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.
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.
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.
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.
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.