Razor bumps and razor burn—we have all been there.
Perhaps you tried to dry shave to save time, your facial hair type makes you more prone to razor bumps or maybe you went too long using the same razor blade.
The bottom line is you have razor burn, and now you have to get rid of that annoying and embarrassing redness, burning, and itching.
The good news is that you can not only treat razor burn, but you can also avoid it.
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What Causes Razor Burn?
Shaving with sensitive skin can be frustrating. Shavers with sensitive skin have to follow different shaving procedures and also use different shaving products all designed for “sensitive skin”.
But, no matter what you do to try to prevent razor burn, razor bumps and breakouts, they don’t go away.
Do You Really Have Sensitive Skin?
Approximately 45 percent of men have sensitive skin. If you think this number seems high, you are correct. Men who constantly suffer with razor burn, red bumps, ingrown hairs, and cuts believe these issues are due to skin sensitivity. However, dermatologists say otherwise…
Most of these common skin ailments and issues aren’t due to sensitive skin; rather, they are related to shaving technique.
Here are some of the most common skin-related issues that men suffer with, and how to determine if they are due to sensitive skin or shaving.
– Red Bumps: If you are suffering from razor bumps, this is likely due to your shaving technique or skin care routine. An extremely high occurrence of razor bumps and other types of skin reactions are indicative of sensitive skin.
– Dry Skin: Telltale signs of dry skin include redness, excessive flaking, extreme itchiness or a dry rash. Severe dry skin can be quite painful. This is because normal, healthy, and hydrated skin protects nerve endings. Dry skin “exposes” these raw nerve endings, which is why it is often painful.
– Eczema/Rosacea: These common skin conditions are extreme cases of dry skin. Shaving can be quite painful with eczema or rosacea. Therefore, clinically-formulated shaving and skin care products may be necessary.
– Severe Ingrown Hair: Everyone struggles with this problem from time to time. However, severe ingrown hair can reach a cystic state. Men with curly hair will experience more ingrown hairs than men with straight hair. However, in reality, ingrown hair can be caused by a myriad of factors.
If you suffer with cystic acne or ingrown hair, then it is probably time to pay a visit to a dermatologist for a clinical treatment or solution. A dermatologist can help treat these issues, and other clinical sensitive skin issues by prescribing a proper skin care regimen to help treat skin, and also make shaving less arduous.
How to Change Your Shaving Technique
On the other hand, if you experience blemishes, breakouts, and razor burn, but do not have sensitive skin, here are some ways you can adjust your shaving technique to avoid breakouts:
– Get Technical: As we briefly mentioned above, most shavers experience blemishes due to poor shaving technique. For example, shaving against the grain and applying excessive pressure on the razor create friction, which inevitably causes blemishes.
By simply shaving with the grain, and alleviating some of the pressure on the razor, you just might notice a huge difference in the outcome of your shave.
– Exfoliate: Taking the time each day or a few times per week to thoroughly exfoliate your skin can do wonders for eliminating breakouts and blemishes. Make it a habit to thoroughly exfoliate your skin at least once per week.
– Care for Your Skin: Some other examples of proper skin care activities include using non-alcoholic aftershave, shaving with warm water, and rinsing thoroughly after the shave. These simple procedures fully nourish your facial skin, prevent dryness, and also decrease blemishes and breakouts.
Sensitive Skin is Problematic, But Shaving Doesn’t Have to Be…
In summary, if you believe you truly suffer from sensitive skin or a chronic skin condition, then make an appointment with a dermatologist. If you are unsure, a dermatologist will also help you rule out whether your persistent blemishes and breakouts are due to a skin issue, or shaving technique.
Once you eliminate the conditions listed above, it’s not time to take a good, hard look at your shaving techniques and procedures. We discuss many of them here on the wet shaving blog.
Sensitive facial skin should not prevent you from getting a great shave. Having the right information about shaving is critical to reducing skin problems.
Here are the five best ways to treat razor burn at home.
1. Cold Compresses
Not only is the red rash unsightly, but it is likely also itchy and has a burning sensation. That inevitable red rash that forms after shaving is simply inflammation. You can calm that itching, burning, and redness by applying a cold compress.
To do this, simply soak a face cloth in cool water and apply it to the inflamed or irritated area for several minutes. The best time to do this is at the end of the day while you are relaxing and winding down.
What’s great about cold compresses is you don’t have to limit yourself to cool water. You can try to use witch hazel to help knock down the inflammation even faster.
2. Soothing Oils
Avocado oil and aloe oil are great and effective options for calming and reducing inflammation and attacking problems with ingrown hairs. These natural oils produce a cooling sensation that can help soothe pain and discomfort. Apply a few drops of the oil topically to your face right after you shave for the best results.
Coconut oil is another option. Not only is coconut oil soothing, but it is also an antibacterial, which can help prevent razor burn from turning into an acne outbreak after a few days.
Razor burn is essentially many micro cuts on the surface of the skin caused by improper shaving technique. Those micro cuts are susceptible when your skin is healing from new razor burn. Emollients help relieve dryness, which can make the healing process easier.
An emollient softens and soothes the skin, and usually comes in the form of a moisturizer, cream, lotion, or balm. Some aftershaves even contain emollients!
4. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal helps your skin maintain its moisture reserves so it can heal from razor burn easily. If you’re experiencing roughness while your razor burn heals, colloidal oatmeal will help smooth and soothe the skin so it looks and feels better.
The only problem is that colloidal oatmeal commonly comes in a powdered form, which can be added to a bath. It isn’t exactly the easiest product to apply or soak your face. However, there are colloidal oatmeal products that are available as topical creams or masks for easier and more convenient application.
If all other products or remedies fail, you can try using hydrocortisone. Because hydrocortisone is essentially a steroid medication, this should be a last resort option. However, it is an effective topical cream that helps speed the healing process by reducing inflammation.
To see the best results from using hydrocortisone, get into the habit of using it every time you wash your face or shower. Always apply it to completely clean, but dry skin.
Treat Razor Burn Before it Gets Out of Control
Razor burn is incredibly common for men who shave. In fact, many men have given up trying to fight it, accepting that it is just a part of shaving. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Treating razor burn is possible and effective, especially if you treat it immediately. By trying the above products and remedies, you can easily treat razor burn and razor bumps before they get out of control.
As we mentioned briefly above, one of the primary causes of razor burn is improper shaving techniques. By adjusting your shaving technique, such as working up a full lather with your favorite soap or cream prior to shaving, using a quality razor, and avoiding the dry shave, you can easily prevent razor burn before it starts, or gets out of control.