Plucking with a razor blade is quite common, although most are lazy to replace them with a new one. Shaving with an old, dull, or rusty razor can be a real problem for your skin.
Whether they’re disposable or multi-use razors, you need to learn how shaving with a not-so-new razor can sabotage your skin (and how often to dispose of worn blades).
Using an old blade can have numerous dangers to skin health and appearance.
Many people end up with an itchy, sensitive red rash after shaving. We may want to think about the last time we replaced the razor blade. Also known as razor burn, this skin irritation is often caused by shaving with a dull blade.
When a blade becomes dull, it does not cut evenly across the length of the blade. This results in an uneven shave which can lead to burns.
Like razor burn, ingrown hairs (those that curl and grow back into the skin) are often the result of shaving with an old blade.
Again, a dull razor will not remove hair evenly and can irritate your skin, increasing your chances of developing those pesky little razor bumps. Also, people tend to make more passes with a dull razor than a sharp one, which exacerbates this condition.
cuts in the skin
Ironically, we are at greater risk of cutting ourselves with a dull blade than with a very sharp one. A dull razor pulls on the skin (instead of gently gliding over it to remove hair).
And an old blade can also chip, which is not necessarily visible to the naked eye. A chipped razor edge means the strokes are likely to be more uneven, producing an uneven shave that can cause cuts.
Bacterial or fungal infection
As razors tend to be in hot and humid environments like showers, they are perfect hosts for fungus and bacteria. And the longer we keep them, the more creepy-crawly bacteria will accumulate on the leaf. This, combined with the increased risk of cutting yourself with a dull, uneven razor blade, increases our risk of infection.
This is increased if the razor blade is shared with someone else. Razors can transfer bacteria from one person’s skin to another, and those bacteria could cause problems if they find their way into a cut. To minimize microbial growth (and your chances of infection), it is recommended not to share it with anyone else and to store it in a cool, dry place.
Skin infections caused by staph bacteria include:
- Impetigo – This contagious infection develops a painful skin rash and large blisters that may ooze fluid and cause a yellow crust to appear.
- Boils – This is the most common type of staph infection in which a pocket of pus develops in the oil gland or hair follicle.
Can it cause tetanus?
Tetanus is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani, which is found throughout the world in places such as soil, dust, and feces. It is a common misconception that rust on a razor blade causes tetanus.
Rust does not cause tetanus, but any bacteria that may be on the razor could. It’s safe to say that the chance of getting tetanus from a rusty razor blade is highly unlikely . If you’ve cut yourself with a rusty razor blade, it’s a good idea to stay up to date on the latest tetanus booster.
It is never a safe option to use a rusty razor blade, as the bacteria that can harbor and remain there can be dangerous and cause infections. It’s also important to note that certain jobs, such as construction workers, gardeners, farmers, and firefighters, may have a higher risk of tetanus.
When to replace the razor blade?
How often we should change our razors depends on how often we shave and the size of the surface area we are shaving.
A general rule of thumb is to replace razor blades after five to ten shaves (or more often if you shave larger parts of your body every day). That is, if we are covering large areas of skin (like legs) with each daily shaving session, the blade will dull more quickly and we will need to replace it more often.
How to clean it?
A clean razor can help reduce the risk of infection. And all it takes to keep it hygienic is a little water . It is recommended to rinse the razor blades after each ‘pass’ while shaving and then rinse very well after each use.
And we will not rub the blade with a sponge or towel, as we can dull it faster. Instead, we’ll gently tap the handle to remove excess water and let the razor air dry after each use. The humidity and steam from the shower can make it easier for rust to form on the blade. We can keep the blade inside a small plastic bag and store it outside the bathroom.
Alcohol can help decontaminate a blade, but cleaning it can damage it. It is more important to change the blade regularly and rinse it after use.