6 tips for safe hair removal with atopic dermatitis
About 10 percent of people will develop atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema, in their lifetime, according to the National Eczema Association. The disease, which causes redness, itching and pain in the skin, affects both men and women, and its symptoms can make hair removal through shaving, waxing and laser treatments problematic for both sexes.
“Hair removal can irritate the skin because the skin surface is damaged during the process,” explains Sheila Farhang, MD, certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics in Tucson, Arizona. “Physical methods like shaving or waxing remove the surface layers of the skin, and chemical methods like using a depilatory can burn the skin.”
Despite these challenges, there are ways for people with eczema to safely remove unwanted hair without irritating the skin or triggering a flare-up. Here are the tips for safe waxing with eczema, with as little irritation as possible.
1. Hydrate and hydrate the skin. “Moistening and moisturizing beard hairs, for example, before shaving can make the hairs softer and easier to shave,” notes Beth goldstein, MD, at the Central Dermatology Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “Hot water can dry out the skin, so using lukewarm water – either applied to the skin with a towel for a few minutes before shaving, or moistening the area you want to shave for a few minutes in the shower – can be done. useful.”
2. Exfoliate if possible. Gently exfoliate the skin after moisturizing it to keep it healthy and less prone to damage and irritation from shaving, recommend Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist certified by Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “Physical exfoliation with a gentle scrub or chemical exfoliation with a toner or cleanser containing glycolic acid or another alpha hydroxy acid is excellent because it decreases the risk of the skin covering the area where the hair is. grow, ”she says.
3. Take a razor. Like waxing and depilatories, shaving with a razor can also irritate already inflamed skin. Still, most dermatologists recommend shaving over other methods. “Depilatory creams and waxing are more likely to cause irritation in people with sensitive skin,” says Dr. King. “These creams contain strong chemicals and you can really hurt your skin, especially if you leave the product on for too long.” For best results, Drs. Goldstein and King recommend you:
- Be sure to use a razor with a sharp blade and replace the blades regularly.
- Keep razor blades as clean and disinfected as possible to avoid infection.
- Shave in one direction – following the direction the hair grows rather than “going against the grain” to get a closer shave. It can help you avoid further skin irritation.
- Try an electric razor. Electric razors don’t give a close shave, which can lead to painful ingrown hairs and further irritate eczema patches.
4. Use products intended for shaving. While soap and lukewarm water seem like a good idea, stick to products specially formulated for shaving. When you have eczema, “it’s important to use a shaving cream or foam because when you shave, you also shave the outermost layers of the skin,” notes King. “If you don’t use a good product with emollients and occlusives (moisturizers) to protect and hydrate the skin, you can end up with abrasions and irritation, which can only make eczema worse.” King recommends shaving products containing coconut oil, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid “to soften the hair and provide optimal glide for a comfortable shave.” Be sure to check labels for products that are fragrance-free, soap-free, and suitable for sensitive skin, she adds.
5. Hydrate a little more. After shaving, hydration is essential. “One of the best things you can do for eczema-prone skin is keep it hydrated,” says Farhang. “It starts with your daily shower and a soothing shower gel designed with dermatologists for sensitive skin. Long-lasting hydration improves the skin barrier, which can help future flare-ups to be less severe. You also want to hydrate from the inside out, so make sure you stay on top of your water intake and drink the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. King also suggests using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone topical cream, as needed, to help soothe shaving irritation, as well as an emollient to keep the skin soft. However, before using these products, talk to your dermatologist to make sure they are right for you.
6. If possible, try laser treatment. While laser hair removal can be expensive, Farhang, Goldstein, and King all agree that for people with atopic dermatitis, it is also one of the safest and least expensive hair removal options. invasive. “The most definitive solution is to get rid of the hair, either by laser hair removal or by electrolysis,” says King.