Razor burn is irritation of the skin usually caused by not using a sharp enough blade so the skin is dragged and chafed or by not using the correct technique. Razor burn usually presents itself as a mild rash and some redness of the skin may occur usually 2-4 days after shaving. It can be short-lived and disappear in a few days or can last for days if severe enough. If you experience a rash at the time of shaving it is usually more to do with the skin being too dry during the shaving process, applying too much pressure, going against the natural growth direction or shaving too closely.
Razor bumps can occur on the face after shaving but also in areas where the hair removed is coarse and the area sensitive such as genital area shaving. Curly hair also tends to curl inwards as it grows and can curl back into the skin causing inflammation and can also cause pimple-like bumps. These papules or pustules that form can be red and sore especially if the area becomes infected.
Pseudofolliculitis Barbae is the medical term for ingrown hairs and these can be two different types – Transfollicular and Extrafollicular. The Transfollicular hair never leaves the hair follicle and the Extrafollicular hair is a hair that has exited the follicle and reentered the skin.
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Tips for Prevention:
- Keep the face or area being shaved well lubricated.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth.
- Use a sharp blade and avoid dull blades.
- Cleanse the face first to soften the hair growth.
- Shave lightly –don’t apply too much pressure.
- Use an aftershave that has no irritating ingredients and is an effective moisturizer. Skin Cream was formulated for sensitive skin and is ideal for use after shaving.
- Avoid colognes and aftershaves on the affected area.
- Gentle exfoliation – lightly rub over with a washcloth the area after shaving to help prevent razor bumps forming. Ingrown hairs may be gently squeezed to release the hair.
- Seek medical advice if the rash or bumps do not heal.
Top 10 Tips For Shaving to Avoid Razor Bumps and Razor Burns
#1 – Wash the skin in lukewarm water – this will soften the skin and open the pores making it easier to shave and avoid tugging on the hair follicle that can cause irritation. A cleanser with ingredients that help to soothe and calm will help minimize irritation.
#2 – Use a sharp razor. A dull razor will only drag at and irritate the skin and can be the cause of razor burn and ingrown hairs. If you have sensitive skin then use a sensitive skin-friendly electric shaver. Also, read this Shaving Tips for Sensitive Skin men.
#3 – Don’t rub at your face to dry it – it will dry just as well patted gently with a whole lot less irritation to your skin.
#4 – When you have finished shaving rinse the area thoroughly in lukewarm water. The residue of shaving soaps can cause the skin to be irritated and itchy.
#5 – Avoid the use of alcohol-based and harsh astringent type aftershave lotions. These can often dry out the skin causing dry skin and itching in the area shaven. They are not really necessary – if you want to close pores, cold water is just as effective and less drying.
#6 – If your hair is coarse or thick avoid disposable razors. They are seldom up to the job and may pull and drag at the hairs and the skin.
#7 – Multiple blades give a very clean shave and the less irritation there is to hair follicles the less chance of ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and razor burn occurring.
#8 – Shaving twice against the grain or across the grain can give tougher hair growth a very close shave but may irritate the skin for some people.
#9 – Razor burn can be reduced by keeping the face moist during shaving and not creating too much drag on the skin. The less drag the less irritation there will be.
#10 – Shaving is hard on the skin and is both drying and damaging It is important to use a moisturizer after shaving that has no irritating ingredients such as perfumes and colors.
Shaving can be just part of the day or a necessary evil depending on how you feel about it. The fact is unless a beard appeals, shaving is going to be a part of the rest of your life. The process can definitely be helped by using good products and good procedures. Shaving incorrectly can mean more injuries, razor burns, ingrown hairs and irritation so it pays to do it right. However well we do it, shaving causes micro-injuries every time we shave, so we need to treat these as well as minimize them happening. On the upside, shaving can be like a daily exfoliation when done correctly and keep the skin soft and smooth.
Since you are going to be shaving frequently if not daily, it pays to have the right shaving gear. Trying to get those extra shaves out of a blade doesn’t make sense when a dull blade can be a cause of razor burn and ingrown hairs – use a sharp blade. A natural hair brush holds water and lathers well which creates less damage and a cleaner shave. It is usually good to use a beard trimmer rather than a shaver to reduce the risk of razor burn and ingrown hairs.
Shaving – the right way
- Soften the stubble by cleansing and using warm water
- If you use a shaving brush, a natural hair brush is best
- Use short strokes and rinse the blade frequently
- Make sure the blade is sharp
- Use a moisturizer afterward while the skin is still damp
- Use a moisturizer with calming, soothing ingredients to help heal any micro-injuries
What to avoid
- Products with soaps, detergents, perfume, color, and sulfates
- Products for shaving or aftershave with alcohol that dries out the skin
- Harsh exfoliators that do more damage than good
- Products with menthol can close the pores and stiffen the beard
- Foaming agents that may look good but don’t help the skin
- Hot water, always use lukewarm
- Rubbing dry – try to gently pat the skin dry
- Dull, tired blades past their use-by date
If you take care of your skin properly and follow some tips that are mention above, you can easily prevent razor Bumps & Razor Burns.
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