Razor Rash Dilemma – with pics

Discussion in 'Shave Clinic & Newbie Check-In' started by Grumpy Typewriter, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Here's one for the Shave Clinic. While my shaving results are better since I switched to DE shaving, and I'm enjoying the art of shaving, my razor rash still rears its angry head up occasionally. I would really appreciate any advice people have.

    I started on B&B and DE shaving because after 25 or so years of irregular razor rash I thought I would look on the net and see if I could find a solution; that was a bit more than a year ago. Over the years, my razor rash would appear without any rhyme or reason; it was the unreliability of it which was the most annoying. For a big night out or if I was going to a wedding for example, I'd shave the evening or day before in case it didn't go well. If I didn't, sometimes it looked like my throat was bleeding (sometimes it was ).

    Using the B&B method of describing "quadrants", the razor rash would, and still does occasionally, appear in quadrants 3 & 4 where the hair growing in different directions meets.

    Last Summer while I was on holidays (including from shaving) I took a couple of photos of my facemap over the course of a week. I have to say this was a very valuable exercise and helped clarify a bunch of issues I was having. I *thought* I knew which way the growth was headed but it wasn't until I got a proper perspective from these pics did a few things drop into place.

    I'm still using my beginner gear and I'm quite happy with it: a Merkur 34D, a Vulfix Pure Badger Hair Shaving Brush #849 and TOBS Sandalwood Shaving Soap, the one in the wooden container which is lasting ages, six months and still going.

    Some of my immediate observations from the photos:

    • I realised in Qs.3 & 4, shaving N-S is basically against the grain for the bottom half of these quadrants – (sound of penny dropping) thus the razor rash. Because of this I've taken to trying to split them up into a top and bottom half. Unfortunately it's still about trying to work out what to do where they meet. And the degree of difficulty is the hair is basically going horizontal from the centre heading east and west respectively.
    • I can achieve BBS but often it's accompanied razor rash in Qs 3 & 4.
    • Taking a photo of the underside on one's chin is one of the most unflattering angles possible, for anyone...
    • … that said, it did show me the origin of the directional growth around my Adam's apple which was valuable.
    • One of the main changes I made because of these shots was in order to go WTG in Q 1 & 2, I've taken to starting with under my nose and working from the centre to my ear on each side. As we like to say around here, YMMV and this works for me. I'm a lefty and previously I used to start under my left sideburn and work towards the middle. Similarly, for Q 3 & 4 I start under my chin and work out to the sides.

    Enough from me, photos are below. If anyone has more advice I'd love to hear it.

    Apologies for the long post.

    Paul (Grumpy Typewriter)

    Q 3 - Day 3
    $Q.3 - Day 3.JPG

    Q 3 - Day 5
    $Q.3 - Day 5.JPG

    Q 4 - Day 3
    $Q.4 - Day 3.JPG

    Q 4 - Day 5
    $Q.4 - Day 5.JPG
  2. Further to the post above, there's a limit of 5 photos with each post. Below are the pics from the Underside as mentioned:

    Underside - Day 3
    $Underside - Day 3.JPG

    Underside - Day 5
    $Underside - Day 5.JPG

    Underside - where directional growth meets.
    $Underside - Two Halves.JPG

    Thanks again,

  3. The first thing that comes to mind is that you're using too much pressure. I went through the same thing when I first started DE shaving. Back off on any pressure, just allow the weight of the razor to do the cutting. You may think that you're not using much, but you probably are. Irritation and redness are a good indication of pressure. Also for now don't try for a really close shave, just go for a presentable shave until your technique develops.
  4. It most likely is not enough prep. Moisture has made the biggest difference for me. Yes taking a shower, soap, hot towel, and pre-lather have helped. But also even more water in my lather has really helped my redness. Right now I'm on vacation and shaving at night so I don't take to long in the mornings to go somewhere. I splash water on my face and hand lathered (usually bowl lather) And I notice that my razor skips a bit and also I get some redness. This just tells me that its lack of water. Water, water, water.
  5. ackvil

    ackvil Moderator Contributor

    Paul, the beard pattern on your neck is not that much different from what I have on mine. Some good advice above. In addition, my advice is as follows.

    First, limit the number of passes you do on your neck. I use only four and if I don't get a BBS shave on my neck, I just settle for less. The more you go over the same spot the more you increase your irritation.

    Second, hydration is important to get a lubricating lather. So be sure to have sufficient water in your lather. Also, don't cheat on the product. I usually then make an Uberlather cream. I have found that making Uberlather which contains glycerin has been beneficial to me.

    Third, I also use a pre-shave oil. I use either my own recipe or T&H pre shave oil. I have a very thick, wiry beard. Plus I have sensitive skin. I have been using pre-shave oil for years. Pre shave oil is designed to give your skin an added layer of protection prior to apply a shaving soap or cream lather. The additional benefits of pre-shave oil are that it moisturizes the skin and protects your skin from razor burn or irritation. Pre-shave oil is one of those things that is an individual thing. Some find it helpful and some don't. For me, it has resulted in a better, closer shave without irritation.

    Fourth, I have found it helpful to wet my face before each pass. The extra water on my face seems to make my shave smoother.

    Finally, irritation usually is caused by poor blade angle and too much pressure on the razor. The neck is a tricky area to shave because keeping the right blade angle and little pressure is a challenge. The usual advice is to let the weight of the razor do the job - not put pressure on the blade. To put that in action I have found that using the two fingers and my thumb to hold the razor with another finger resting on the tip of the handle. This results in holding the razor very lightly with no pressure on the razor. You want to hold the razor as lightly as you can without it falling from your hand. I have found that using the right grip on your razor goes a long way in keeping pressure off of the blade. This post may help you. Also, take a look at this wiki.

    As for blade angle here is a good post that may help you.
  6. Thanks Gents, all advice above noted with much appreciation. I'm not at home at the moment so I'll check out the links later today.

    To date I've been a face latherer. Over on the GSL Forum there's a link to a guy in Tasmania who makes scuttles – I've been thinking about picking one up/smuggling one into the house. In the interim I'll get a bowl and try lathering in that. I'll also pick up some pre-shave oil and give that a go.

    I normally do two passes in the morning. If I do a third it's only below my jaw – generally speaking it's a DFS for closeness but then the redness arcs up. With the idea of the Four Pass Shave Method in mind when I think about a 'simple' WTG pass it sometimes feels like I'm trying to map out a synoptic chart below my jawline, either side of my throat particularly.

    @Ackvil - Under your jaw [Q.3 & 4] for a WTG pass, do you shave in a single line from your chin to ear? Presently, I've tried to follow the grain by using shorter 45 degree downward strokes from my jaw to about half way down my throat; starting at my chin working back up to my ear. Pre-B&B everything was in the opposite direction from ear to chin in a single movement.

    Again, apologies for the number of photos in this post but it was easier than describing facemap patterns. It's not often I get past a three day growth day-to-day (ie. Friday to Sunday) and three days or less is what I normally shave but the facemap pattern became more evident after five. I took the photos last January but after a particularly *undesirable shave* last week I thought to revisit them which made me want to address this properly, thus this post.

    Thanks again.
  7. I personally feel..at some point..you should jump into straights..helps for those with coarse and sensitive skin like mine...stick with the blade n razor..soap/cream and brush that works..for a while :)
  8. no rash to me, just little moles----you should not have any problems, with DE or straights
  9. Someone's been reading the Four Pass Shave thread, huh? :biggrin1:

    Forget all that junk about quadrants and sectors and whatever. More newbs have been completely confused by that thread than anything else around here. Your beard changes direction all over the place, just think about the next square inch you're about to shave and how you're going to adjust your stroke to follow the specific grain there. Much easier to handle that way, and it soon becomes second nature.
  10. SHAVE THE WAY YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO, there s no Rules to it
  11. ackvil

    ackvil Moderator Contributor

    Unlike others, when I go ATG I follow the quadrants on my neck. Actually, I don't do a WTG pass on my neck - but rather do a S to N pass, N to S pass and then do an ATG pass for each quadrant. I then do touch ups on my neck, if needed.
  12. Chris - I read the Four Pass Shave thread when I first joined here, I brought it up here more as a facemap description method. What it did put me onto was thinking about shaving WTG, XTG and ATG in a specific order for minimum irritation.

    Jim - I might give S-N first pass a try on the bottom half of my throat. Crazy enough, it just might work....
  13. Your neck pattern looks pretty similar to mine. I still occasionally struggle w/ the neck irritation, but have reduced it significantly w/ the help of B&B. Some things I have found:

    - Prep is essential. I'm a pre oil guy for sure (personally I like the home-made concoction best, see ackvil's reference above). In fact, before I do my ATG on the neck, I'll dry it off & re-apply a dash of more PSO before wetting & applying more lather.
    - Pressure is the enemy. I have to constantly check myself from getting in to old bad habits (ref. dark days of carts) of pushing down too much. Often it seems you aren't even doing anything, but believe me, you are.
    - Use a sharp blade. For me, it won't matter how good my prep & such is, if I use a Derby in my Futur, it is a disaster. Change that out for a Feather or Med Prep, much more smooth.
    - Mapping - you obviously have done this. I used to think I was going WTG on the neck, but in spots it was the total opposite. [No wonder I had some early blood-baths...] For me, WTG is N-S above jaw, Adam's apple to ear below (immediately below chin, though, it is more N-S). XTG is ear to chin above, S-N below. ATG is S-N above, ear to Adam's apple below. There's one spot just to the side of the Adam apple that is funky - I hit it last w/ a N-S very light stroke & that cleans it up.
  14. One thing that I find helps, is to go slower. I don't know the reasoning behind this, but I find that if I make my strokes slow and deliberate, there is less irritation.
  15. @ Jim (and everyone else) - BTJ [below the jawline] this morning I went with a S-N first off, till at least halfway up. I think this did the trick:biggrin1:. Coupled with lighter pressure and slower speed and being v.v.careful... Pretty sure this is going to nail the problem :thumbup:. Another notch in the grand tradition of YMMV.

    Thanks again to all.
  16. My neck pattern is just like yours. I divide my neck in half and shave N - S from chin to mid-neck and S - N from bottom of neck to middle of neck. For my second pass I reverse it. For the 3rd I go from ear to chin (AtG). If i get any irritation it is from the 3rd pass or any touch I try if I feel like chasing the BSS. I've recently taken to dialing my Progress back to 1 for the 3rd pass and touch ups in an attempt to reduce irritation.
  17. This is not so much how to prevent, but how to soothe.

    I've been doing good for weeks. But 2 days ago a combination of new (to me) razor (pre-WWII Tech) and new blade (Derby- I thought they were supposed to be smooth?), plus my own haste, not only cut me, but really BURNED one of my cheeks.

    Should have done it right away, but the evening after I applied witch hazel, then Nivea AS balm, then Corn Husker's. That combo was no doubt overkill, but it put most of the fire to bed almost instantly. Shaved this morning- very carefully- and followed it with the same treatment. The burn is feeling much better.

  18. Good to see another English BT owner on here as well :) Love my little clown.

    Anyways I'm kinda going through the same thing and as stated water and pressure are your friend and enemy! Try some uberlather and make sure you get it nice and slick. Also I'm finding less is more while I have this pressure problem and only doing 2 passes. I think more would be better once it is sorted out, but in the meantime I feel like I get less irritation from less passes.. if that makes sense.
  19. +1 on using witch hazel. Also you should settle with DFS and not BBS. With my aggressive razors, I don't go ATG. ATG passes are more likely the cause skin irritation. It looks to me that you have ingrown hairs or acne. Proactive does wonders.
  20. ackvil

    ackvil Moderator Contributor

    Glad it's starting to work for you. :thumbup:

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