Can Shaving Cause Hyperpigmentation (Make Your Skin Darker)?

Can Shaving Cause Hyperpigmentation (Make Your Skin Darker)?
January 18, 2022 Dr Tali Arviv
In Blog
A woman shaves her legs

Shaving hyperpigmentation is a common problem. Recognizable by its telltale dark spots and blotches, it can make you wonder if you should take a razor to your skin again. If you’re wondering, “Does shaving cause hyperpigmentation?”, you’re certainly not the only one. You don’t have to discontinue shaving altogether, but you should know your options for correcting dark areas on your skin. And yes, you can stop it from developing or getting worse — keep reading to find out more.

Understanding Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation results from excess melanin production. When injured skin heals, it also darkens. That’s because melanocytes, the cells in your skin that give it color, create too much melanin in the process. Melanin is intended to shield your skin from ultraviolet radiation that can harm it. When injured and unprotected skin is exposed to sunlight, these effects can worsen.

Why Does Shaving Cause Hyperpigmentation?

Does shaving make skin dark? To be clear, the mere act of shaving doesn’t cause hyperpigmentation. It’s how you shave that’s the key. Aggressive technique is partially to blame — that is, repeatedly rubbing and scraping your skin with your razor’s blades. That can lead to irritation after each shave, which in turn causes hyperpigmentation over time.

So, what about skin irritation that causes excessive skin darkening? Irritation and inflammation go hand-in-hand. Despite the fact that you’re choosing the shave, your body activates its immunity and healing processes as with any other injury. Hyperpigmentation is also common with razor bumps, which result from ingrown hairs that curl into one’s skin instead of away from it. Bacteria and inflammation inside those hair follicles trigger the body’s immune system, which kicks in to fight infections.

Not everyone experiences hyperpigmentation in the same ways. However, many people struggling with this issue notice small dark spots in the areas where they shave. Individuals with curly hair are more likely to experience razor bumps, and people with medium to dark complexions may have more noticeable hyperpigmentation. However, anyone can develop both conditions.

How To Prevent Excess Darkening of Your Skin

We’ve answered the question, “Does shaving darken skin?” but now it’s time to talk about better shaving. First, let’s start with your choice of product — or lack thereof. Remember the first cardinal rule: Never shave on dry skin. To avoid drying out your skin and risking irritation, you should also steer clear of items that contain alcohol. Instead, select a shave gel, cream, or soap with moisturizing plant-based ingredients like avocado oil or shea butter.

Changing up the rest of your shaving routine can help you counteract hyperpigmentation. You probably don’t need to do a drastic overhaul: Some minor tweaks can make a major difference. To start with, you’ll want to exfoliate before shaving. Use a mild pre-shave exfoliating product no more than two or three times per week. During your shave, you’ll also want to keep some pointers in mind:

  • Apply water and shaving gel or cream before you begin.
  • Keep your razor as wet as possible.
  • Reapply your cream or gel as necessary.
  • Shave with the grain, never against it.

If you use electric razors, you can still fight hyperpigmentation. Wet shavers should wash their skin and exfoliate before shaving. Before shaving, apply a pre-electric shave product that doesn’t have alcohol. And whether you use a standard razor or an electric shaver, you should always apply a sun-protecting moisturizer after you’re done shaving.

Treatments That Correct Hyperpigmentation

You have options for preventing dark spots from developing on the skin you shave. But even if you already have them, there are solutions available. Treatment options for facial hyperpigmentation include IPL, a photofacial technique using broad-spectrum intense pulsed light. Other possibilities include microdermabrasion and chemical peels, but you can explore all your options during a consultation.

Intimate skin lightening is ideal for anyone of any gender who wants to reverse the effects of hyperpigmentation on other parts of the body. This service consists of in-office treatments during which a skin-friendly treatment is applied to lighten affected areas. It’s a popular option for the bikini and surrounding areas, but it can be used on the underarms, inner thighs, elbows, and knees.

Your Medical Aesthetics Experts in South Florida

Stopping additional shaving hyperpigmentation is easier than you think. Adopt a shaving routine that treats your skin right with exfoliation, moisturizing, and proper technique. And if you’re dealing with dark spots on your skin, Arviv Medical Aesthetics can help. We’re a medical spa in Miami, Tampa, and nearby South Florida communities, delivering compassionate care with innovative procedures and techniques. Book an appointment at our Miami location by calling (813) 855-0111. For appointments at our Tampa location, phone us at (305) 340-9002.

Image Source: YakobchukOlena / GettyImages

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