Shaving is one of the quickest and most affordable hair removal methods. However, it can cause adverse reaction known as razor burns. It is a skin irritation that occurs after shaving the skin.
It is itchy, inflamed, and reddened rash. A burning sensation is felt on the shaved part. It can affect various parts of the body, especially the face, legs, vagina, and other parts of the body. (5,6,7)
What Causes Razor Burns?
Razor burn is common in men, but it could also affect women. Men frequently get razor burn when they shave their face. On the other hand, women get razor burns when they shave their armpit, legs, vagina, and other parts of the body. There are many contributing factors to razor burn such as:
- Using razor on dry skin
- Using a blunt blade
- Using a strong soap
- Hypersensitivity of the skin
- Wrong choice of shaving cream/shaving gel
- Shaving tools such as a razor and electric shaver
- Dirty hands/unsanitary shaving practices
Photo 1 : An image of a man who has severe razor burn on the face.
Picture Source : www.razor-gator.com
Figure 2 : A man with a razor bumps and burns on the face and neck.
Image Source : www.coolinfo4all.com
Razor Burn Symptoms
- Redness of the skin
- Itching sensation
- Stinging sensation
How long does razor burn last
Since it is a skin reaction, usually it will last as long as you treat it. Mostly it can last about 1 day, while for remaining people it may last up to 2 days and then it will start going away.
Treatment (Cure) Options for Razor Burns
- Salicylic acid (2) – It is effective in treating razor burns and rash, especially for women. It alleviates itching and discomfort. However, it shouldn’t be used to treat razor burns on sensitive areas like the vagina. Applying it on the areas near the vagina can lead to a stinging sensation.
- Glycolic acid (2) – Products containing glycolic acid are effective in treating razor burns. There are a lot of skin care products containing glycolic acid and they are readily available in the market.
- Pain killers – Razor burns can be very painful, especially in severe cases. To alleviate the pain, you can use aspirin paste. It is helpful in soothing the pain caused by razor burns on the face, neck, and bikini line. To create an aspirin paste, you should crush two aspirin tablets and mix with just enough amount of water.
- Anti-itch cream (4) – There are a plethora of choices for anti-itch cream. For razor burns, you should choose the one that contains 1% Hydrocortisone. It alleviates the itching and pain. Apply the cream two times a day. You can also apply creams and ointments containing polysporin. It alleviates pain and prevents further infection.
- Benzyl peroxide – if you are experiencing light razor burn, a benzyl peroxide can help. It is readily available over the counter and is proven effective in treating razor burns. Severe razor burn can be treated using cortisone cream. However, you should not use it unless recommended by your dermatologist.
How to get rid of razor burn : Home remedies
- Apple Cider Vinegar (2) – Gently rubbing apple cider vinegar can help soothe the irritated skin.
- Tea Tree Oil – It soothes the burn and is effective in alleviating irritation caused by razor burn. Use a pure tea tree oil and apply on affected skin. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to a razor burn cream. For optimum result, you should apply the oil after shaving.
- Coconut oil – it is helpful in treating razor burns and other types of skin disorders. Apply the oil as a lotion to clear up the rashes. Apply on a gentle manner and let the oil be absorbed by the skin.
- Baking Soda Mixture (5) – Baking soda is helpful in the treatment of various types of skin conditions. In a glass of water, dissolve a spoon of baking soda. Using a cotton ball, soak it in the baking soda mixture and dab over the razor burned area. Leave it there for a few minutes before washing off. There will be a slight burning and itching sensation but it will gradually disappear.
- Baby Powder – It is helpful in clearing up rashes. It is also helpful in treating razor burns because of its soothing qualities. Before shaving, apply baby powder on the area. It will not only prevent razor burns but also razor bumps.
- Witch Hazel (6) – With the skin cream you are using, mix a witch hazel and apply on the affected area. Apply the witch hazel cream at least once a week to achieve desired results. Witch hazel has long been used in treating razor burns and other skin problems. It is perfect in treating razor burn because of its soothing and cooling effect.
- Sugar Scrub (7) – To create a sugar scrub, you should mix two tablespoon of sugar with the same amount of coconut oil. Apply gently on the affected skin and leave it there for a few minutes. Wash it off with tap water. Sugar scrub helps soothe irritated skin caused by razor burns.
- Strawberry Paste – Strawberries have a soothing effect. To create a strawberry paste, just wash and mash two to three strawberries. Apply on the affected skin. Repeat several times when necessary until the razor burns disappear. Strawberry paste is ideal for people with sensitive skin. Not to mention, strawberry has a great smell. So, you wouldn’t mind applying them on your skin. (7)
How to Prevent (Avoid) Razor Burns
- Observing proper shaving techniques. When shaving, you have to make sure you are using fresh or sharp razor. Prior to shaving, make sure that the area is wet or at least lubricated. Locate the direction the hair grows and shave in that direction. Wet the skin for a minute or two prior to shaving. Gently pat the skin after shaving and do not forget to apply a skin moisturizer after shaving. (4)
- Make sure you replace the razor blade on a regular basis. Ideally. It should be replaced after six to seven use as per the suggestion of the dermatologist. (5)
- After shaving, apply skin moisturizer or a soothing ointment to prevent irritation. Choose an ointment or lotion that contains niacinamide as it has the ability to prevent irritation, reduce moisture loss, and prevents chapping and rashes.
- Reduce the frequency of shaving to two to three times a week. (1)
- If the burn is persistent despite preventive measures, then you have to consider another hair removal method such as waxing or laser hair removal. (2)
- Avoid a close shave. (1)
- Exfoliate the skin before shaving. You can use loofah, exfoliants, and pre-shaving scrubs.
- Prevent drying of the skin by using non-fragranced moisturizer. It will help a lot if you are going to use hydrating shaving gel to significantly reduce the friction between the razor and the skin.
- Before shaving, make sure that the skin and the razor are clean. A rusty razor is a big NO!
- Use hot and cold water. Before shaving, wet the skin with warm water to soften the hair. Once you are done shaving, you should rinse with cold water. This is to close the skin pores and prevent razor burns (9, 10).