No matter what part of your body you’re trying to shave, dealing with a skin condition like psoriasis can make it difficult. Especially because irritated skin is more prone to nicks and cuts.

Shaving and other hair removal treatments may cause even more skin irritation that will trigger a psoriasis flare. This reaction is called the Koebner phenomenon and occurs when a minor skin injury like a cut or sunburn results in a new psoriasis plaque on the site of the affected area. Nearly half of psoriasis patients experience the Koebner phenomenon at some point in their life, with 10 percent seeing it every time they get a cut.

Psoriasis on the face, legs and other sensitive areas makes shaving a tricky task. Fortunately, there are some shaving tips that can reduce injury, while keeping your skin looking its best.

Secrets to a Safe Shave

Though waxing, depilatories, laser treatments and other hair removal techniques are always an option, most people with psoriasis prefer shaving because it’s the most versatile approach. Here are some things to keep in mind as you search for the ultimate shaving products to reduce irritation and leave you with smooth skin.

  • Invest in a good razor. Since your skin is already inflamed and likely sore, choosing a great razor is key. Test a few out before you decide on your go-to brand. Some people with psoriasis swear by electric razors to reduce irritation, even if the shave isn’t quite as smooth. Others prefer traditional razors with multiple blades to increase surface area and help reduce cuts.
  • Shave with warm water. This will help soften your stubble and open hair follicles, making shaving easier. Shaving in the shower gives your skin more time to get the benefits of warm water. It’s a good idea to place a small mirror in your shower to help prevent accidental cuts.
  • Use conditioner instead of shaving cream. Most psoriasis patients prefer gels over shaving cream, but a large number say hair conditioner works best. It helps soften your hair, making it easier to get a close shave with less irritation.
  • Shave in the direction of the hair. Shaving against the grain can mean a closer shave, but it also means irritated skin. It’s safer to shave in the direction of your natural hair growth, even if you need to repeat strokes a few times.
  • Don’t press too hard. Be gentle with your razor, especially when shaving in body folds like armpits. Pressing too hard with your razor can cause nicks, cuts and general skin irritation. Also, wait a few minutes before applying deodorant, so your skin has a moment to recover.
  • Moisturize after shaving. After you shave, soothe and protect your skin by applying a moisturizer. This is also a great time to apply Naftalan Cream with Urea.
  • Don’t shave every day. Shaving every day can put a lot of stress on your skin. If you can get away with it, shave every 2 to 3 days. Shorter stubble is harder to shave and causes more skin irritation.
  • Replace razors often. Because razors live in a damp environment, they can be home to bacteria which causes nicks and cuts to get infected. Change out your razor every week or two, depending on how frequently you shave.

The main thing to remember is that when psoriasis is actively inflamed, it’s essential to avoid any kind of hair removal that could make your condition worse. If your flare-up is severe, a gentle trim with scissors might be your best alternative to shaving. If shaving ever becomes too difficult to manage, talk to you doctor about psoriasis treatments that will improve your skin in the areas you want to keep hair-free.