Home Skincare Aftershave On Pimples – Does It Really Work?

Aftershave On Pimples – Does It Really Work?

by Gabbi

Aftershave is a staple product to use in men’s grooming post-shaving. It’s known for its soothing properties that treat and disinfect the skin, especially if cuts or nicks are present. However, aftershave is slowly entering the mainstream beauty world.

Makeup gurus used aftershave as a makeup primer because some aftershaves contain Glycerin. Glycerin is known to provide a smooth and tacky base for makeup to latch onto. Now it can also be an interesting product to treat acne.

It’s crucial to remember that aftershave is a skin-soothing product applied after a shave. So, it’s bound to have other skin-loving ingredients that can help keep sebum at bay, clear pores, or dry out any spots. 

However, does applying aftershave on pimples really work? It can be tricky to know the true effectiveness of aftershave on acne because all aftershaves vary by ingredients. A few main components like certain alcohols or essential oils may reduce pimples or flare-ups.

Aftershave can slowly make its way into your routine as a post-shave soother, spot treatment, or acne healer. You can also consult your dermatologist to discuss the potential benefits of aftershave for your skin.

What Is Aftershave?

Aftershave is a popular men’s grooming product typically used to heal the skin after shaving. It has the texture of a thin liquid that quickly absorbs into the skin. However, its antibacterial properties are known to sting the face (Home Alone, anyone?).

It’s designed to heal the skin and post-shaving mishaps like cuts, razor burns, or nicks. Each aftershave can offer various benefits depending on its ingredients list.

Benefits Of Aftershave 

Aftershave can provide numerous benefits to the skin. For example, aftershave might be able to reduce ingrown hairs, itching, swelling, and cuts. These benefits are gained when using aftershave as intended. 

However, is it possible that some of these benefits can also remedy pimples or breakouts? Understanding how aftershave usually works is crucial before trying out a skincare hack.

Reduce Ingrown Hairs

Aftershave can help reduce ingrown hairs. Due to improper shaving techniques, ingrown hairs often get trapped under the skin’s surface. 

Also, ingrown hairs can increase the rate of flare-ups or pimples if excess dirt and sebum get trapped in the skin. Aftershave will soothe skin and keep it hydrated to reduce the chance of ingrown hairs appearing. 

Minimize Itching/Swelling

Another common skin irritant that can occur post-shaving is itching and swelling. Shaving, especially with a poor-quality razor, can increase the chance of irritation like dryness, redness, itching, or swelling.

Dry skin may also ignite acne if the skin needs to produce excess sebum. Aftershave offers a hydrating and antibacterial element to the skin to remedy flare-ups. 

Heal Cuts/Nicks

One slip with the razor can easily result in an uncomfortable nick or cut. Alcohol-based aftershave produces that severe stinging effect upon application as a sign of disinfection. Certain alcohol ingredients may also dry out spots or pimples.

Aftershave can also contain astringent to clean the skin and offer it the nourishment it needs for healthy skin. 

Common Aftershave Ingredients And How They Affect Pimples

Aftershaves vary by ingredients, so one type of aftershave can be more harmful to the skin than others. So, it’s essential to read and analyze its ingredients list in depth to see if it can treat acne.

Some skincare products can share similar ingredients to aftershave. Popular ones include alcohol, witch hazel, and essential oils. Also, everyone’s skin is different and won’t have the same effect.  


Alcohol is a common ingredient in aftershave and skincare. It can disinfect the skin and prevent cuts from getting infected. However, frequently applying alcohol-based aftershave and skincare may lead to sensitized skin.

Alcohol can potentially dry out pimples, but it can also weaken the rest of your skin barrier. So, it’s essential to use it sparingly. 

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a popular astringent that can be used on its own or formulated into aftershave. It’s a handy ingredient for oily or acne-prone skin types and offers an alternative to alcohol.

However, witch hazel can be harsh towards sensitive skin types, but others may find success using it in aftershave or an acne treatment. 

Essential Oils 

Finally, various essential oils may remedy pimples but are also formulated in aftershave. For example, tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial properties that lower inflammation and fight breakouts.

It can potentially heal flare-ups or skin concerns which is why you may also find it in aftershave. Other popular essential oils include lavender and frankincense.   

Can Aftershave Treat Breakouts? 

So, can aftershave effectively heal breakouts or pimples? It highly depends on what type of aftershave you have and its ingredients. For example, alcohol-based aftershaves can be ultra drying and more effective as a spot treatment.

Also, aftershave with high amounts of glycerin might be able to soothe the face and offer excess hydration. 

How To Use Aftershave On Pimples

How can you use aftershave on pimples? First, you’ll want to heavily research an aftershave with nourishing ingredients that won’t irritate your skin type. Then, once you’re comfortable with your aftershave, you can conduct a patch test.

Depending on the ingredients of your aftershave, you can use it all over the face or as a spot treatment. However, seeing any changes in pimples or acne may take time if you plan to treat it with aftershave.

Patch Test

You’ll want to patch test any product that can potentially treat pimples. It can be challenging to tell how you will react to a product, especially if you have sensitive skin. Sometimes fragrances, alcohols, and essential oils can trigger irritation. 

A patch test will tell you if you’re sensitive to a product or can safely use it across the face. 

After Cleansing

Do you plan to use aftershave as an acne treatment? It’s best to use it after cleansing. Washing your face with a gentle but effective cleanser will ensure you have a clean canvas for your aftershave. 

You can gently pat the aftershave onto the skin or all over the face until it’s fully absorbed. Then, you can continue with the rest of your skincare routine. You can slowly incorporate it into your routine a few times a week. 

As A Spot Treatment 

It’s best to use aftershave as a spot treatment if the formula is extremely drying. Alcohol-based aftershave can be too harsh to use all over the face. However, you can use it as a spot treatment to heal the areas that need it the most. 

Spot treatments aren’t an everyday product. But, like an exfoliator, you can use spot treatments 2-3 times a week. Also, ensure you are nourishing your skin daily with moisturizer and SPF.

Post-Shave Soother

Lastly, you can use aftershave simply as an aftershave. You can follow the brand’s directions to ensure you get the most out of your aftershave. 

Side Effects Of Using Aftershave To Treat Pimples

Even aftershave can have its side effects. For example, some aftershaves are way harsher and contain more sensitizing ingredients. So it’s crucial to double-check the labels if your skin is sensitive. Also, you may want to avoid using aftershave daily.

Some common side effects of aftershave include irritated skin, a weakened skin barrier, or overly dry skin. 

Overly Dry Skin

Common ingredients in aftershaves like alcohol and witch hazel can potentially dry out pimples. However, they can also increase dryness for the rest of your skin. As a result, overusing aftershave can lead to tight, flaky, and overly dry skin.

This side effect will ignite if not followed with a healthy skincare routine. You can also switch to using aftershave as a spot treatment instead.

Unbalanced Skin Barrier

Frequently using aftershave can disrupt the pH balance of our skin and weaken the skin barrier. This can happen when applying alcohol-based aftershave with no supplemental products. Instead, try opting for an aftershave high in glycerin. 

Glycerin-based aftershaves can help bring some moisture and hydration back into the skin. However, also limit how often you use aftershave weekly. 


You may notice an overall increase in skin irritation. For example, aftershave can even heighten breakouts and pimples, increase redness, or inflame pores. This may indicate that an ingredient in aftershave doesn’t work well with your skin type.

It’s crucial to use aftershave sparingly, especially ones that are alcohol-based. Also, ensure you have a daily hydrating skin regimen

What To Look For In Aftershave 

How can you pick the right aftershave? Understanding your skin type and needs is essential to choosing the correct products. For example, witch hazel is a common ingredient in aftershave that may benefit oilier skin more than sensitive skin.

Analyzing the ingredients list will ensure you have the right product. You can also consult a dermatologist or conduct a patch test. 

Witch Hazel

We’ve mentioned how witch hazel is a common component in skincare and aftershave. However, witch hazel has had a bad reputation for being overly harsh and ineffective, but within the formula and amounts, it can help pimples. 

Witch hazel may feel drying, so it can help oilier skin types. Also, oily/acne-prone skin types need to moisturize and protect the skin to see the full benefits of witch hazel. 

Vitamin E 

Vitamin E is essential for radiant skin and can even be found in your aftershave. Also, vitamin E will offer soothing and nourishing properties to potentially balance out any drying components within your aftershave.


Another great option is to choose an aftershave with glycerin. Glycerin is a humectant and can potentially help treat pimples within your aftershave. In addition, it will keep the skin hydrated and trap moisture on the outer layer of the skin.

Adequate hydration can reduce sebum production and lower the rate of breakouts. It’s also not as drying or irritating as other aftershave ingredients. 

Who Should Avoid Using Aftershave On Pimples?

Aftershave isn’t the end-all-be-all treatment for acne, and not everyone will have a great experience. Unfortunately, aftershave is not formulated to heal pimples, even if it may have some acne-fighting components.

Also, everyone’s skin reacts differently, so some individuals may find that their aftershave does help improve the look of their skin. However, who should stay clear of using aftershave to treat breakouts?

Sensitive Skin

Those with reactive, sensitive, or vulnerable skin types may want to stay clear of aftershave. Aftershave can contain an abundance of harsh ingredients, including alcohol or fragrances, that produce a negative impact on the skin.

It’s best for sensitive skin to slowly test aftershave or avoid it altogether and use skincare designed for acne. 

Intense Skin Conditions

Anyone with intense skin conditions like cystic acne, eczema, or psoriasis may not benefit from using aftershave on pimples. These intense skin conditions will need medical attention or the help of a dermatologist to get the proper treatment.

Some conditions are autoimmune diseases that aren’t likely to go away with using aftershave. So it can be beneficial to avoid aftershave for acne altogether. 

Aftershave Alternatives 

Are there any alternatives to aftershave? You may find that simple, stand-alone ingredients can work as an aftershave and heal your skin.

The skin is irritated after a shave, so it needs nourishment, but you can also reach for a simple component rather than aftershave and still keep the skin clear. Popular alternatives include aloe vera, coconut oil, and glycerin.

Aloe Vera 

When you think of skin-soothing, what’s the first ingredient that comes to mind? It’s most likely aloe vera. Aloe vera is known for its ultra-healing properties to heal sunburns, but it can also replace your aftershave.

It can keep the skin hydrated and happy, potentially reducing pimple breakouts. Aloe vera gel is also accessible, affordable, and effective.

Coconut Oil 

Another versatile product is coconut oil. 

It can replace the aftershave or even your shaving cream. Coconut oil can offer an extra layer of hydration to the skin to soothe razor burns and dry patches. In addition, it can potentially keep the moisture barrier intact.

Even if you’re not a fan of coconut oil as an aftershave, you can keep it for a plethora of uses.


Did you know you can purchase glycerin on its own? Glycerin can be found in aftershave, but if you want all the great benefits this humectant offers, try using it by itself! It offers hydration, locks in moisture, and keeps the skin calm.

Retaining a healthy skin barrier can ensure you reduce pimple breakouts. 

Should You Use Aftershave To Heal Acne?

You may attempt to use aftershave on acne, but it can take time to see results. Alcohol-based aftershaves are better as a spot treatment to avoid irritation, while Glycerin-based aftershaves can offer more nourishment.

Try to use aftershave 1-3 times a week to avoid sensitizing the skin. Also, ensure you have an effective daily skincare routine to see the true results of your aftershave acne treatment. 

Consult A Dermatologist 

Before you use aftershave on pimples, you might want to consult a dermatologist. A dermatologist can save you from any skin mishaps and create a routine that’s effective for your skin’s needs. 

They can also advise you on your aftershave journey, what to look out for, and any alternatives. 


Aftershave might be able to help your pimples depending on a few factors. Choosing the correct type of aftershave for your skin type is crucial, and integrating it into your regimen accordingly.

Aftershave can contain some acne-fighting components like witch hazel, glycerin, or alcohol. However, always conduct a patch test or talk to a dermatologist before incorporating aftershave in your pimple-healing regimen. 

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