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Problem area - at 50x

The trouble with a new toy is that you want to play with it. This week my new toy is an Aven 26700-300 ZipScope, a cheap USB microscope. I have already posted some close-ups of blades. Those were not very good because the scope can only do about 50x, but perhaps somewhat informative anyway. Then I posted some close-ups of brushes, which might be a little more interesting. Then I started looking at my own stubble. As a courtesy to all concerned I shifted the images to B&W. In full color it looked like a crime scene. All the same... I think spoiler tags are in order.

The first image is from my chin, about eight hours after a very nice shave with La Toja and a Captain CS blade (4). The results were about as close to BBS as I ever get. Even at 50x this area looks reasonable. The hair is densest there, and on my upper lip. It is easy to see the dark hairs under the skin, and that is an area where I have a beard shadow. The direction of growth seems reasonably consistent. Some hairs were cut cleanly enough that I can spot the cuticle and the medulla. On the other hand there are some trapped hairs, and some hairs that were not cut as cleanly as I might like. But it looks pretty good for the fourth shave with a carbon-steel blade, plus eight hours of growth.



Then I looked at one of my problem areas, just a few inches away underneath the chin. Things look much different here. The overall density is probably a bit lower, but the follicles seem to come in twins and triplets. One of them looks like four hairs growing together in one unit. Some of the cut ends look more like they were gnawed off, or shattered. I suppose that makes sense: all that clear space around dense little groups of follicles makes for a completely different kind of shaving. Imagine cutting down a sapling with an axe. Now imagine the saplings are clustered so close together that your axe always hits two or three at once. No wonder that area can stop dull blades in their tracks.


Assuming the mods do not ban me for posting these images, I may check the same areas again tomorrow. It looks like my next shave will use a new Feather. I doubt my face will feel any smoother, but the results may look quite a bit different at this level.
 
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Nice work. Keep playing with your new toy. I'm curious. Did you note the direction of the final pass in relation to the orientation of the photos?
 
Thanks for sharing some very "intimate" shots.

The variance in "cutting angle" appears great between the two areas; not a critique of technique mate, just based on the different edges of the stubble revealed in the pics.

Extraordinary actually...!
 
Thickie question: how did you get your neck on the slide? :biggrin1:

I have to get one of those! Not for the ol' bod (although, come to think of it -a whole new world), but it'll make my spiderphilia day!
 
hmm I seem to notice the same thing .. on the neck area i have some places with 2-3 hairs stuck together
 
Occasionally I'll get a very thick whisker. I mean like an old oak in a field of saplings thick. It happens every four or five months and it seems like they're in the same spot. Once I feel one I HAVE to get rid of it or it'll itch. Great timing as I shaved last night and had one on my chin. I applied a little pressure and it literally pulled right out. It was easily four times as thick as my normal whiskers. It was between an eighth and a quarter inch long total. What in the world causes this? It drives me nuts. Luckily it's only a couple times a year.
 
Thanks, gents. Time for some multiquote....

I'm curious. Did you note the direction of the final pass in relation to the orientation of the photos?

Not really, sorry. The scope is handheld so I cannot even promise that the top of the image points north. Both areas would get S-N for the third pass, possibly with a little blade buffing.

The variance in "cutting angle" appears great between the two areas; not a critique of technique mate, just based on the different edges of the stubble revealed in the pics.

That might be due to blade buffing - but I think most of us find it difficult to control blade angle under the chin.

Thickie question: how did you get your neck on the slide? :biggrin1:

I have to get one of those! Not for the ol' bod (although, come to think of it -a whole new world), but it'll make my spiderphilia day!



For these images I found it easiest to simply remove the scope from the stand. Once I had the focus roughly correct I could fine-tune it via pressure on the scope. The scope has a shutter button, but I used a software shutter via the "ProScope HR" software. That was a separate download from another company, because Aven does not support OS X. But it seems to work well enough.

Occasionally I'll get a very thick whisker. I mean like an old oak in a field of saplings thick. It happens every four or five months and it seems like they're in the same spot. Once I feel one I HAVE to get rid of it or it'll itch. Great timing as I shaved last night and had one on my chin. I applied a little pressure and it literally pulled right out. It was easily four times as thick as my normal whiskers. It was between an eighth and a quarter inch long total. What in the world causes this? It drives me nuts. Luckily it's only a couple times a year.

I am not sure if it is exactly the same thing, but I have one or two follicles that produce extra-thick hairs. I generally pluck them when I find them, because they seem to be structurally weak. So if they get trapped, they have a hard time pushing through the skin again. This thread has some discussion of similar problems: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/12466-Occasional-Mutant-Facial-Hair. Apparently they are called "pili multigemini" follicles, and they are supposed to be rare. Their incidence on B&B seems a little more common to be "rare", but then many of us came here in the first place because of shaving problems.

Again I am not sure if mine are really pili multigemini, but next time I have the chance I will examine one of those hairs with the scope.
 
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I figured out how to do 200x, or somewhere close. The only adjustment mechanism is the focus knob, but if you keep going past the focus point it eventually reaches the next point. From imaging a 1-mm line on my analog calipers I think it is pretty close to 200x. The image is a little blurry, but this may give you an idea of the scale.



Here is a Feather blade edge after one shave: I think I can already see some damage to the blade edge and to the coating, but 200x seems to be barely adequate for this.



Now for the stubble, this time roughly four hours after shaving with that blade edge and a La Toja stick. It would be great if I could find the same areas repeatably, but these are more in the way of random samples.

This first shot shows some nice, easy hair and a minor miracle of wet-shaving. The cut tips are just inside the hair canal. This means the wet lather did its job, swelling the hair so more of it would be exposed to the blade. The feather cut it close to skin level, but then the hair shrank back to its normal size and retreated a little way under the surface. It might have also recoiled a bit from my liberal application of Veg.


Next we have a group of flat-growing hairs. The NEW and the feather managed to catch two of them, but a third is a fraction of a mm above the skin and probably one dormant under the skin, just below it. A little more blade-buffing might have caught the straggler, but with a new feather I tend to be cautious. Anyway the the shaft of the hair is still clearly visible under the surface, giving me a permanent shadow. So there is no point over-shaving.


On the left side of the next image there are a couple hairs, close together. On the right is something unsettling: two or three hairs are growing out of one place, and just emerging from a flake of skin. According to http://www.pgbeautygroomingscience.com/assets/files/Stereoimaging of Trapped Hairs.pdf these trapped hairs happen to everyone, especially on the neck. But some are more prone to it than others, and in extreme cases these become ingrowns. Despite present appearances, this one should be fine.


Finally here are two hairs, both growing almost flat against the skin. The topmost appears to be a cut hair under the surface, either trapped or not growing right now. If it does start growing it will have to force its way out, or become an ingrown. Below is what looks like a recently freed hair: I think that circle around it would have been skin trapping it in place. The tip of the hair seems to be tapered, implying that it is near the beginning of its growth phase. I am not quite sure how to explain that, but perhaps a telogenic hair was trapped here just before the new anagenic hair emerged.

 
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Excellent thread mblakele and thanks for taking your time do take these pictures and post about them. Where else would you find such research but in B&B!
 
Couple of the lads just walked past my desk, looked and commented how I am taking this wet shaving caper "...far too seriously, Paul."

They. Have. No. Idea.
 
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