Razor burn from shaving

Contents

What Is Razor Burn?

Razor burn and razor bumps have plagued mankind for thousands of years.

Razor burn is an uncomfortable and unsightly skin condition that can occur after shaving your face, legs, or other body parts to remove unwanted hair.

Symptoms of razor burn may include:

  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Bumps

About half of all people report having sensitive skin, which may make them more susceptible to razor burn.

Many prehistoric cave paintings depict clean-shaven men, and the practice of removing body hair is estimated to date back 30,000 years, according to a 2013 report in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Today, 99 percent of people remove unwanted hair. Shaving is the most common method of hair removal, followed by plucking.

Other methods of removing unwanted hair include electrolysis, laser removal, waxing, and chemical depilatories.

Causes of Razor Burn

Razor burn occurs when skin is displaced and the hair follicle is twisted and pulled by the scraping action of the razor blade.

A good shaving technique can reduce razor burn. The proper technique includes:

  • Using a new or sharp razor
  • Wetting the area to be shaved beforehand
  • Shaving only in the direction that the hair grows

The biggest increase in skin hydration occurs after water has been left on the skin for two minutes, so try doing this before shaving to reduce razor burn.

Modern multiple-blade razors allow for a closer shave, but may increase razor burn in people with sensitive skin compared with single-blade razors.

Razor Bumps

Razor bumps — also known as pseudofolliculitis barbae — are small abscesses, and sometimes patches of darkened skin, that appear on shaved areas.

Razor bumps are formed when hair that has been shaved grows back under the skin.

They’re especially common in people with curly hair.

One study found 83 percent of African-American men experienced razor bumps.

Preventing Razor Burn

The best way to deal with razor burn is to prevent it in the first place. Several simple methods may prevent or reduce razor burn. Aim to:

  • Clean the skin before shaving (perhaps using an exfoliant scrub)
  • Wet the hair and skin before shaving
  • Replace your razor blade regularly
  • Shave in the direction hair grows
  • Gently pat the skin dry after shaving
  • Apply a skin moisturizer after shaving (preferably containing emollients or glycerin)

Dermatologists suggest replacing a razor blade after five to seven uses.

How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps

One foolproof remedy for razor burn and bumps is simply to stop shaving.

For people who feel social pressure or have other reasons to shave, the following remedies may help:

  • Shave less often, perhaps two or three times a week
  • Use chemical depilatories instead of shaving
  • Use an electric shaver
  • Don’t try to get a close shave
  • Consider electrolysis or laser hair removal

Post-shave lotions containing niacinamide may reduce moisture loss, chapping, red skin, and other symptoms of razor burn.

2. Prep to prevent ingrown hair on your bikini line

Before shaving your bikini area, spend about 10 minutes in warm water first. This will help soften the outer layer of your skin, making it easier to remove hair (and lessen your chances of getting razor burn), says Fumi Ozaki, an esthetician and electrologist in Redondo Beach, California. “After the 10 minutes is up, pat the skin dry to remove any excess water,” she says.

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Once your bikini line has been cleaned and dried, Engelman suggests lightly exfoliating with a wet washcloth or a scrub to remove dead skin cells, allowing the blade to get closer to the skin. “It teases out any stubborn ingrown hairs prior to shaving,” she says.

3. Don’t skip shaving cream

You might think this shaving accessory is just a feel- and smell-good component to the process, but it’s way more than that. “When you shave, you’re shaving your skin, too,” says Bischoff. “If you don’t use enough shaving cream to create enough slip, you’ll lightly abrade your skin, leaving it irritated.” Ouch.

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And similarly to that quality bikini shaver you’re supposed to buy, don’t just reach for a random, cheap shaving cream. “Use a good-quality shaving gel with a short list of moisturizing ingredients, like shea butter, olive oil, and coconut oil—these types of bases will give a proper buffer for your razor,” says Engelman.

Apply a very thin layer only to the area that needs to be shaved so you can see the skin and hair shaft underneath. “This is much safer, so there’s no need to move the blade back and forth on the skin,” says Ozaki.

4. Pay attention to your shaving direction

People have a lot of opinions about whether you should shave up or down on your bikini line, and the direction you shave does matter. “How you shave can be really, really important, especially for people who are prone to bumps,” says Bischoff. Going in a ton of different directions with your razor makes cuts and subsequent ingrown hairs more likely. Shave in one direction—with the hair growth. Going against the grain of your hair makes irritation much more likely.

While gliding your razor gently along the bikini line, keep the blade downward without adding too much pressure. “One pass should be fine, especially if you’re using a razor that has many blades,” says Ozaki. “The more blades used, the fewer times you should feel the need to re-shave over this sensitive area.”

5. Calm your skin after shaving the bikini area

Wash off as soon as you put your razor down, and hold a cold compress to the area for 10 minutes to prevent irritation, says Ozaki. Apply an anti-redness serum (preferably fragrance-free) to further reduce your chances of experiencing razor burn. “I recommend tea tree oil, both a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, which can help calm razor burn,” says Engelman. “If you’ve really caused some irritation, more intense creams, like topical steroids, can be prescribed to reduce redness, swelling, and pain.”

6. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

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It’s important to always hydrate and moisturize after shaving. “Apply an unscented, alcohol-free moisturizer to both sides of the bikini line to lock in the moisture and avoid over-drying, which leads to further irritation,” says Engelman. Bischoff suggests looking for products containing soothing aloe vera, as well as jojoba oil and vitamin E for hydration.

7. Clean your bikini razor

After every shave, make sure to sanitize your blades with rubbing alcohol and warm or hot water. If your razor looks rusty and you’ve been using it for a while, toss it out. “Replace old blades—ones you’ve used for more than five to seven shaves,” says Engelman.

You can also cut your losses (and avoid those red bumps) by storing blades in a clean, dry place so they don’t pick up bacteria sitting around in the shower.

Jenn Sinrich Jenn Sinrich is an experienced writer, digital and social editor, and content strategist covering health, fitness, beauty, and relationships. Kristin Canning Kristin Canning is the health editor at Women’s Health, where she assigns, edits and reports on emerging health research and technology, women’s health conditions, psychology, mental health, wellness entrepreneurs, and the intersection of health and culture for both print and digital.

Razor burn.

The unsightly and uncomfortable facial rash experienced by most men after a shave.

Why?

Because most men shave incorrectly.

It’s true!

Have you ever taken a course on shaving best practices?

I doubt it – and therefore how do you know:

  • shave stroke length?
  • shave stroke direction?
  • the difference in razor types?
  • how often to start using a new blade?
  • what water temperatures are best?
  • why higher quality creams/lubricants are desirable?

In this article I go into all this and more, giving you 11 shaving tips to improve upon and thus reduce the chances of razor burn.

Sound good?

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What is Razor Burn?

Razor burn is similar to a rash – featuring tiny, painful bumps which cause infected pimples and clog the pores on your skin. The result is itchy skin that looks red for several days.

A regular shave can remove up to two layers of skin from your face.

That’s not as bad as it sounds. The older layers need to be exfoliated to promote fresh skin growth. So shaving becomes an exfoliating process for men. But done incorrectly, shaving can cause a lot more problems than you bargained for.

With sufficient preparation and armed with knowledge of correct shaving technique, it is possible to eliminate razor burn. Follow the 11 tips listed below for smooth, clean and comfortable shaves.

#1 Prepare The Surface – Wet The Beard

The hair on your face is as hard as copper wire but softens when wet. Facial hair absorbs moisture and swells up. The swollen hair follicles are quite weak and much easier to cut. Getting those hairs ready for a shave is easy as jumping into a warm shower for a few minutes.

Don’t spend too much time in the shower, or you will end up with dry skin.

The other alternative is a technique used by barbers…. the warm towel wrap. Rinse your face with warm water and then wrap a warm towel around your face for a couple of minutes. The heat causes the blood vessels in the area of contact to swell, allowing for a smoother glide of the razor blade.

If you are in the habit of using a facial exfoliator – now is the time to use it. The exfoliating grains lift the hair follicles up and away from the face, making the job of cutting them much simpler.

Never shave cold or apply shaving products to a dry face – this is one of the leading causes of razor burn and shaving rash.

#2 Use A Shave Oil

A pre-shave oil like the Beard Master Shave Oil from Grooming Lounge softens your beard and allows the razor to cut easily through the hairs, without causing irritation to the hair or pulling on your skin. Oils and water do not mix very well. The shave oil locks in the moisture on your face and keeps the area moist throughout the shave.

Pre-shave oil works to lubricate the razor’s path and prevent friction which causes razor-burn. The oil is mostly removed by the razor during the shave. Any remaining oil washes out easily post-shave.

A few drops of shaving oil (3-5 ) applied to the bearded portion of your face is sufficient. Any extra oil can be safely applied to the hair on your head to avoid wastage.

Shaving oil can be a substitute for shaving cream, but it works better in conjunction with a quality cream.

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#3 Upgrade To A Quality Shaving Cream

Shaving creams with a high concentration of moisturizers and lubricants lock the moisture on your face, keeping the hair upright and primed for a cut.

The best shaving creams create a creamy lather similar to the consistency of your toothpaste. These products offer the best lubrication between your skin and razor – so that the blades glide smoothly across your skin.

Let the shaving cream soak into your whiskers for a minute, so that the beard is as wet and soft as possible before shaving.

The less a product foams, the better suited it is for a shave. Often the foam is just fluffy air that makes it hard to see the hair you are shaving.

Avoid cheap drug store bands that use propellants and create unnecessary foam and upgrade to a quality product like the Beard Destroyer Shave Cream by Grooming Lounge

#4 Use A Shaving Brush To Apply The Cream

A badger brush is one of the best tools you can use to prevent razor burn. A synthetic brush will also work but a badger brush will ensure an even distribution of the cream all over your face.

A brush helps raise the hair for the closest cut possible. It also helps create a rich creamy lather with the shaving cream. Additionally, it helps remove dead skin cells which reduces the chance of a razor burn.

Look for a shaving brush with bristles that are soft enough to create a rich creamy lather and firm enough to raise the beard for a closer shave.

Using the brush – apply the shaving cream in a circular motion and end with an upward stroke to lift the hair up and away from the face.

#5 Upgrade To A Quality Razor

Using a razor with a dull blade is one of the contributing factors to razor burn and shaving rash.

Have you tried cutting vegetables with a dull knife? Imagine what you’re doing to your face by using a dull blade.

A dull blade creates a lot of drag and resistance – tearing your beard instead of neatly cutting the hair.

Always use a good quality sharp razor blade. Change the blades regularly or ensure the razor blade is sharp.

Stuck in a rut using cartridge razors with three to six blades? Experiment and look for other options. Most men who try double-edged safety razors testify that it solved their razor burn issues.

A safety razor will be more economic over the long run and it forces you to pay attention to your technique.

The single blade provides a clean cut of the hair, eliminating the need for unnecessary multiple blades.

The blades are cheaper – around $0.35 a piece. Shave for shave, they are considerably cheaper than using a cartridge razor.

What’s the best razor to use to prevent razor burn and skin irritation? Refer to this article for the different razor types and my ranking of them.

#6 Improve Your Shaving Technique

Learn to shave the right way to avoid razor burn. Most of us learnt how to shave by just putting a razor on our face. No one taught us technique. Well, it makes a big difference.

But first – we need to unlearn the bad habits.

Focus on less pressure and smaller strokes. Less resistance, less irritation, less scraping and fewer nicks.

  • Shave in the direction of the beard growth – Shave with the grain. Start with the sides, followed by the mustache area and then the chin. The chin hairs are the toughest, so this allows them the most time to soften under the shave cream. Every man’s facial hair has its own growth direction. If you are unsure about the direction of hair growth on your face, let it grow for a few days and you’ll see the pattern.
  • Apply minimal pressure & use short strokes – Safety razors are typically heavier than disposable and cartridge razors. The key is not to press at all, but let gravity do the work with a light hold on the razor. Let the razor do the work – do not press too hard. Use shorter strokes to avoid pressing the razor too hard.
  • Rinse the blade under hot water before you begin to shave and after every few strokes. This removes the accumulated shaving cream, and cut hair that could interfere with a clean shave. Hot water helps lubricate your skin, but it doesn’t kill the bacteria on the razor.

#7 Shave Twice

Not multiple passes back and forth. Once, clean, rinse, re-apply cream and shave again for problem spots.

You won’t need to apply oil again, you should still have a layer and adding water makes the oil stick more.

Constant passes will agitate your skin. After the first pass, you may be tempted to reshave certain areas. That’s not a good idea… too much shaving over the same area is a contributing factor to razor burn. Instead, repeat the above process, reapplying some more lather from your brush to the areas you wish to shave again.

This is one of the extra advantages of using a brush. For most guys, re-shaving certain areas with the grain should do the job.

Professional barbers usually shave with the grain, followed by a shave following the sideways growth of hair.

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#8 Rinse Your Face With Cold Water Post-Shave

After your shave, rinse with cool water to soothe your skin and prevent ingrown hairs.

Rinsing with cold water causes the blood vessels on the skin to contract, reducing swelling and bleeding from the small skin tears.

Pat dry with a clean towel, don’t rub your face as it would be quite sensitive at this point.

#9 After-Shave Balm

Wrap up your shave with an aftershave moisturizer. I have tested and use the Best For Last Aftershave balm from the Grooming Lounge.

Shaving can remove up to two layers of skin.It is so important to use a good quality moisturizer to soothe your skin after shaving. The best aftershave moisturizers not only replace lost moisture and soothe, but also have ingredients that will cool and refresh the skin.

An after shave moisturizer that acts as an after shave balm and moisturizer in one is the best way to calm the skin and replenish lost moisture.

Use an after-shave made specifically for men. These formulas are usually fragrance-free and designed so that they are absorbed quickly, are not greasy and are dry with a matte finish so that your face doesn’t look shiny.

Avoid all alcohol-based aftershaves. They tend to aggravate the skin even more.

#10 Use An Anti Razor Burn Lotion

30 minutes after a shave, apply an anti-razor burn lotion. These products are specifically designed for people with razor burn. To eliminate razor burn – you may want to consider going that extra step.

The use of these lotions will reduce razor burn, irritation and itchiness caused by shaving, ingrown hairs and bumps by infusing skin with healing antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to combat the redness.

The Grooming Lounge’s The Shavior contains glycolic acid which acts as an exfoliant, allantoin and chamomile which soothe the skin and anti-inflammatory bisabolol.

#11 Clean Your Razor With Alcohol

A lot of razor burn is caused by bacteria that grows unchecked on your razor. Tread with caution when reusing blades… aother reason I prefer safety razors – it’s less expensive to change the blades.

if you’re using a cartridge racer for a week or two weeks, you’re trying to save money you could be causing yourself a rash and some razor burn in exchange.

The hot water used to rinse blades is not going to kill the bacteria. For that to happen, you would need to boil the razor and blade. The hot water rinse only helps to get rid of shaving cream buildup, hairs and oils on the blade.

To clean the blade, use some rubbing alcohol before and after. Rinse the blade thoroughly before you put it away.

After rinsing, shake the razor, but do not wipe the blade with a towel or tissue – that will just make it dull faster.

Bonus #12 Consider Shaving Less

Reduce the frequency of your shaves to counter the issue.

Too much shaving can irritate your skin which breaks out in protest. Skip a day on the weekend or during the week. My shaving routine is limited to three or four times a week.

If you are already suffering from razor burn, consider not shaving for a few days to let your skin heal itself. Avoid making the existing rash worse by shaving over it.

The rash should subside in a few days as your skin naturally. When you’re ready to shave again – follow the steps outlines above to avoid razor burn.

Want To Learn How To Wet Shave Like A Professional in 5 Days?

If you’re not that into pubic hair, you’ll probably know the immense, all-consuming discomfort you feel the day after shaving your bikini region. It’s so awful, it makes many women turn to the pricier (and ouchier) waxing instead, or just leaving it au naturel to save all the hassle and cash (which, btw, we’re all for).

But one Reddit user, who previously worked as a stripper for four years so knows what it’s like to have her crotch quite literally in the spotlight, has shared her trusted techniques to a blemish-free bikini area after shaving.

She says…

– Exfoliate, then rub the area with baby oil before you shave to soften the hair and skin.

– Shave using a men’s razor (one with four blades) and men’s moisturising shaving cream. Since they are made for faces, they are extra gentle.

– Dab some Ingrown Hair Solution on the skin after you shave to kill bacteria and close your pores.

Skin Doctors contains Acetylsalicylic and glycolic acid – both of which are known for their ability to dissolve any build up of dead skin cells from the surface of the dermis and prevent pores clogging and ingrown hairs. Clever, huh?

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– Then apply deodorant (an unscented Dove stick works best) liberally. This will keep you dry down there so you won’t chafe and prevents razor bumps.

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Speaking about her technique, she says:

“Mine was always flawless, I was a dancer for four years and did this almost daily. I posted this same routine under my old account and I got TONS of messages in my inbox with girls thanking me for their blemish-free pies.”

So if you want your, er, ‘pie’ as smooth as can be, give her tips a go.

Summer Beauty Essentials

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How to Prevent Razor Burn, Razor Bumps, & Ingrown Hairs

Nothing feels or looks worse after a good shave than an irritated face and neckline. What causes these unsightly issues though and how do we prevent them?

What Causes Shave Irritation?

There are two main layers of skin. The top layer is made up of old, dead skin cells, while the bottom layer is newly formed skin cells. When you shave, you naturally exfoliate the face, removing the dead skin. Razor burn and razor bumps occur when improperly preparing your face for a shave, and thus, irritate the newly formed skin.

Razor Burn: Razor burn occurs when you’ve irritated the skin by shaving. This can happen for many reasons – you’ve irritated skin by too many razor strokes, bacteria from your razor has infected the skin, or you just have sensitive skin.

Ingrown Hairs and razor bumps: Ingrown hair and razor bumps occur when hair doesn’t fully grow beyond the skin’s surface and instead, coils back into the skin, creating bumps, irritation and potentially infection. African American men often have major issues with ingrown hairs since their hair is predominately curly, meaning hair grows right back into the skin.

How to Prevent Shave Irritation

  1. Steam open your hair follicles and thoroughly wet your face – Take time in the morning to take a hot shower, which opens up the follicles and softens the hairs. Make sure you never shave without thoroughly wetting your face or beard. Wet hair is dramatically weaker than dry hair, allowing for it to be cut more easily.
  2. Exfoliate – Using a face scrub for men on the hair areas you’re going to shave will loosen up hairs, allowing for a cleaner shave. Exfoliating (scrubbing) also helps remove the top, dead layer of skin on the face allowing the blade to cut the hair closer at its base.
  3. Always use a sharp, new blade – Never use a blade more than 4-5 uses and keep it disinfected by pouring some alcohol on it before shaving (make sure to rinse after disinfecting with alcohol). One of the biggest causes of skin irritation is bacteria coming from your blade. We highly suggest using a single blade option as well – like a safety razor.
  4. Shave with the grain of your hair, gently – Always shave with the grain of your hair and do not press your blade into your skin. Pulling the skin tight to get a “closer shave” causes you to cut the hair underneath the skin, causing the hair to grow into the skin, not out of it.
  5. Rinse the blade off between strokes- This prevents men’s shaving cream, whiskers, and dead skin cells from building up on the blade and ultimately preventing a close shave.
  6. Use a natural, non-lathering shave cream – The best shaving cream for men is one that doesn’t lather. The ingredients used to create lather are very irritating to the skin. Picture this: Every time you shave, you’re creating microscope cuts in the skin, to only then let irritating chemicals seep into the skin. This creates the perfect opportunity for irritation to occur. Just say no to foam or lather.
  7. Use an alcohol free aftershave – The best aftershave lotion for men is one that doesn’t contain alcohol or menthol. Instead, use a men’s aftershave balm that contains natural Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as sugar cane, sugar maple, and orange peel. These natural anti-septics help the skin repair itself without infection or red bumps. While you may think alcohol or menthol will help disinfect the skin and prevent bacteria from causing zits and bumps after a shave, it’s the complete opposite. Alcohol in men’s aftershave lotion will irritate the skin causing not only discomfort, but ugly irritation. All the rinsing, rubbing, and scrapping from shaving drys out the skin which creates an environment for irritation. Make sure your aftershave lotion contains an abundance of aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and Vitamin E. These powerful natural ingredients restore lost moisture, allowing the skin to repair itself faster.

Are you a man with sensitive skin and loathe shaving? You’ll want to check out our Shaving for Men with Sensitive Skin article. If you’re a black man, make sure to see our Shaving Tips for Black Men guide.

Nine ways to treat and prevent razor burn

Razor burn is an uncomfortable and annoying condition, but it usually resolves itself with time.

However, there are a number of treatments available to ease the symptoms of razor burn, ranging from over-the-counter products to at-home remedies. Options include:

1. Avoid shaving or touching the area

By leaving the skin alone, it gives the area time to heal and can reduce the risk of further inflammation, irritation, or infection.

2. Cool compresses

Placing a cool, wet compress on the affected area can help to reduce itching and inflammation.

To make a cold compress, simply place a clean washcloth under a stream of cold water. Wring off the excess and apply to the skin for up to 20 minutes. This can be repeated as often as needed.

3. Astringent liquids

One of the most popular home remedies for razor burn is the application of a natural astringent liquid. These help to reduce the inflammation and redness associated with both razor bumps and razor burn.

Examples of popular natural astringents include:

  • apple cider vinegar
  • chilled, brewed black tea
  • tea tree oil (a few drops mixed with water)
  • witch hazel extract

These can be applied directly to the face or added to a cold compress.

4. Natural oils

Share on PinterestAvocado oil may be used to soften and hydrate the skin.

Several natural oils can be used to soften and hydrate the skin, which can reduce the sensations of itching, tenderness, and burning.

Some of the most popular oils include:

  • avocado oil
  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • sweet almond oil

Other emollients, including unscented lotions, aftershaves, and moisturizers, can also be applied to dry skin. People should not use products that contain alcohol because it is a known skin irritant.

5. Aloe vera

Aloe vera gel, taken from the aloe vera plant, is often used for burns, cuts, and scrapes. Anecdotal evidence reports its soothing abilities in cases of razor burn.

In addition, research shows that certain enzymes in the aloe vera plant reduce inflammation when applied to the skin.

People wishing to use aloe vera can squeeze the gel directly from the plant onto the affected area, or use a commercially available aloe vera product for sensitive or damaged skin.

6. Oatmeal bath

Oatmeal is often used to treat a variety of skin issues, particularly inflammatory conditions. According to some research, it possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain its effectiveness as a natural remedy for razor burn.

Adding either regular or colloidal oatmeal, or an oatmeal-based bath product, to a tub of lukewarm water can help to provide symptom relief. This can be especially helpful for razor burn on the pubic area or legs.

7. Baking soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a natural salt that is mainly used in baking. However, it is a popular natural treatment for a variety of ailments, including razor burn and razor bumps.

Mix a cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and apply to the skin using a cotton pad. Once the mixture dries, rinse it off. Repeat up to twice daily until symptoms resolve.

Alternatively, 1 cup of baking soda can be added to a lukewarm bath to alleviate symptoms.

8. Over-the-counter lotions

Several over-the-counter products are available to treat razor burn. Aftershave lotion for both men and women may provide benefits, while baby products such as baby oil or diaper rash creams are both gentle and soothing for irritated skin.

Products containing hydrocortisone can reduce swelling and redness. Salicylic acid, a product typically used to treat acne, may also be beneficial for those with razor burn.

Those with razor bumps in addition to razor burn may benefit from lotions containing glycolic acid, which has been shown to reduce lesions by 60 percent. This could allow people to resume a daily shaving routine.

Specially formulated razor bump creams are also available to prevent ingrown hairs, including Bump Stopper and Tend Skin.

9. Antibiotics for infection

Razor burn is often accompanied by bumps. While these generally resolve without complication, there is the possibility of infection.

If the bumps appear to be infected, show white or pus-filled heads, or become tender or painful to the touch, those affected should consult a doctor. Antibiotic treatment may be required.

What Can I Do to Prevent Razor Burn?

  • Larger text sizeLarge text sizeRegular text size

Sometimes I get razor burn with a new razor. What can I do to prevent it?
– Hector*

Common causes of razor burn include:

  • dry shaving (shaving dry skin without soap and water, shaving cream, or gel)
  • using old razors
  • shaving against the direction the hair is growing

But you may not do any of those and still have a problem. Some people just have super-sensitive skin. Shaving cream or gel can help, as can shaving after a warm shower or putting a warm washcloth on your face before you shave. If you have sensitive skin, scented products like aftershave can irritate it. Instead, rinse with cool water or put a cool washcloth on your face after shaving to help soothe the skin.

The right shaving technique also can help:

  • Make short, light razor strokes in the same direction as your hair grows.
  • Try not to go over the same area more than once.
  • While shaving, rinse the blade after every few strokes so gel and hair don’t build up.
  • When using a new razor, try not to push down as hard as you did with your old one — a sharp razor doesn’t need as much pressure to get a clean shave.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time to shave so you can be careful and not rush.

One other thing: Some guys people don’t need to shave every day. Shaving when there’s not enough hair growth can irritate the skin. Before you lather up, look in the mirror at the spot you want to shave. If you don’t see much hair growth, you can give your razor the day off.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD Date reviewed: February 2019

How to Prevent and Deal with Razor Burn from Electric Shavers

Written by Advice Team on August 17, 2017

It’s a trait that many of us face; the grin and bear it. We don’t want to complain about it, we sometimes refuse to acknowledge it but razor burn is a dilemma that many of us endure daily. Even when we’ve switched to an electric shaver with the assurance of comfort during and after our shave, it still rears its unsightly head.

You might have tried different ways to deal with razor burn but preventing it from happening is key. Gentleman, it’s time to save your skin from unsightly razor burn with a little TLC.

The Basics

Replacing Foils and Worn Blades

Even though an electric shaver is gentler to our skin, if the blades have grown dull and the foils have worn out, you have to apply more pressure to achieve a cleaner shave. The result? You’ll need to go over the same area more than once and end up with razor burn. The less the shaver comes into contact with your skin the less irritation. Typically blades and foils last 12 months.

Cleaning After Every Use

When you’re on the go you don’t always have time for maintenance but electric shavers build up hair, dead skin and dirt with each shave. It not only affects the performance of the shaver but becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Thoroughly cleaning with the supplied brush or using the cleaning & charging stations keeps electric shavers hygienic.

Battery Charge

When a battery is losing its juice it’s not at its peak performance. Ensuring your electric shaver has a good charge avoids a careless and uneven shave. Not to mention, it’ll stop the hairs being painfully tugged by the blades. However, there are some exceptions to this, modern lithium battery based shavers deliver power more consistently during the life of the charge. Also, higher end shavers with a linear drive motor deliver a constant speed until they’re completely discharged.

Dry Electric Shaving

Check the Mirror

It sounds simple but making sure you shave in front of the mirror will help you avoid going over the same area more than once. That’ll lead to exposed skin and dragging the blade over the same spot will cause razor burn.

Keep as Dry as Possible

Whilst washing your face before shaving is important to keep the skin clean, don’t do it just before a dry shave. You’ll want your razor as dry as possible too. It’ll make for a smoother shave.

Pre-Shave Treatments

If you don’t have the time to sit and watch your face dry, it’s worth using pre-shave treatments. It comes in lotions, oils, gels and powder. Pre-shave products help hairs stand to attention ready for cutting, as well as adding a layer of lubrication for an easy glide. There are some that contain tea tree and aloe vera for irritation-free shaves.

Wet Electric Shaving

Take a Hot Shower

Don’t pick up the electric shaver immediately; you need to give your skin a few minutes to breathe and allow for the hair to soften. Don’t wait too long either. Your skin swells in the heat and could leave you with stray stubble to tackle after.

Shave at Night

Throughout the day we sweat and come into contact with all sorts of toxins from pollution. If we face the world freshly shaven it greatly increases the odds of razor burn for sensitive skin. Shave before bed and keep your pores clean from outside bacteria.

A Good Foam Goes a Long Way

Shaving creams and foams create a protective barrier between the skin and the blade. It defends against razor burn and makes for a much more comfortable shave. If you glide over the area and miss a patch of stubble, lather the spot and shave again. Don’t go over the area dry. There will be skin there that’s already exposed and it’ll be susceptible to razor burn. If you use a shaving brush the bristles get the product right down to the skin for extra cover.

Changing Direction

Unlike shaving with a razor, electric shavers give a closer finish when you shave against the direction of the hair growth. It’s important to get the angle of the shaver right too. Use back and forth strokes with foil shavers and circular motions when using a rotary shaver. This should make the shave easier and prevent the snagging of facial hair.

After your shave splash some cold water on your skin. The cold shock tightens pores and always pat your skin after as rubbing a towel across your face can irritate the skin further.

Post-Shave Balm

Aftershave balm is purpose built for soothing the skin. If you’re prone to razor burn then it’s a good idea to go for alcohol and fragrance free balms. Go for a product with natural substances such as aloe vera, camellia oil or tea tree oil. Gently massage a small amount into your face.

Unfortunately some of us are just prone to razor burn, so try to avoid tight collars or material that’ll rub against the skin. A cold compress will offer instant relief and natural substances like aloe vera will moisturise the skin and speed up the healing process. If you can bare a 5’o’clock shadow, try to avoid shaving until the affected area has healed to prevent further inflammation. If you try some of these helpful tips, let us know how you get on.

Not sure what type of electric shaver is for you? Give our blog a read on Rotary vs Foil Shavers

Some of our Electric Shaver Recommendations:

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Razor rash, which appears as red, bumpy patches of skin, is caused by bacteria or a dull razor blade. Electric razors don’t show the signs of wear as easily as the disposable variety, and it is easy to forget to change the blade. The screen and cutter of an electric razor should be replaced once a year. Razor rashes are itchy and uncomfortable enough to make sure that you never make this mistake again, but in the meantime, irritated skin needs a bit of extra care. Soothe and cure electric razor rash with some home remedies.

Soak a clean cloth in cold water and wring it out completely. Hold it against the affected skin to numb the area.

Pour 1/4 cup of water into a bowl and drop two tablets of aspirin into the water. Allow the tablets to dissolve and mix with a spoon to create a mixture. Smooth the mixture over the rash and allow it to set for five minutes. Rinse with warm water and gently pat the area dry with a towel. Aspirin reduces inflammation and irritation.

Soak a cotton pad in witch hazel and gently smooth it over the area. Witch hazel tightens skin and promotes healing.

Smooth a dime-sized amount of 1 percent hydrocortisone cream over the area with your fingertip. This amount covers 2 square inches of skin and reduces swelling and itching.

Tip

Shave at night or wait at least 20 minutes after you wake up, working in the direction of hair growth to prevent razor burn. Skin is swollen in the morning, which makes nicks more likely.

Store your razor in a clean and dry place to avoid bacteria build up.

6 Reasons Why You’re Getting Razor Burn (and How to Stop it)

Do you ever want to go completely shaven but don’t because of razor burn? If so, you’re not alone. Razor burn is something that affects a number of men. Sometimes it’s the texture of your hair that’s causing those unwanted bumps, and in other cases, guys get razor burn from poor shaving techniques. Either way, having irritated, bumpy skin is not only unflattering, it’s also uncomfortable.

Here are some reasons why your razor is irritating your skin, as well as various ways to prevent it from happening in the future.

Reason: You’re shaving with a dull razor

Even if you use the best razor on the market, the act of shaving can still put unwanted stress on your skin. But when you throw a dull razor into the mix, you end up giving your skin the harshest treatment possible. That’s because dull razors don’t shave nearly as effectively as they should. What you would normally achieve in one gentle stroke now requires three or four strokes, and that adds excessive stress on your face. Have you ever shaved with a dull or cheap razor and felt like your face was just a little sore? It’s because taking those extra strokes caused micro-abrasions in your skin. Over time, these tiny abrasions can become irritated or infected, causing your skin to develop razor burn in the form of rashes and bumps.

Solution: Stop shaving with cheap razors. Ideally, you don’t want to ever shave with one of those dollar store disposable razors. But if you have to, then never use it more than once.

You should also pay attention to how effective your razor is working while you shave. If you find yourself going over the same area in hopes of getting those stubborn hairs, your razor is probably past its expiration date.

Reason: Your razor is dirty

Regardless of where you’re shaving on your body, hygiene should be your topmost priority. And shaving with a dirty razor is about unhygienic as you can get when it comes to grooming. Every time you drag that razor blade across your face, you’re transmitting bacteria from the blade onto your skin. If you happen to nick yourself, those bacteria can get into the cut and cause further irritation or infections.

Solution: There’s really no way you can stop bacteria from forming on your razor blade, but you can limit how dirty it gets by storing it in dry space with plenty of ventilation. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, and keeping your razor dry helps to prevent bacteria from building up on your blades. So think twice before you leave your razor on that wet sink or toss it into a toiletry bag.

Once your razor has dried out, you want to put it back in the plastic blade cover it came in. This also helps protect your razor from rust and bacteria. Also, make sure to change blades after seven or eight shaves.

Reason: You’re shaving dirty skin

Your skin carries all of the oil, dirt, and grime that you’ve accumulated throughout the day. If you don’t wash your face before you shave, you’re placing your skin at risk of becoming infected. Moreover, all of this buildup can actually cause unnecessary friction, making it harder for the razor to work effectively.

Solution: Wash your face before you shave and never try to shave on dry skin.

Reason: Your hair texture is causing it

Do you have curly, coarse hair? If so, your hair texture could be part of the reason you experience razor burn. Sometimes curly hair doesn’t grow completely outward like straight hair does. Instead, it loops back and grows inside the skin, never fully breaking the surface. This causes ingrown hairs to form, which explains for all the bumps that you may experience after shaving.

Researchers have found that approximately 50% of African Americans experience this at some level.

Solution: In clinical trials, topical ointments containing glycolic acid were seen to be effective at removing any bumps and rashes caused by ingrown hair, and there are a number of over-the-counter products designed for treating razor burn that contains this substance. But what about preventing it from happening in the future?

There are a number of different products on the market that are designed to prevent this from happening. Simply apply a hot washcloth to your face for a few minutes, use the pre-shave solution, and then shave normally. Don’t forget to use shaving cream after you use the solution. But if that doesn’t work, you might want to consider switching to an electric razor.

Reason: You have dry skin

Taking a razor to dry skin will only exacerbate the dryness symptoms that you’re already experiencing. This can leave you with an itchy, red-colored patch of skin that’s as uncomfortable as it is unflattering.

Solution: Buy moisturizer for your face (or body, depending on what you’re shaving) and apply it regularly. Even when you take shaving out of the equation, dry skin is something that you want to avoid.

Reason: You’re shaving against the grain

Did you ever finish shaving only to feel like your entire face was on fire? If so, you probably shaved against the grain. In other words, you were pulling your razor in the direction opposite of how the hair grows. Shaving against the grain creates unnecessary friction and stress as each swipe of the razor roughly pulls your hair, leaving you with a sensitive, red patch of irritated skin.

Solution: Take your time and shave gently, with the direction your hair grows.

Getting a Comfortable Shave Every Time

The best way to reduce razor burn is to take your time and not rush through the process. You are dragging an incredibly sharp metal object across your skin, after all. You might also want to look into some of the premium razors sold at men’s stores and specialty shops. While the initial cost of these razors can range anywhere from $50 to $100 dollars, they’re known to give a better shave provided you change the blades frequently.

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