Long time lurker, first time poster...
The old Bic disposable double blade used to tear my face up something fierce, so I switched to electric. That wasn't much better, but I didn't bleed as much (although I left more hair...) Then the Mach III came out and I switched back to "wet shaving", using the Gillette Sensitive Skin foam, then switching to the same in gel form. I had also learned of following the direction of beard growth (WTG) and my shaves became much nicer as far as level of irritation goes. I had resigned myself to the fact that I could never be smooth (BBS?)- just look that way. Of course when the Fusion came out, I jumped right on board... 5 is better than 3, right? Although I got a closer shave with the Fusion my face was slightly more irritated. That eventually passed as my face grew accustomed to the Fusion and I learned not to mash so much with it. The cartridges were so darned expensive though that I switched back to the Mach III. Then my wife came home one day with the new Fusion that vibrated and had different blades (the cartridge was the same but the "comfort strip" was different), and the Fusion Shaving Gel for sensitive skin. A few days later I shaved WTG then ATG to try and get super smooth for our anniversary. That was the start of my semi-serious problems. This would be about a year ago this month. My face started itching, mostly on my left neck just under my jaw line, however no part of my face was immune. Then the redness started a few days later, followed by extremely dry flaky skin. After trying several different home and OTC remedies with very little success, I finally sought out medical advice from my physician. He told me it was eczema and prescribed Triamcinolone Acetonide. I apply it always after I shave, and only about 50% of the time I don't shave. Every time I've discontinued use after shaving my symptoms return within a few days. Today I didn't use it and I already notice minor itching. I've tried going back to my old setup to no avail; I've tried removing the "comfort strips" to no avail; and I've tried various different combinations in between including using just soap in the shower to shave (very difficult without a proper mirror). The doctor says once a flare up starts, there's no telling when (or if) it will ever go away - just keep using the cream.
My Current Routine/Setup:
Aveeno Shave Gel for super sensitive skin (the peach colored cap, not blue)
Gillette Fusion (soon to be Mach III again as soon as these cartridges run out)
L'Oreal Men's Expert Shave Balm
I use about 1 cartridge/week. Due to my schedule I shave 4 days in a row, off 2 days, shave 3rd day, off 1 day, then back to the 4 days in a row...it just repeats itself like that
Wet face with warm water
Work Aveeno Gel into a lather in my hands then apply to face
Shave WTG N-S right side to jaw line in 3-4 passes from ear to lip, left side same, mustache, chin, N-S from jaw line to mid-horizontal line on neck from far left to far right, Adam's apple S-N, then from mid-vertical line E-W on left and W-E on right. I hope that makes sense.
Apply Triamcinolone Acetonide
Let dry while finish getting ready
Apply L'Oreal Shave balm
RECENTLY CHANGED (ideas from lurking here): Shower 1st, don't dry face, apply hotter water, and add more water to the Aveeno gel.
Result: a nicer, smoother shave which seems to be closer, and less irritation.
So, with that out of the way....
1. Has anyone here had similar issues and did it ever clear up for you?
2. If yes to #1, what did the trick for you (yes, I know YMMV)?
3. I'm not concerned with BBS, as long as I look clean shaven for work. Do you think DE and the more traditional wet shaving is appropriate to try out, or can I cause even more irritation?
4. If it's a go, what super sensitive hypo-allergenic products can you recommend for a novice?
I think that's about it for now...lol. Sorry for the novel. I'm afraid I may have gone into information overload....