Xerosis Barbae

This post isn't really addressed to my regular readers, more of an appeal to broader interests. I did my philosophical computations, concluded that I have to just forget my problems with the contemporary shaving culture, and try to help you ignorant bastards. This should go over about as well as Penn Jillette's conversion to Christianity.

First, a little testimonial on my faith, in shaving "sensitive skin."
This summer's just been okay for me. It's still not my favorite season. My butt is dragging, and if I didn't enjoy swimming, I'd probably die. The garden is a weed patch (my hope is that this confuses the rampant pests) but there are some veggies in there somewhere. Still, there's no doubt that shaving has been a gateway to better health for me personally.

Probably the main gain this year has been in my feet. After dragging them into my struggle to understand exfoliation, I recently pounced on my fungus with Dollar Tree cream and a vengeance. Currently driving my attack merciliessly home to the thick calluses, I'm starting to understand that such leathery flesh isn't natural to me. I've also been using scar gel, in conjunction with glycerin, to address long-standing defects in my facial skin, mainly atrophic scarring. Now, this is sort of the reverse model of what I have in mind for you. I took advantage of the atmospheric humidity to safely make the skin surface perpetually moist at night, which amps up the gel. I think I'm finally seeing some change in my embarrassing midline shaving scars.

All About You

Autumn skin hardening approaches, for those of us north of Atlanta. I'd like to help my skin-digging, straight-stroking, shaving brethren take advantage of this transition to exfoliate and moisturize in a more healthy way, that doesn't involve shaving. I'm guessing winter isn't your favorite season, the way summer isn't mine. Dry, tight skin plagues your postshave as seborrheic ooze once plagued mine.

If it seems like I'm crawling up your ass here, and giving unwelcome advice without the necessary license or experience, consider this. How many absolutely vapid, duplicative, dead stupid videos and blogs exist, telling people like me, whose skin simply does not require external moisturization, how we should only shave with the grain? And use oil or other goo to basically avoid skin contact with the toxic shit you guys use to shave every day? It's as if I were to say to you, "Your condition is called 'lifeless skin.' Stop using glycerin." Problem solved -- dee de-dee!

Would you not march, open combs and anchor heads held high like pitchforks, to insist on the translucent suppleness of that leather you call skin? Well, that's how I feel about simple, classic soaps, and Gillette-type razors that don't dig at my thinner stratum corneum. Commercialism divided us, and conquered you! In order to achieve a mutual understanding, and at the same time help you gain freedom from your special cosmetic hell, I propose these areas of common ground:
  1. Let's meet at the middle on soap. Italian Barber's shaving soap "for sensitive skin" (I think it's rebranded Tcheon Fung Sing) works for me straight, despite its inclusion of byproduct glycerin. I can use completely inobtrusive, cured Witch Hazel to make even higher concentrations of added glycerin tolerable in summer. Therefore, YOU should be able to use the same glycerin-neutral soap for quick shaves, and employ Witch Hazel to tolerate even drier soaps during winter.
  2. Skin needs its blood supply. Contrary to popular belief, that counts as "moisture," the source of lactate and urea -- and not least, water. I'm sorry, but if you see "weepers" when you shave, you're shaving wrong. You should be able to shave every day. That's kinda the whole point of these old fashioned razors, in my opinion. Pick one that actually works for you.
  3. Your ashen flesh may be better at hiding damage and nerve endings, but reducing alcohol concentration is probably just as important in solving your problems, because alcohol displaces water. You could dilute splash in a cloth, like I do, or find better alternatives.
  4. Declamate, don't exfoliate. Or, change your definition of exfoliation. Use a chemical "exfoliator" at night. Pumpkin juice is the bomb! There are enzymes in the stratum corneum that do the job naturally, but unfortunately, those depend on hydration. Witch Hazel, rose water, even bentonite powder, are some of the things that my sensitive skin has found capable of tapping into internal moisture. I'd suspect that mineral water and micellar water hold potential.
  5. Your skin doesn't need glycerin-based moisturizer. That's where they hook you. In the winter, glycerin is a false biochemical signal of "wet" environmental conditions, making the skin more porous. Use an emollient lipid like cocoa butter instead, or to the greatest degree of substitution that you can tolerate. (There's probably a bunch of other good ones. Not really my area of expertise.)


  1. Concerning foot problems, a year or so back my heels were drying out and cracking so bad I couldn't stand it. Every night for about a week I applied Corn Huskers Lotion and it softened them up and healed them pretty good. Only draw back was it made them tender sore.

    After watching Joe from NY, https://youtu.be/Xm7Zhj7cPvY I tried it as a pre-shave. worked good for a couple of shaves. After that the ol' skin started to get that tenderized feeling so I stopped. Gives a close shave, but it's not worth it to me.

    1. I think I once linked to an article from a dermatologist who used Corn Huskers as an example of glycerin in action, essentially saying that was the only active ingredient. Remember, though, medicine only discovered female orgasm around a hundred years ago. In light of the subtle Marangoni effect, the composition of whatever you're trying to penetrate, the concentration of the glycerin, and other ingredients are probably very important. So thanks for the pointer.

      Sounds like that would be the choice of dry skinned shavers as well, but probably not helping. If I want to deliver glycerin safely to my face, it seems like Humphrey's is the way to get it in there, past the oil barrier. So the analogous way for to make the analogous shift toward oiliness should be Witch Hazel, USP.