Can the Can!
5 Reasons Your Aerosol Shaving C Should Throw out Your Aerosol Can of Shaving Cream
Wet-shavers all have their own unique style and preference, but many who enjoy the process of wet shaving are unaware of several of the ingredients used in their favorite products. Shaving cream is definitely one of the most diverse products out there as it is sold all over the world in different forms. Pick any nearby grocery store and you will most likely find dozens of different, soaps, creams and gels, but none of these are quite as popular as the plentiful aerosol shaving cream cans .For decades now, its been pretty common to find these large metal cans in household bathrooms all over the world, usually sitting in a cabinet in-between deodorant and toothpaste. These metal aerosol cans have been the standard method for dispensing shaving cream since the 1950's. When it first debuted, the product was touted as a space-age invention that saved time and strain. It was no longer necessary for shavers to use a bowl or brush for their lather. This sounded like a dream come true, but what many wet shavers aren't aware of is how the shaving cream is made and the negative aspects to shaving with these products.
Aerosal Cream Contains Surfactants Chemicals
To start, let's talk a little about hydration. Your skin has natural methods by which it hydrates itself. The reason your fingers can smudge clear smooth surfaces is because of the oils your skin produces naturally. The problem with pressurized cans of shaving cream (especially gel based shaving products) is that the chemicals which allow for the creams to be pressurized and turn 'foamy' when they are released also make it difficult for the skin to hydrate. These chemicals, known as surfactants, are designed to reduce tension between surfaces which also means that they make it difficult for hydrating compounds to penetrate the skin. This makes it necessary for artificial lubricants to be added (which are covered in the next section). These chemicals may not be horrendously damaging to your skin on a daily basis. However, long-term exposure has been shown to make skin more alkalin. Basically, the longer you skin is exposed to these chemicals, which displace hydrating compounds from the skin, the harder it becomes for your skin to be able to hydrate itself naturally. This means your skin becomes drier and ages much faster.
Aerosol Cream Contains Propylene Glycol
This chemical is a fairly common ingredient in many pressurized cans whether its shaving cream, hairspray or cosmetics. The FDA has classified propylene glycol as "Generally Recognized as Safe", which may sound like a reassuring statement. However, new information comes out every day about the chemical type and its effects on health. Since its initial classification by the FDA, several studies have found contact with propylene glycol can lead to severe skin irritation and allergies. Studies have also shown exposure could lead to increased likelihood for development of eczema and asthma. Some studies have linked propylene glycol to dermatitis and kidney abnormalities. If none of that were enough to dissuade the common consumer, here's another fact about propylene glycol: its other major manufactured uses include brake fluid and even antifreeze. Not something that you would want touching your skin, let alone face, is it?
Aerosol Cream uses Mineral Oils
One of the primary artificial moisturizing ingredients found in aerosol shaving cream cans, mineral oils are designed to lubricate the skin during shaving. Although not the most harmful of the ingredients in aerosol-based shaving creams, mineral oils have been shown to clog pores and increase skin irritation. Unlike other oils such as jojoba which have nutrients that benefit the skin, mineral oils actually encourage skin to closeup, making it difficult for the skin to release naturally occurring toxins, leading to increased infections and acne breakouts.
Lather Made with Natural Oils are actually GOOD for you
We've given a few reasons for why you should avoid aerosol cream cans, so now you might be asking, what is a good alternative? Well, there are several out there and it can definitely feel overwhelming, especially if you have always practiced wet shaving with the shaving cream cans that came with your disposable razor. So, let's just say that there are many high quality products out there and some might not always work the same for everyone. The best thing to do would be to start with a vegan shaving soap that contains natural oils which can be therapeutic to your skin rather than harmful.
A good example is the Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Sandalwood shaving soap, a vegan shaving soap that allows you to create your own lather containing coconut (nucifera) oil. Unlike mineral oils, dermatologists have a great deal of positive things to say about the effects coconut oil has on the skin especially when it comes to it's ability to hydrate skin.
Another example of healthy shaving lather alternatives is Essence of Scotland Shaving Soap which includes cajeput oils. Cajeput is an oil which has been found to have several therapeutic qualities. Some studies have shown the oil to be greatly effective at combating infections and cleaning out pores of the skin.
Of course, every wet shaver is different. Some of the ingredients in certain shave soaps may not be for everyone. Some shavers may have allergic reactions to ingredients such as cajeput or nucifera oils or simply experience irritation. If you are a shaver who has a history of sensitive skin or suffer from conditions like eczema, there is an important rule of thumb when selecting the perfect shaving soap: the less ingredients the better. Although any shaving soap needs to have some sort of hydrating ingredient in order for it to effectively allow for comfortable shaving, some ingredients that are added for texture or aroma may not be best for shavers with sensitive skin. A great alternative for shavers with sensitive skin is Proraso's Anti-Irritation Shaving Soap. One of the reasons this shaving soap is preferable for the sensitive shaver is because of its blend of green tea. Green tea is an excellent ingredient for making the shave much more comfortable on the skin. It has been shown to be quite effective in reducing irritation while minimizing chances of infection. That's not all. Green tea is also a rich natural source of polyphenols and other healthy minerals. Not only have these compounds been shown to be highly effective at hydrating skin, but have also been shown to be effective at healing skin, protecting it from harmful UV rays and preventing melanoma and other serious skin ailments.
Aerosol Cream Cans are bad for the Environment
The final case that should be made against aerosol shaving cream cans is that all of the products we have covered here last through more a great deal more shaves than anything you can find in a can. Ironically, the chemicals that have been shown to be harmful to your skin included in aerosol cans make the product more resilient and therefore we have landfills all over the world filling up with cans like this and similar products. These things have a long shelf life, but the number of shaves a consumer can actually expect out of one can is fairly small in comparison to a single purchase of any of the featured shaving soaps. When a wet shaver starts making their own lather with a brush, they find their shaving soap can last, even with a liberal amount of lather, for years. Shave after shave, even a ten dollar purchase of shaving soap may last up to four times as long as any one can of aerosol cream. This means there's less metal cans lying around and less carcinogens in the air. Even though it may seem like a small thing, having hundreds of thousands of these cans releasing such chemicals have been proven to be detrimental to the environment. So do yourself and the earth a favor, can the cans!