Electric Shavers: A Safer Way To Shave When Dealing With Certain Medical Conditions

Most of us use electric shavers because they’re convenient and practical. They can also be very cost-effective in the long run despite a rather high purchase price.

However, there are also cases where electric razors represent the only viable option.

I am talking about people that are constrained in their daily activities by a temporary or permanent medical condition.

In several situations, a trivial task like shaving can be extremely challenging and the use of a razor blade often poses very high risks.

Electric shavers are arguably the best option in these circumstances and a far safer alternative. Let’s see how to approach shaving in a few specific cases.

Before getting started, I need to make a quick disclaimer. I am not a medical professional, so I urge you to consult a specialist before deciding to take any actions that may aggravate your condition. I’ve been reviewing electric shavers for many years and simply want to share my experience in the hope that it may be useful to someone.

Dealing with an increased risk of infection

Small nicks and cuts that are quite common when using a razor blade can be extremely dangerous for a weakened immune system.

Because electric shavers don’t have an exposed blade, the probability of getting cut is greatly reduced.

You can still nick yourself with an electric shaver if you press too hard, so never apply excessive pressure and only use gentle, controlled strokes.

I generally recommend foil electric razors because I consider them more suitable in the majority of cases.

Foil shavers are generally more comfortable than rotary shavers and less likely to cause irritation.

In my experience, Braun shavers in particular are gentler and more forgiving compared to other brands, making them my default recommendation here (and in pretty much every case discussed in this article).

Radiation therapy or any treatments that may damage face and neck skin

Electric shavers are arguably the best option here as well and are often recommended by doctors as an alternative to traditional shaving.

Skin that is tender, very dry or itchy as a side effect of a treatment is also susceptible to cuts and severe razor burn.

A very gentle electric shaver is definitely the way to go here. Again, in my opinion Braun shavers are the best in this regard.

Another advantage of Braun razors compared to most other foil shavers is their ability to shave longer, flat hairs. This is the case with Braun’s middle to high-end models (Series 5, 7 or 9) that feature advanced cutting elements designed to capture difficult facial hair.

And that is important here since the skin may need a few days to heal before subjecting it again to a potentially damaging action like shaving, so the razor will need to tackle longer hairs that often lie flat on the skin or grow in different directions.

Anyone who has used an electric razor knows that this can be challenging, especially when using basic, entry-level shavers that require multiple strokes to get all the hairs.

And you’ll want to avoid excessive strokes as much as possible.

Autism and other related disorders

I get a lot of emails from parents of teenage children with autism asking for a recommendation of an electric shaver.

One of the main problems here is related to the noise electric shavers make during use. They can be loud, particularly foil electric shavers.

This is one of the few cases where a rotary razor may be a better option, despite the fact that they aren’t generally as comfortable and easy to use as foil shavers.

Rotary shavers are quieter compared to foil razors.

But in terms of noise and vibrations, they are definitely better.

The oscillating blades of a typical foil shaver will operate at a very high rate (this can be anywhere from 7000 to 14 000 CPM — cycles per minute).

This ensures excellent performance but also causes a lot of noise and vibrations.

Rotary shavers on the other hand operate at a much lower speed, well below 1000 RPM. This makes them more suitable for this situation where a quiet operation is probably more important than the actual shaving performance.

Philips (Norelco) is virtually the only option here and offers a wide selection of models, ranging from entry-level, inexpensive shavers to high-end models.

Choosing one should come down to your budget as they’re all pretty similar with regards to noise.

Acne and razor bumps

Excessive sebum, coupled with dead skin cells that clog the hair follicles will likely cause a breakout.

Whether it’s a less severe acne or even an aggravated form like cystic acne, using an electric shaver is a must.

The last thing you’ll want is dragging a sharp blade over infected bumps and zits. Cartridge razors are less likely to cause a nick (compared to let’s say a DE razor) if handled extremely carefully, but they’re still nowhere near as safe as an electric shaver.

Again, you should always consult a medical professional beforehand.

In case of acne-prone skin, Braun’s foil shavers are again the best option and for the same two major reasons mentioned previously.

First of all, they’re extremely comfortable and gentle, they don’t get hot during use and are less likely to nick and pinch the skin even if you press harder (which you totally shouldn’t).

Secondly, they capture and cut longer, flat hairs very efficiently compared to Panasonic shavers for example.

As stated before, your skin may need a few days to heal before shaving, so being able to effortlessly shave longer facial hair is very important.

With that said, my advice would be to avoid the Series 3 as it can only work decently on short hairs and is not as comfortable nor as powerful as the more advanced models.

The Series 5 is the entry point to Braun’s high-quality shavers. While the performance gap between it and the next in line — the Series 7 — isn’t that large, the Series 5 is vastly superior to the Series 3 and it’s well worth the extra money.

If your budget allows it, get the Series 7. That one is more refined, a bit faster, a bit more comfortable and overall the best option in most cases.

The more expensive Series 9 offers diminishing returns compared to the Series 7, so I would only consider it if your budget is not limited or you can get a great deal on one.

Fine motor skills difficulties

This can be anything from a hand tremor to more serious conditions when a person may not be able to shave without help.

In this case, the use of an electric shaver will be a lot safer. Also, electric shavers have a less steep learning curve compared to a DE or cartridge razor and again, they are a lot more forgiving.

This can make shaving a lot easier for the person doing it.

Electric razors require virtually no upfront preparation and can be used anywhere. There’s no need for lather, hot water, rinsing and you don’t even need a mirror.

The fuss-free operation also makes them extremely suitable to be used in a hospital for example (pre or post operatory).

Most modern shavers are waterproof and can be easily cleaned by simply rinsing them with tap water.

Foil shavers should still be the best option for most users as they’re more comfortable, they shave closer and are generally easier to clean.

Rotary razors shouldn’t however be discredited altogether if you think they would serve the purpose better. For example, entry-level rotary shavers are generally better with long, flat hairs compared to entry-level foil shavers.

For a detailed comparison between rotary and foil electric razors, you can check out this guide.

Final word

I decided to write this post after receiving many emails and comments from people in situations similar to the ones described above.

Health problems are unfortunately part of our lives and all of us will inevitably have to deal with them.

We almost never think about how challenging a mundane task like shaving can be until we or some of our loved ones are actually confronted with such a problem.

We must try to make the most out of every situation and find ways to make our lives easier.

And something as minor as electric razors can make a huge difference.

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Hey. I’m Ovidiu, the founder and editor of ShaverCheck. I independently buy and test electric shavers and I’ve been sharing my findings on this site for more than 10 years, hopefully helping others choose a suitable shaver.

If you found the information useful, consider subscribing to the ShaverCheck newsletter as well. It’s free and I only send a few emails a year. Unsubscribe at any time.

19 thoughts on “Electric Shavers: A Safer Way To Shave When Dealing With Certain Medical Conditions”

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    • Hello Vitaly,

      It’s really just the color of the shavers; the 9290cc comes in a matte silver finish, while the 9250cc is a glossy black. Performance-wise they are identical.


  1. Thanks for the answer ! I think you are not quite right … The model 9290сс and 9291сс case type is 5791. And the model 9250сс has the old case type 5790. This model is less protected from moisture. If I am certainly not mistaken …… Can you clarify this information? Thank !

    • You are welcome, Vitaly. Some of the first generation Series 9 and all of the second generation models are of type 5791, meaning that they are suitable for wet & dry use. The 9250cc is an anomaly. While it’s part of the second generation Series 9 — it comes with the updated shaving head and its model name starts with 92 — it is not suitable for wet & dry use (still safe to be washed with water though). My initial reply was based on the fact that all second generation Series 9 are suitable for wet & dry use, so the 9250cc shouldn’t be any different. But apparently it is, so you are correct, the 9290cc should come with additional waterproofing.

      • Very observant and apropos. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.
        From a Public Health perspective, I think a couple more conditions also deserve mention:
        Some medical conditions require patients to take anticoagulants such as apixaban or coumadin, to prevent life-threatening blood clots. Since they inhibit coagulation, they increase bleeding, even with relatively minor injury. Even aspirin can do this to some extent. IMO, coumadin comes with the biggest risk, as it’s tricky to get the dosing right, and exceeding a safe, therapeutic level happens all the time. Small shaving cuts will still probably be all right. Probably. But why not minimize the risk by going electric?

        Also, some persons are at increased risk for self-injury or suicide. If that includes the shaver or someone else in the house, you really don’t want razor blades to be readily available. Why take the risk, when there are some perfectly good electric shavers out there at affordable prices?

        • Absolutely, I fully agree with your observations, Barry. Thank you for taking the time to share this.


  2. I’ve been stressed out lately & I think that’s caused a painful cyst-like bump to form under my skin. Ouch. I know not to try popping it, so I’m going to try an at-home remedy using sea salt & baking soda to try to decrease swelling.

  3. Ovidiu,
    You didn’t mention this condition but I had a bout with “Shingles” which covered my half my neck and part of my jaw and cheek area… I couldn’t use a razor for obvious reasons. I had never really used a shaver except for occasions when I was traveling (used a small AA battery travel shaver) and could not find water/toilet facilities. My condition started me using a small rotary razor. It was gentle and would glide over my outbreak…after reading your articles I decided to buy the Series 9 and couldn’t be happier.. I’m a dedicated shaver user now. Thanks for the info!!

    • Hi Sam,

      Thank you for taking the time to share this, I really appreciate it. Glad you found the information useful and that the Series 9 is working great for you. I will update the post as well, so thank you for the heads up.



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