Yes, you read that correctly. Recently, some women have started shaving their faces in hopes of preserving their youth. Even celebrities including former Real Housewives of New Jersey star Caroline Manzo claim this DIY treatment helps ward off lines and wrinkles. (Manzo lathered up on an episode of Manzo’d With Children last season, according to ABC News.)
What you should know
With so much talk about shaving our faces, we can’t help but wonder: is this why men seem to have fewer wrinkles than women? According to Francesca Fusco, MD, there is some logic behind the blade: “shaving is essentially another form of exfoliation. With each stroke, you’re sloughing off dead skin cells that sit on the surface and the constant exfoliation may aid in keeping wrinkles at bay.”
Still, there are many other reasons why men have fewer lines than women. For starters, men’s skin is thicker than women’s, so lines don’t become etched in as quickly. Also, hormones play a role in skin aging. Hormonal changes throughout the years (specifically following menopause) contribute to skin aging, says Adam Friedman, MD, FAAD Director of Dermatologic Research at Montefiore-Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “Postmenopausal women have reduced blood flow to the skin, again contributing to lines and furrows, and also experience a decrease in oil production.”
So while shaving may play a minor role in preserving youthfulness, is it really worth a potential shaving disaster—or a five o’clock shadow? Consider these alternative options instead.
Consult a professional
Dermaplaning is a non-invasive procedure similar to shaving in which a medical professional uses a sharp surgical blade to gently scrape the outer layers of dead, dull skin cells. “After exfoliating with dermaplaning, skin is left smoother and, with continued treatments, fine lines are significantly minimized,” Dr. Fusco says. (Dermaplaning procedures typically cost $80-$150 and docs recommended patients receive the treatment every two to four weeks.) If you choose to undergo dermaplaning, make sure to discontinue any exfoliating products including alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) serums, scrubs, retinol night creams, and topical prescriptions for at least several days prior to and after treatment, Dr. Friedman advises.
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Safely exfoliate at home
If the idea of a blade is still daunting, don’t worry—there are much easier (and less frightening) ways to exfoliate daily. Microdermabrasion, gentle scrubs or peels, and sonic cleansing systems are all effective tools says Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City dermatologist. These options are safe to do at home and the product options to choose from are endless. (Discontinue use if skin becomes easily irritated).
Bottom line: exfoliating regularly will leave your skin looking young, even, and clear, but leave the sharp tools to the professionals.
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