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Make You Seriously Sick

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August 25, 2017

By Susan Callahan, Contributing Columnist

Staph infections are a common a menace in gyms and in
the bathrooms of men in the US. One source of staph
infection that most men do not think of is your razor.  
Razors themselves are reliably sterilized during
manufacturing. But, because the staph bacterium lives on
the surface of your skin, you can still become infected if
you cut your skin while shaving.

Staphylococci bacteria are the most abundant type of
bacteria on the surface of your skin. Your skin itself is the
largest organ in your body. Many different types of
staphylococcus bacteria exist in colonies on the surface of
your skin, including Staphylococcus aureus,
Staphylococcus dermatitis and Staphylococcus hominis.

Some species of staph prefer to hang out in specific areas.
For example, staphylococcus auricularis like to live in your
ear canal.  But Staphylococcus dermatitis and
Staphylococcus hominis are found on almost every inch of
your body, according to a 2011 study led by Dr. Michael
Otto of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious

So, when you accidentally cut your face while shaving, you
feel a cut and see blood, but what the staph bacteria see is
a rare but welcome opportunity to make themselves a
new, exciting home. They see a Caribbean vacation home
with maid service.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when men
went to barbershops not just to get a hair cut but also to
get a shave. A professionally done close shave is like  a
vacation for your face in more ways than you may realize.
One of the side benefits of getting a professional shave is
that it is safer than shaving at home.  

Professional barbers have been trained to sterilize their
equipment, hands and to decrease the bacterial count on
the surface of your face before they start to shave you. By
the way, you should always check for a state-issued
licensed before you trust your face to a barber. For
example, New York requires a license for each individual
barber as well as Barber Shop License. Individual barbers
have to complete  course work on  "the transmission of
contagious diseases and the proper methods of sanitation
and sterilization" of barbering.

What Kind of Health Dangers Are Caused by Razor Bumps
Staph Infections?

Professional barbers in the US and Europe are skilled at
three things ---opening your facial pores properly,
sanitizing your skin and avoiding cutting your skin. As a
result, few men get staph infections from being
professionally shaved. In some parts of the world, in all
fairness, getting professionally shaved is itself a health
hazard. For example, a 2013 study from the  University of
Cape Town in South Africa, found that more than 25% of
men with close shaved heads had experienced
haircut-associated bleeding and that these men had a high
rate of HIV infection.

These days, almost all men shave themselves at home.  
They do so, mind you, with no formal training in how to
safely shave themselves without introducing infections to
their skin.

What Are the Symptoms of a Razor Burn Staph Infection?

Staph infections often start as a simple nick or cut in the
skin. If the infection grows, it next becomes a bump. The
bump then grows larger as the infection deepens. At this
stage, the bump may appear red and warm to the touch.
Left untreated, the bump grows even larger.

Large, gold-ball sized infections must be treated by a
doctor immediately to avoid further spread of the infection
through the layers of your skin and into your blood
stream. Once a staph infection enters your blood, it can
cause septicemia, blood poisoning, and death.

How to Prevent a Razor Bump Staph Infection

The most effective way to prevent a staph infection when
you shave is to follow a strict hygiene protocol:

Always Wash Your Face and Beard Before You Shave

You should open your pores with warm water. Then, wash
your face and beard with a clean cloth and a mild soap.

After washing your face with a cloth, then rinse your face
first with warm water; then with cold water to close teh
pores again.

Avoid Taking Antibiotics Unless Necessary and
Prescribed by Your Doctor

Antibiotics actually work by killing both bad bacteria that
are making you sick and good bacteria that help to keep
you healthy. Thus, with respect to good bacteria that
reside in the microbiome of your intestines, it has been
shown that using antibiotics can lead to an
over-proliferation of opportunistic fungal infections such
as candida albicans, leading to
runaway yeast infections on
your penis and elsewhere.

Likewise, scientists have begun to study the microbiome
that live on your skin. These hundreds of bacterial species
may also be disturbed when you take antibiotics, leaving
you more vulnerable to staph infections.

This area of science is new. We will need to see
well-designed, double blind studies to better understand
how antibiotics use affects staph infection rates. In the
meantime, you should prepare your face especially well for
shaving if you have just finished or are still taking

Use Honey as a Mask to Lower the Bacterial Count on
Your Face

Honey is a natural anti-bacterial substance. In fact, during
World War I, soldiers wounds were dressed with honey, in
the absence of antibiotics, to fight infections.

Once a Week, use honey as a mask to clean out your pores
and to lower the bacterial levels on your face.

4. Never Use a Razor That Is Not Clean

This goes without saying but you should never introduce
bacteria to your face by using a razor that has not been

Don't Pick at Your Face

Some men pick at the hairs on their face or pick at pimples.
This is a bad habit because your hands are literally loaded
with staph bacteria.

Picking at your face can also inflame the hair follicles on
your face ("folliculitis"); again making it easier for staph
bacteria to enter the pores.

6. Dab Your Face with Diluted Vinegar

Vinegar is also a natural antiseptic. Dilute vinegar (one
teaspoon vinegar for every half a cup of water). Dab your
face with the diluted vinegar once a week.

Never Ever Pick at an Inflamed Bump on Your Face

Once the bump has become inflamed, you need to see a
doctor; specifically a dermatologist, who will professionally
sanitize the are and drain the razor bump.

Don't try to squeeze the bumps yourself. You may
introduce even more staph bacteria into the already
inflamed area. Remember, staph infections can turn deadly
if not handled properly.

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Shaving incorrectly can easily enable staph
infections on your face.
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