Sure, a bit of stubble looks sexy on your guy’s chin and cheeks. But when you kiss him, those bristly whiskers may leave your tender skin with a raw, red “beard burn” that looks decidedly unsexy.
What’s a woman to do? Neal B. Schultz, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, suggested several solutions.
To soothe stubble-scratched skin: Repeat the following steps up to four times per day as needed. (This remedy also works great for sunburned skin.)
- In a bowl, combine about one-quarter to one-half cup of lukewarm water with an equal amount of skim milk—the protein in the milk acts as a chemical buffer that reduces painful inflammation, Dr. Schultz said. Wet a smooth, soft cloth such as a handkerchief or T-shirt (not a washcloth, which has too rough a texture) in the milk mixture and then wring it out slightly so the cloth isn’t too drippy. Place the cloth over your irritated skin, and leave it in place for five to 10 minutes. Without rinsing, pat the skin dry.
- Apply a pea-sized dab of aloe vera gel or over-the-counter 1% cortisone cream to the affected area to further ease discomfort and speed healing. Do not exceed four applications per day. Caution: Avoid using a sunburn-relief cream that contains benzocaine—this ingredient often causes a reaction, Dr. Schultz said.
Prevention pointers: Of course, preventing a problem is preferable to treating it after it arises—so the best approach is to ask your sweetie to switch to the clean-shaven look. For the smoothest, closest, most comfortable shave, he should…
- Shave in the shower rather than at the sink—the steam from the shower penetrates and softens the facial hairs, making them easier to remove.
- Use a high-quality razor with multiple blades, such as the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler.
- Use a shaving gel or cream, which reduces friction better than a foam or soap. Good choices: The 2012 Men’s Health Grooming Awards named two shaving gels, Bulldog Original Shave Gel (http://us.MeetTheBulldog.com) and Gillette Fusion ProGlide Hydra Smooth Shave Gel (in drugstores).
- First shave in the direction of the hair growth…then reapply the shaving gel or cream and shave against the grain.
He can’t bear to go bare-faced? If you’re stuck with his stubble, recognize that you are most prone to beard burn right after you exfoliate—removing those dead cells from your skin’s surface leaves the underlying healthy, living cells more exposed. But you don’t want to stop exfoliating, Dr. Schultz said, because regular exfoliation makes skin smoother and more radiant, combats acne and helps remove precancerous cells. Better: After exfoliating, simply hold off for a few hours before engaging in any serious smooching.