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Is An Electric Shaver Better for Face P?
from James M.

Hi Ed:  At last I’ve found an entertaining website devoted to P.  All the other sites are so morbid — my God.  I thought I couldn't be the only one with PA who has a sense of humor. I now know I'm right!

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PA) a year ago and have maintained reasonable health since. However my face seems to be getting worse with [plaque] psoriasis so naturally its worrying me. I shave with a razor and I'm positive its making the P worse. I know you’re not a doctor, but in your own experience and those who have emailed you, would you recommend an electric razor?

I'm seriously thinking of changing to that if it will help.

As I said I’ve enjoyed your website and will visit again for not only information but a laugh, too! I live in the UK.  Take care, -James M.


Ed’s Response: Good question, James.  I’ve been bearded through most of my psoriatic life, but as any man who likes a shaped beard knows, that doesn’t preclude shaving altogether.  We’ve got that wee bit of cheek flanking the nose to drag smooth and, of course, the under-chin and neck should be hairless to expose the Adam’s Apple, which is proof of our maleness.  Having a visible rock-solid Adam’s Apple in tense situations sends out a message of strength and aggression and is more acceptable in polite society than chest-beating … but I’m preaching to the choir, here.

In the nearly two decades that I’ve been bearded I’ve purchased electric beard trimmers but never an electric razor.  I remember having one or two Remingtons or Norelcos between puberty and beard but they must not have left a strong enough impression to keep me loyal.  Today I strip the cheeks and neck with a so-called “safety razor,” which is a thin blade — or two, or three — wrapped in plastic with a handle so if you slit anything it’s unlikely to go arterial-deep, if you know what I mean.  Safety razors are devices for inflicting paper cuts on places paper never cuts.

I have had P lesions on my face, and it has occurred to me that shaving might exacerbate the situation.  When I did feel compelled to harvest the hair strong enough to sprout through a psoriatic patch, I usually followed the ritual with an application of mild corticosteroid cream (e.g., Westcort cream). 

I would be more concerned about shaving areas with flexural psoriasis.  In my case that’s the groin, which I don’t shave since I don’t wear the sort of beach apparel that requires it.  (Indeed, I don’t wear any sort of beach apparel at all.)  My flexural spots are red, irritated areas — not elevated and not flaking.  Just the opposite of plaque psoriasis, these flexural lesions are not tough but tender.  No, I don’t think I could be compelled to shave them — which means if I ever do wear skimpy beach apparel again, it will be an unfashionable sight.

If you switch to an electric shaver, let us know what happens.  Remember, if it’s got a cord that plugs into the wall, don’t use it in the bathtub!  <wink>  -Ed

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