the menthol that is in it . . . poor sods . . . again just a very very small amount.

    I hardly used the stuff before I came back to DE shaving earlier this year and am starting to dig into stuff I've received for Christmas over the last 10 years. . . Funny thing is I've been enjoying Aqua Velva, Old Spice, Clubman Lilac Vegital . . . The folk here all love that last one :tongue:
  13. Welcome! I wouldn't be concerned about switching to a DE so quickly, I'd be more concerned about finding good products that don't irritate your face. It's trial and error. As I don't have that problem, I'll leave it to the others here to talk about mild creams and soaps.

    Cartridges are very expensive, each shave costs about a dollar. DE blades provide a smooth shave for five cents each. And it's fun to learn the techniques. But that may be for the future. Just keep reading here and having a good time.
  14. Welcome to B&B.

    I see you are getting some good advice.

    Yes, a DE can cause more irritation if used incorrectly. The cartridge razors require pressure to work effectively. Using pressure with a DE is asking for trouble, especially if you are using one of the more aggressive models.
  15. Welcome to B&B and enjoy!
  16. Wow! What a great response! Thanks for all the great advice....

    After reading the replies several times, I think I'll try switching over to DE. How does the Taylor's Avocado and Merkur HD sound as a starting setup? I'll also throw witch hazel (non-alcoholic) into my routine. Any blade recommendations? It seems the Merkur blades aren't too well liked around here, and suggestions seem to go towards getting the sampler packs. Maybe I'll just do that.

    Thanks again for the warm welcome.

    Time to start shopping...
  17. I started DE shaving a few months ago and have had great results with a Merkur Progress and Derby and Feather blades. I have tried Merkur, Personna, and Dorco blades and could not get as smooth a shave as the Derby and Feathers. The TOBS Avacado is fantastic, as is the TOBS Alomond and Rose. Good luck.
  18. Maybe I'm missing something, but why can't I find everything in one spot?

    Westcoast Shaving: Merkur Heavy Duty Safety Razor w/ Bar model 34C and Blade sample pack (Extended)

    Sesto-Senso (unless someone has a better suggestion): TOBS Avocado Shave Cream

    Crabtree & Evelyn: Edwin Jagger Cream Best Badger Brush Small

    Thayer's website (unless I can find it locally): witch hazel - is it just the Thayers Original Witch Hazel w/Aloe Vera Astringent?
  19. What fun would it be if you couldn't rack up $75 in shipping charges???
  20. also all the gas spent driving to C&E and the Vitamin Shoppe (they carry the Thayer's).....I'll just have to plan to leave for work earlier and swing in on my way down.....

Share This Page