Any gel, oil, liquid, or other substance placed on your face post-shave is considered aftershave. Many people treat it as a full-on ritual, and it has found its way to most men’s skin care routines. There is no harm in aftershave being applied for either the soothing or disinfection of your skin, and it may actually be the best face product for men.
That said, certain aftershaves can have certain toxicity and/or be entirely harmful to skin. Read on to learn more about aftershave including good and bad ingredients as well as whether it has uses outside of shaving.
What Are the Benefits of Aftershave?
Aftershave has several benefits, and a chunk of it involves the ingredients. For the most part, astringent aftershave that's alcohol-based has largely been seen as a sanitizer after the facial hair is shaved off. It's usually because shaving leaves exposed skin bits and several tiny cuts, as well as raising the likelihood of pores in terms of getting bacteria or other materials.
Standard aftershave has ingredients generally known as ethyl alcohol or isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol). They are largely similar to what can be found in household cleaners or hand sanitizer and, yes, rubbing alcohol. Unfortunately, aftershaves that are based on alcohol can actually be far more damaging to the skin as time passes. They have benefits, but they absolutely do not outweigh the drawbacks.
Some aftershaves are more natural; this includes aftershaves that include coconut oil or jojoba oil. Moisturizers like aloe vera also fall under this classification. These ingredients are all capable of retaining skin moisture while keeping the skin protected from bacteria.
When there are natural ingredients in aftershave, several health benefits abound:
- Giving the skin a nice smell
- Less swelling and itching from ingrown hairs and skin damage
- Pores that close to prevent the entry into the skin of chemicals, bacteria, or dirt
- Promoting skin tissue regrowth for better skin health
- Prevention of folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles) by protecting pores that have opened with a layer of oil or liquid
- Swifter healing of shaving cuts
Certain bacteria can be killed by most alcohol-based aftershave. However, there are no health benefits attached to these products in the long run. If there is an artificial fragrance in the aftershave, you're better off avoiding it. There are a lot of fragrances with ingredients that go unreported, which can lead to irritation or allergies.
If you're looking to get an aftershave with health benefits, try the following:
- Aloe vera (for skin moisturizing and skin-soothing, especially burns or other damage)
- Chamomile extract (for skin soothing)
- Essential oils for soothing effects and a pleasant scent (eucalyptus oil is good for increased blood flow and blood vessel dilation)
- Glycerin (for skin moisturizing)
- Shea butter, a moisturizer that's nut-based
- Vitamin E oil (helps with immune health and skin health maintenance)
Aftershave is a soothing element (gel, oil, liquid, or similar) that goes on the skin post-shave. Some are astringent- and alcohol-based, which doesn't have long-term health benefits for the skin. Others take on a more natural approach, which is far better. Look out for natural ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, and shea butter.
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