Shaving is a fast, affordable, and convenient solution to removing unwanted body hair. But, while it can leave your skin smooth and fuzz free, using a razor can also have its downsides. And most notable – and irritating – is the dreaded razor burn.
Presenting as a tender rash, razor burn can also cause pimples after shaving, in-growing hairs, and infected follicles, all of which are not a good look. And some people are more prone to razor burn than others.
So how do you get that clean and close shave without feeling the burn? We look at some of the best ways to prevent red bumps after shaving as well as how to get rid of razor burn.
How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps
If razor burn appears, as well as giving the razor a rest for a few days, you can also get proactive in how you treat your irritated skin. When it comes to how long does it take to get rid of razor burn, with a little gentle treatment it should clear within a couple of days.
Here are just a few tried and tested home solutions for how to treat razor burn.
To get the heat out of a razor burn, a cold compress can help to reduce inflammation and ease irritation. And it’s easy to do – simply take a clean washcloth and hold it under a cold running tap, before wringing out and holding it against the affected area to cool it down. A hot compress can also be used as a preventative measure by helping to open pores and soften hairs before you shave.
Try an astringent
Applying an astringent liquid directly onto the razor burn can reduce the initial rawness and redness, as well as cool the affected area down. Opt for a natural astringent, such as apple cider vinegar or witch hazel, which also works as an anti-inflammatory to relieve pain and soothe the skin.
Soothe with natural products
It’s important to treat razor-burnt skin gently, to avoid further irritation and so choosing a natural razor burn treatment will both nourish and soothe without any harsh chemicals. Below are some of the bests for razor burns and rashes:Oils
There are some readily available oils which are effective in treating razor burn, including:
- Tea tree oil – a natural antiseptic, tea tree oil is also anti-inflammatory and works well to soothe razor burns and help your skin to heal. Always use diluted as concentrated, it can irritate skin.
- Coconut oil – a known skin booster and moisturizer coconut also has natural antiseptic properties that can calm and heal razor-irritated skin.
- Sweet almond oil – made from dried almond kernels, this oil is super moisturizing and works to calm and protect the skin.
Widely known to soothe and heal skin wounds, especially burns, aloe vera is the sap from the aloe vera plant and contains enzymes which can also reduce inflammation. It is also ideal for more sensitive skin and has a lovely cooling effect when applied.Oatmeal
If you have razor burns on large areas of your body such as your legs, then a colloidal oatmeal bath could be the solution. Colloidal oatmeal is when oats are ground down into a fine powder and contains phenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Added to a not too warm bath, soaking your irritated skin in oatmeal can also help to keep it moisturized and comfortable.
Make a baking soda paste
Baking soda is a natural salt you will find in your kitchen cabinet. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, it can also be a handy additional to your razor burn first aid kit as it cools and helps to draw out the sting in your skin. To create a soothing paste, mix baking soda with filtered water until it creates a thick paste, which you apply to your affected skin and leave to dry. Alternatively, add a cup of baking soda to luke-warm bath and soak away the irritation.
There are also some effective products for razor burn you can buy at the local drug store. These include hydrocortisone cream, a topical steroid which can help to reduce the swelling and irritation caused by razor burn. Diaper rash creams, normally intended for babies, can also be a soothing treatment which is gentle enough for sensitive skin.
How to Prevent Razor Burn
Another solution to razor burn is preventing it in the first place! Taking care with your skin and how you shave can greatly reduce those irritating and tender skin patches.
Here’s how to prevent razor bumps and burns slowing down your beauty routine:
- Prep your skin – regularly exfoliating your skin will help to keep it free of dead skin cells and surface debris which can block pores and lead to ingrowing hairs.
- Have a hot shower – before shaving having a shower or bath will help to not only cleanse the skin, but also soften the hair making it a smoother process to shave.
- Maintain razor hygiene – always ensure your razor is clean and sharp before shaving. And this means throwing away old razors and regularly changing the blades, as well as cleaning thoroughly after every use.
- Use shaving cream – lather your skin well with shaving cream first, as this will help to soften the hairs and lubricate the razor as it glides across your skin for a close, clean shave. And never dry shave as this is a sure-fire route to razor burn.
- Shave in the direction of the hair – shaving in the direction the hair grows, rather than against it, will help to reduce bumps and pimples caused by in-growing hairs.
- Thoroughly dry your skin – gently pat – don’t rub – the newly shaved and rinsed skin with a clean towel to ensure the skin is dry, before moisturizing to prevent irritation.
- Moisturize – keeping your skin well moisturized between shaves will maintain skin health and leave it feeling and looking nourished as well as create a smooth surface for a razor to glide across.
And finally, don’t shave every day – wherever possible, ensure there are time gaps between each shave, to give your skin the best chance to recover and remain healthy.
What Causes Razor Bumps?
Razor bumps are different to razor burn, although both are caused by the process of shaving. If you regularly shave, you may experience small red, irritated pimples or bumps on the surface of the skin. These bumps are caused by in-growing hairs, where the shaft of a previously shaved hair bends back on itself, instead of growing out and above the skin.
Sometimes these razor bumps can lead to the hair follicle getting infected – this is known as folliculitis. Folliculitis can be tender and sore, as well as lead to pus-filled blisters around the hair follicle which may need an antibacterial topical treatment to clear.
But should your razor bumps or burns not heal or get worse, it’s important to stop shaving, avoid squeezing or picking and see your doctor so you can prevent a more serious infection, which could lead to scarring.