Beards might be extremely popular nowadays, but the majority of men still choose to shave. And a lot of them do it on a daily basis. No matter whether they have normal or sensitive skin, they may have to deal with razor burns from time to time. It can be caused by using inappropriate shaving product or using no product at all, by a dull blade or a wrong shaving technique.
When you get a razor burn, your skin becomes irritated, red, sometimes even itchy and swollen. A red rash is a common symptom of a razor burn, too. And obviously, this problem affects women as well since many of them choose to shave over using creams, epilators and laser hair removal as this is the quickest and most affordable way of removing unwanted hair on legs, under the armpits and in the bikini area.
Causes Of Razor Burn
A red or pink rash and bumps on the skin appear a few minutes after shaving if you have some short hair that after shaving curls back into the skin and is seen as a foreign body by the immune system. A small inflammation occurs in the shaved area and irritation and redness occur. These symptoms usually disappear within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the sensitivity of your skin.
The main cause of razor burns is a wrong shaving technique. When you use regular soap instead of a special shaving gel, cream or foam, you are much more prone to skin irritation. Also, prolonged use of the same shaving blade that is not sharp enough anymore influences the occurrence of rash. And if you press the blade against the skin too hard or shave against the direction of hair growth, you have red bumps guaranteed.
How To Prevent Razor Burns
Don’t Shave Too Often
If you have sensitive skin and you get razor burns often, you should reduce the number of times you use the blade to remove the unwanted hair or you might have to look for some alternatives. Your skin needs a day or two to recover after the shaving that ended up in a razor burn. If you repeat the process the next day, your skin will not have a chance to heal. That’s why, whenever it’s possible, skip one or two shaving sessions. If it’s not possible because your hair grows too fast and you don’t feel comfortable with it, look at some other ways of hair removal. If the problem affects your face, try an electric shaver that is more gentle to the skin. If you get a razor burn under the armpit, in the bikini area or on your legs, consider waxing, using shaving creams or even laser hair removal. This way you will only need to shave the sensitive area once some single hairs appear instead of doing it almost every day.
Prepare the Skin for Shaving
Don’t take your skin by surprise with a razor. Prepare it first and you will avoid red bumps. Ideally, you should shave after or during the shower so that the pores open from the warm temperature. Thanks to this, your hair will be easier to remove with a blade. Also, you can exfoliate the skin before shaving. When you do it, you remove the outer layer of dead skin cells and you get easier access to the hair.
Get a Good Razor
The type of razor you use and the way you maintain it is crucial to keeping the shaved areas in a good condition. An ideal razor should have three to four blades so that you can reduce the number of strokes you make while shaving. The chances of getting razor bumps go up with every blade stroke made on the same skin surface. That is why you should use the one or two-bladed razors only when you really have to, for example when you go on a trip.
Also, while shaving, you should rinse the blade after every stroke. This way the hair won’t accumulate between the blades and won’t make the razor dull, in which case you would have to shave the same area a few times or press harder to make the blades effective. After every shave, dry your razor with a clean towel and put it in a place where it has access of fresh, dry air. If you keep your razor in a moist place, it will get dull faster.
It is also worth mentioning that you shouldn’t share the razor with anyone for hygiene reasons. Even if you wish to share everything with your nearest and dearest, the hygiene accessories are only yours. This is for the skin health benefit of everybody.
Use Shaving Products
If you ever shave quickly, with just water or regular soap, forget about doing it from now on. The blade has to glide smoothly on your skin if you don’t want to get razor burns. Invest in a good shaving gel or a shaving foam and use it according to the indicated directions. Shaving products are usually relatively inexpensive and one bottle of shaving foam lasts up to one month if you use it every day. Your skin will thank you for that.
A good blade and a shaving gel are not the only products that may help you avoid razor burns. If you shave your face, you should consider applying the shaving product with a brush, which is more effective than applying it just with your fingers. The shaving brush helps lather up your beard and put the shaving cream under each whisker. This assures an even smoother glide of the razor on the skin and reduces the chances of irritation. Also, it makes the whole shaving process quicker as you won’t have to repeat the strokes several times on the same area when your hair is better prepared. If you use the shaving brush, make sure you keep it in a dry place as bacteria thrive in moist places and you might transfer them on your skin while preparing your skin for the next shave.
Apply an Appropriate Shaving Technique
First and foremost, shave with the direction of the hair growth. This will prevent the skin from getting irritated. If you feel the necessity to do a backstroke to achieve a perfectly smooth skin, make sure you apply some extra shaving product to provide a glide to the razor. Rinse the remains of shaving gel or foam with lukewarm water and finish off with a splash of cold water. This will close the pores and reduce the sensation of burning. After you shave the desired area, apply some cooling product, like aloe vera gel.
Choose the Right Clothes and Timing
After you shave your armpits, bikini areas and legs, avoid wearing tight clothes that might cause further irritation. Don’t shave ten minutes before putting on a pair of tight jeans or some underwear made of synthetic fabrics. In general, it’s better for your skin if you choose to wear clothes made of natural fabrics, like cotton. However, if your favourite clothes are made of some materials that can cause skin irritation, avoid wearing them at least 24 hours after shaving. Also, don’t shave just before going to the swimming pool or the beach. Freshly shaved skin is very sensitive and immediate contact with chloride or exposure to the sun can cause a red rash or even inflammation.
How To Get Rid Of A Razor Burn Fast
If you have a very sensitive skin and despite all the prevention you still get razor burns, you need to know how to deal with it. It is especially important if you shave just before an important meeting or any situation when your skin should be in an impeccable condition. Below you will find a list of best remedies that will help you get rid of a razor burn fast.
Each time you finish shaving, you should rinse the treated with cold water to close the pores and reduce the chances of skin irritation. If you still see some signs of a razor burn coming out after that, you can try to apply a cold compress. Take a few ice cubes and wrap them in a clean, cotton cloth. Press the wrapped ice against the affected skin and hold it for 2 minutes. If the irritated area is larger, don’t rub the cloth with ice along the skin. Instead, pat the skin with it.
Alternatively, you can soak a clean towel in very cold water and place it over the affected skin area. If need be, soak it two to three times more as it might get warm quite fast when it comes in touch with the skin.
Due to its soothing and antibacterial properties, honey is a perfect solution for many skin problems, including a razor burn. It reduces the inflammation, soothes the itchiness and reduces the swelling. Additionally, it nourishes and moisturises the skin. Honey can be applied directly to the skin. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water. Finish off with cold water for best results.
You can also make a honey and yoghurt mask. Use equal amounts of plain yoghurt and honey and mix the two ingredients. The amount will obviously depend on the size of the skin area affected. If you need the mixture only for your face, one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of yoghurt should be enough. Apply the mixture on the irritated skin and leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm water, finishing off with cold water again.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce the itching sensation when used in the treatment of razor burns. If you have normal skin, you can apply apple cider vinegar directly on the irritated skin. However, if your skin is sensitive, mix equal amounts of vinegar and water before the application. Dip a cotton ball in the solution and dab it on the skin affected by a razor burn. Leave it on to dry and rinse off with cold water after a few minutes. You should repeat the process three times a day or until the burning sensation is gone.
Black Tea Bags
Black tea contains tannic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce the swelling and redness on the skin. Due to the size of the tea bags, this solution is practical only on small areas of irritated skin, but it’s very effective. Soak one or two tea bags in water, take them out and squeeze out the excess of water. Put the tea bags in the refrigerator for 10 minutes so that they are cold when you apply them on the skin. The cooling effect will additionally reduce the redness and the itching sensation. Press the bags gently against the affected skin and leave them on for 10 minutes. Rinse the skin with cold water. Repeat three to four times a day and the symptoms of the razor burn will virtually disappear.
You can use baking soda both before and after shaving due to its versatile properties. If you apply some baking soda on the skin before shaving, you will get a gentle exfoliating effect. If you use it after shaving, baking soda will reduce the inflammation and the redness. All you need to do is put some baking soda in a small bowl and add a little bit of cold water. Mix it and if you don’t get a smooth paste, a bit more water. Once the paste has the consistence of a cream but is not too runny (in which case you just need to add some baking powder), apply it on the skin with your fingers or a cotton ball. Keep it on for three to five minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water. For best results, repeat the treatment three times a day.
Oatmeal soothes and gently exfoliates the skin. Just like with baking soda, it might be helpful when used either before or after shaving. Take two tablespoons of finely ground oatmeal and add one tablespoon of honey. Mix it well. You can add a teaspoon of water to achieve the desired consistence. Apply the mixture on the irritated skin and leave it on for half an hour. Rinse it off with lukewarm water and repeat again after a few hours.
Aloe vera doesn’t need any recommendation as a soothing product. It has been used in cosmetics and medicines for centuries. The pulp from this plant brings immediate relief to the skin affected by various types of burns, including those caused by the sun and, obviously, the razors.
You can either get bottled aloe vera gel or spray or – for best results – use the pulp from aloe vera leaves. Cut the leaf in half and squeeze the pulp out. Apply it on the irritated skin and leave on for half an hour. Rinse it off with cold water and repeat the process until the symptoms are gone. Aloe vera is very gentle to the skin so you can even leave it on overnight if you wish. This will additionally hydrate your skin and provide it with precious nutrients.
The market offers various lotions that can be used to heal the skin when you suffer from a razor burn. Lotions can be incorporated into the regular shaving routine as a means of prevention against razor burns. You can also apply them on the skin whenever a red rash caused by shaving appears. The most gentle lotions are those containing glycolic acid. They promote the healing and soothe the irritation. You can also choose a lotion that contains salicylic acid or alcohol. They have antiseptic properties, but bear in mind that they might dry out the skin with prolonged use and might not be a suitable choice for people with sensitive skin.
Petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, relieves itchiness and pain caused by a razor burn. It also locks the moisture in the skin so it prevents skin dehydration. Vaseline can give you an instant relief when you have a razor burn. Simply apply a thin coat of the product on the affected area and leave it to work its wonders. There is no need to wipe off or rinse off Vaseline. Just let the skin absorb it and apply another coat after two hours or even earlier if you notice that the skin is already dry. Repeat the process until the skin heals completely.
Cucumber has strong healing and moisturising properties. It also works like a natural anti-inflammatory product and contains vitamins C and K which help relieve the pain and the itching sensation. If the skin area affected by a razor burn is small, you can simply cut a few slices of cucumber and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then apply the slices on the skin and leave them on for 20 minutes. For a stronger relief from pain, you can prepare a larger number of slices straight away and swap the used, warm ones for some cold ones after 10 minutes. If you have to treat a larger area, it is more comfortable if you grate one cucumber, cool it down and apply it on the irritated skin. Again, leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse it off with lukewarm or cold water.
Tea Tree Oil
Due to its antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil makes a perfect remedy for razor burns. You have to be careful, however, if you have a sensitive skin since pure tea tree oil might be harsh on the skin. That’s why you should dilute it with olive oil or some other gentle essential oil. It’s also a good idea to test the reaction of your skin to tea tree oil in advance, so that you know whether you can incorporate it into your home treatments.
Dilute half a teaspoon of tea tree oil in three tablespoons of olive oil. Mix the ingredients and rub them on your skin irritated by the blades. Leave t on for 15 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water. For best results, repeat the treatment three times a day.
Coconut oil is not only very effective when it comes to soothing razor burns, but it’s also very easy to apply on the skin as it usually has creamy consistence. It contains lauric acid that heals burns in no time. Additionally, coconut oil hydrates the skin very well. You can cool down a small amount of coconut oil for better result and apply a thin layer on the affected skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash it off with lukewarm water. If you want to leave it on without rinsing it off, it’s even better for your skin, but you need to make sure that your skin doesn’t come in touch with any fabric, as it may leave some stains that are very difficult to remove.
Since aspirin has strong anti-inflammatory properties, you can use it to reduce the redness, swelling and itching sensation on the skin affected by a razor burn. It is relatively easy to use but is more practical on small areas of skin. Take two to three aspirin tablets and crush them between two spoons. Put the powder into a small bowl and add a few drops of water, just enough to turn the aspirin into a paste. Mix it well and add a few more drops of water if need be. Apply this paste on the razor burn and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water and repeat two to three times a day or until the symptoms are completely gone.