Many men are doing more harm than good with their post-shaving routine — and one seemingly innocuous product is the culprit.
It turns out aftershave, the alcohol-based astringent hiding in medicine cabinets the world over, can actually be harmful to your skin, according to Dr. Terrence Keaney, a dermatologist working with Dove’s Men+ Care line.
The old-world style of aftershave contains two major ingredients: alcohol and a heavy fragrance.
The alcohol is used as an astringent, and was marketed as a way to reduce the chance of infection on any cuts that may have occurred while shaving.
The alcohol also produces a cooling, light burning sensation, leaving the skin taut. There is also a fragrance component, with many men using aftershave as a replacement for cologne.
Why you should NEVER put alcohol-based aftershave on your face
In actuality, the alcohol is a major irritant and will dry your skin out. Additionally, the heavy fragrance isn’t something you want to put on your skin after it has been stripped of its oils after shaving.
“You’re putting it on skin that’s just been shaved, so you’re removing all those barriers and slapping a very heavy alcohol solution so that could really irritate [your skin],” said Dr. Keaney.
What to use instead
Dr. Keaney recommends a soothing, moisturizing aftershave. While this won’t produce the familiar burning sensation, it will replace some of that moisture that you lost while shaving. Some are even scented, so you’ll still smell great — without the burn.
Most of the dominant companies making skincare products for men have a product specially formulated to relieve the burn of shaving and provide moisture, including Neutrogena, Dove, Baxter of California, Bulldog, and American Crew. But as long as the product doesn’t have alcohol and has some moisturizing component, you’re golden.
So, if you have an alcohol-based aftershave in your routine, it’s time to ditch that pronto.