I remember once telling a friend in utter exasperation about how I had taken the time to shave my legs before visiting the dermatologist, but he hadn’t even bothered to take the time to look at them.
She stared at me blankly! That’s because she has clear skin and has no concept of how tricky, difficult and time-consuming the whole leg depilation process can take for ladies with psoriasis.
Once upon a time, I had been an advocate of waxing and, holding firm to the belief that the more I waxed the less likely it was that the hairs would re-grow, I attended my appointment faithfully every five weeks.
My beautician was a doll! She never blinked an eye at my psoriasis; she just applied a tea tree wax and got on with the job. Amazingly, it never hurt my skin – if anything it helped to exfoliate the flakes.
But then she left the city and, to be completely honest, I just couldn’t bear the thought of starting again with a new beautician. The explaining, the embarrassment … nope!
I decided it was time to take the route of the razor. So today I’m going to share with you the various tricks that I’ve learned over the years.
The first tip is that if your skin is very sore and inflamed, your best bet is to use an electric razor. Now I know that this won’t give you quite as clean a shave, but let us all take a moment to think about that.
We have psoriasis! Smooth skin is the ultimate dream, and I’m afraid it’s going to take more than an electric razor to reach such lofty heights. What it will do is remove the hairs and give the illusion of smooth skin between the plaques.
Gentlemen, we haven't forgotten about you! To achieve a smooth shave for your face, check out guest blogger Simon Jury's post on men's grooming tips.
On occasions when your skin isn’t too bad, I would suggest using a razor such as the Gillete Venus Proskin Sensitive and then applying an Aqueous Cream as a shaving foam.
The Aqueous Cream is key here … it almost completely eradicates all nicks and cuts, meaning your bathroom doesn’t resemble a blood soaked murder scene when you’re finished. (TMI?!)
Just remember to go gently. This is not something that can be done quickly. You need to take your time, so no rushing!
I live in Ireland. Unfortunately, Aqueous cream is still not available in the U.S., and from my many visits, there doesn’t seem to be a decent equivalent product in my opinion.
Given that it is an essential part of the armor for all psoriasis patients in Europe, I think it’s time you guys started asking about it at your pharmacies.
Basically it is a thick emulsifying ointment that is paraffin based, doesn’t contain medications, toxins or any bad stuff … and is also incredibly inexpensive. It can be used as a soap, it can be added to baths as a moisturizer and as I’ve said, it can be used in place of a shaving foam.
It is available to buy on Amazon, but you should start a campaign to get it in your local stores.
Editor's note: Aqueous cream (also known as sorbolene) includes an emulsifying wax containing sodium lauryl sulphate that may or may not cause skin irritation in people with skin disease. Although we don't promote any particular product, we posted a blog last year featuring 10 lotions available in the U.S. that are often used by people with psoriasis. You should also check out our Seal of Recognition program to learn more about products recognized by NPF for their ability to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis.
However, fear not, I have another solution which was suggested to me by a number of psoriasis patients: hair conditioner. Yes, you read that right!
Take whatever hair conditioner you normally use, apply it liberally to your legs and then apply the razor gently. Once you’ve finished, be sure to wash off all the conditioner thoroughly.
As crazy as it sounds, this is an almost fool-proof method that usually produces excellent results without the usual scrapes and scratches.
Like many things it’s all about having the right tools and taking your time. Good luck!
Helen Hanrahan lives in Dublin, Ireland, and has had psoriasis for over 20 years. Strongly believing that what you wear can affect how you feel, she started her blog, The Flaky Fashionista, in 2012 to show fellow sufferers that it is still possible to be fabulous on even your flakiest days.
The opinions expressed by NPF Blog contributors are their own and do not reflect the opinions or positions of the National Psoriasis Foundation. The information posted on the NPF Blog is not intended as, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice.
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