If shaving is part of your daily or weekly ritual, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of razor burn. Somehow it seems like no matter how careful you are, it’s inevitable that you’ll sustain a few nicks, bumps, and ingrown hairs from time to time.
What is Razor Burn?
Shaving is a quick and easy way to remove unwanted facial or body hair but that’s the trick – you only want to remove the hair. If things go wrong, you could cut yourself or disrupt the skin’s outer layer and wind up with razor burn.
Razor burn is simply skin irritation caused by shaving. It’s often accompanied by a stinging sensation along with redness, inflammation, and sometimes little red bumps. Applying too much pressure to the razor or passing over the same area of skin multiple times increase your risk for razor burn. When you go over the same area too many times, the razor can create microscopic nicks in the skin which leaves it open to inflammation and loss of hydration.
Some experts consider razor bumps different from razor burn. Razor bumps are itchy, pus-filled bumps that form on the skin as the hair starts to regrow. Razor burn develops immediately after shaving whereas razor bumps may take a day or two to develop. They’re more common in people who have coarse or curly hair and may also be known as ingrown hairs.
How to Treat Razor Burn
You could spend a small fortune on the best razors on the market each year and still experience razor burn. It’s not just your choice of razor that matters – it’s also about your shaving technique. Even if you do everything right, however, your skin has a mind of its own and may still get irritated from time to time.
If you experience razor burn, try these methods to treat it:
1. Hydrate and target inflammation.
Razor burn should be treated like a mild form of skin irritation and treated with anti-inflammatories. Things like oatmeal and aloe are great but look for ingredients that hydrate the skin as well.
2. Soothe irritation with a cold compress.
If your skin feels warm and inflamed after shaving, take immediate steps to cool it down. Get out of the hot shower and apply a cold compress – a washcloth soaked in cold water should do the trick. The compress will help soothe irritation and constrict the blood vessels to relieve inflammation.
3. Try using a topical treatment.
For more extreme cases of razor burn, you might need a topical treatment like hydrocortisone cream to relieve swelling. If the problem doesn’t resolve in a few days, consult your doctor or dermatologist.
Tips for Preventing Razor Burn
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Once you’ve successfully treated your razor burn you can take steps to avoid it in the future. Take a closer look at your shaving technique and your skincare routine – there may be room for improvement.
Here are a few simple tips to help prevent razor burn:
- Always exfoliate before you shave. It’s important to prep your skin before shaving to release trapped or ingrown hairs so they don’t escape the blade. Exfoliating also helps remove dead skin cells that can clog your razor.
- Make shaving the final step in your routine. If you prefer to shave in the shower, make it the last step in your bathing routine. Your razor will cut through clean and hydrated hairs much more easily than dry ones, so you’ll experience less dragging and the resulting irritation.
- Choose your razor carefully. It’s up to you whether you go with a single-blade or multi-blade razor but if you have sensitive skin, a single-blade safety razor may be the best option. Whatever type you choose, be sure to replace the blades regularly so they’re always sharp.
- Never shave without lubrication. Shaving creams and gels create a protective and lubricating layer between your skin and the razor itself. While body wash or hair conditioner might get the job done, shaving cream is specifically designed to prevent irritation during shaving.
- Keep your skin hydrated. Dry skin is more prone to irritation, so keep your skin healthy and hydrated with moisturizers or body oil.
Not sure which shaving products are best for your skin type? Visit your local Yon-Ka Paris partner spa for a skin analysis and professional treatment. Your esthetician will be able to answer your skincare questions and provide personalized advice for preventing razor burn.