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The Benefits of No-Shave November

Posted 10/20/2016 by UHBlog

Did you know the true meaning of No-Shave November is to raise awareness about prostate and other cancers affecting men? Catch it early.

The Benefits of No-Shave November

Few men look forward to shaving every day. Now you have a reason to put down the razor that even your significant other and boss are sure to support.

During the month of November, men across the nation forego shaving and donate the cost of grooming – from a few dollars on razors to $100 for a salon visit – to the No-Shave November movement. To date, it's raised over $2 million dollars to help fund research and other cancer programs.

It is important to raise awareness around prostate screenings because many men put off this simple screening used to detect prostate cancer – one of the leading causes of death in men. Although there is some controversy about when to start prostate screenings, certain people are more at risk of developing the disease says urologist Kiranpreet Khurana, MD. Those at higher risk are:

  • Men 55 years of age or older
  • African American men
  • Men with a brother, son or father who had prostate cancer

People at higher risk should start prostate screenings at age 40. Otherwise, the recommended age to begin this screening is at age 55.

“The earlier you're treated for prostate cancer, the better your outcome will be,” Dr. Khurana says. When caught early, the disease has almost a 100 percent survival rate.

Prostate awareness may not be the only reason to take a break from shaving this November. For many men, giving their face a break has its advantages – although medically, it's a non-issue, says dermatologist Danyelle Dawes, MD.

“About the only reason to consider not growing a beard is if you have facial dandruff or are prone to razor bumps,” she says.

In the first case, the flaking skin may become more noticeable with a beard. In the second, hair curls around and grows back under the skin, which can be painful. These are cosmetic – not medical – reasons where you might not want to take part in No Shave November.

If you are thinking about growing a beard or moustache, one main concern, so far, hasn't been solved by medical science.

“There's no way to get around the itchiness seen during the transition from stubble to beard,” Dr. Dawes says. “You will be at the mercy of how fast your hair grows.”

Among the advantages of growing a lumberjack-like beard are:

  • Fewer blemishes since rash, infection of the hair follicles (known as folliculitis) and acne can result from shaving
  • Less skin dryness because facial hair keeps you from rubbing it off your face.
  • Protection from wind exposure, which leads to redness and dryness
  • Time saver. In fact, Boston University researchers calculated that if a teenager starts shaving at age 15, over his life he will spend about 3,350 hours at this task. That works out to 139 full days down the drain (so to speak).

After the initial itchiness, growing a beard is fairly easy. When December 1 rolls around and you want to go back to shaving, avoiding rashes and razor burn takes some work. If you're trying to shave a full beard with a razor, it can be difficult and time consuming.

Dr. Dawes recommends these tips to protect your skin:

  • Use clippers to do the first cut. If you don't have a set of clippers, visit your local barber who can buzz it off for you. Better yet, treat yourself to a professional shave, complete with hot towels and a facial massage.
  • Shave at the end of a shower to soften the beard and open the pores.
  • Use a good quality shaving cream and a sharp razor.
  • Always use a good after-shave moisturizer to promote healing and moisturize the skin. Some people find aloe vera soothing.
  • If you're prone to razor bumps, your dermatologist can prescribe a topical antibiotic to help with the rash.
  • Avoid potentially skin-irritating products, such as colognes and perfumes--or any products containing alcohol.

Kiranpreet Khurana, MD is a urologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

Danyelle Dawes, MD is a dermatologist at University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center.

You can request an appointment with Drs. Khurana, Dawes or any other doctor online.

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