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Athletic man lathering and exfoliating his skin in grey slate tiled shower.

The art of manscaping

Manscaping, or male hair removal, has been recently growing in popularity. Having nicely groomed or clean shaven “manscaped” body parts can enhance your physical features, making you look and feel more attractive. While there are various methods of removing unwanted hair, the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) says that shaving is the most popular hair removal method among men (and women). Manscaping, is inexpensive, fast and convenient (compared to electrolysis, waxing and laser).

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    The best way to manscape  
    

    Knowing how to manscape properly will help you achieve perfectly groomed and shaven body parts just the way you like it. Most importantly, proper manscaping will prevent folliculitis – the inflammation of hair follicles, which are the small openings where your hair grows. According to the CDA, folliculitis usually occurs when the follicles are injured and then become infected with bacteria, fungus, viruses or yeast. A common cause of folliculitis is irritation from shaving, as well as waxing and friction from clothing, the CDA says.


    Here are some manscaping tips and tricks that will help you get the groomed or smoothly shaved body part you’re looking for, while reducing skin irritation.

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    Use the right manscaping tools 
    

    Depending on your hair length and the look you’re going for, the best way to manscape requires a variety of different tools. While there are many razor blade options out there, be sure to choose one that doesn’t irritate your skin. According to the CDA, it’s best to use a single-blade razor and change your razor with every shave. This will ensure you are using a sharp blade, which will decrease shaving irritation. Trimmers have a variety of clippers, so make sure you’re using one that won’t shave off more than you expect – remember, you can take off, but you can’t put back on. If you’re trimming body hair with scissors, please don’t use the same scissors from your kitchen drawer – to reduce the spread of bacteria, be sure to dedicate one pair to your special body parts.

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    Sterilize to prevent infection 

    If you manscape below the belt, you can spread infection-causing yeast and bacteria to other parts of your body. To prevent this, be sure to sterilize your tools by wiping them with rubbing alcohol before and after each use. It’s also a good idea to give your hands and body a good wash with warm water before you manscape as well.

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    Trim before you manscape 

    Your journey to smooth terrain may get rough if you take a razor to your luxuriant bush of thick hair. Taking a razor to an untrimmed shrub of hair can cause razor burn, itching and ingrown hairs. Also, if a wayward hair snags your razor blade, it can cause a majorly painful cut. Use those special, sterilized scissors, or a hair trimmer with the appropriate clippers to trim the area down to about 1/16 of an inch before you shave. You will have a much easier and less painful time gliding your razor over a trimmed area and it can prevent ingrown hairs as well.

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    Soften hair with heat

    The best time to manscape is right after a shower. If you plan to do a post-shower manscaping session, try to increase the temperature of the water. The warm temperature of the water loosens the dirt and oil in your skin. It also lubricates the area which will prevent the hairs from pulling. To further soften the area, use a shaving gel instead of regular soap, this will add more moisture and glide to the pre-manscaped area.

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    Manscape the right way 

    For a smooth finish, you have to manscape in the right direction. To prevent shaving irritation, razor bumps and ingrown hairs, shave in the direction of hair growth. Also, the Canadian Dermatology Association says to avoid going back and forth in two or more directions over shaved sites. Finally, to reduce irritation and ingrown hairs, avoid pulling the skin taut, says the CDA.

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    Care for your cuts 

    Even if you are super careful, cuts and nicks can happen when you manscape. If you accidentally nick your skin, be sure to thoroughly clean the area with soap and warm water and sterilize with alcohol. If it’s a superficial cut, apply pressure to the area with toilet paper or gauze and the bleeding should clot and stop within minutes. If the bleeding pulsates or persists after 15 minutes, seek medical help.

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    Calm your skin

    That itchy, burning feeling you get after shaving is normal, but you can reduce the sensation. Be sure to use a good post-shave lotion to reduce dryness and irritation from shaving. The CDA also recommends applying a cool compress or wet washcloth to the freshly manscaped area to prevent irritation and limit swelling. To avoid post-shave razor bumps and ingrown hair, the CDA says to try an over-the-counter gel or lotion containing salicylic acid (1-2%) or glycolic acid (5%) to help keep skin around the hairs smooth and avoid entrapment of the re-growing hair.