Ways to avoid razor burns and rashes this season.

On Jan 6, 2014

We’ve all felt it before; that burning and sometimes itchy sensation that follows a close shave. Razor burn is a common condition that both men and women deal with on a regular basis. Wouldn’t it be nice to experience a close shave, minus the irritation? Read ahead to learn tips on how to prevent and treat razor burn as well as ways to avoid it completely.

Let’s take a look at the basics of razor burn and razor bumps.

Razor shaving man
Artistic image of a man shaving
Image Source: Flickr, By_Majeed

         “Razor burn is a red or pink rash with or without bumps on the skin that appears after shaving,” says dermatologist Jami Miller, MD, of the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. These unwanted side effects of grooming are the results of performing a close shave via a razor blade or electric shaver.  The medical term for razor bumps is pseudofolliculitis barbae. The cause of razor bumps is close shaving, which may lead to strands of hair curling back onto themselves instead of growing straight out of the hair follicle.  Consequently, these ingrown hairs can cause an inflammatory reaction in the shaved areas leading to redness, irritation and even scarring. While this condition usually stems from ingrown hairs in a man’s beard area after shaving, it can also affect any part of the body which has been recently shaved and occurs in both men and women.

Read on to find out what can be done to treat and prevent razor burn and bumps.

          One way to treat and or prevent razor bumps is to stop shaving completely. Understandably this would be a great solution if society was okay with unshaven body parts, but in most cases this would only serve as a temporary solution.  Hair removal products (depilatories) can be used instead of shaving. However, these products can irritate the skin and should be used only once or twice a week.  Another way to prevent razor burn and bumps is to use a sharp razor blade and to use it gently.  Dr. Miller suggesting the following shaving technique: wet your skin with warm water, apply a thick shaving cream (preferably formulated for sensitive skin) and allow the cream to soak in for approximately three minutes.  This will allow your skin to soften and therefore make the shaving process go smoother.  Dr. Miller also recommends shaving in the same direction as your hair grows.  For example, start shaving your legs from your thigh and work your way down as this is the direction that the grows.  Additionally, you may want to rinse your blade after each stroke to allow for more even cutting and apply  a fragrance-free moisturizing lotion on the newly shaved areas.

Here are some ways to treat razor burn and or bumps.

Woman shaving legs with razor
That's one way to apply shaving cream!
Image Source: Flickr, M i x y

           Kittie McCoy, an eHow contributor, gives the following recommendation in how to accelerate the healing process: “In order to speed up the healing process, a sterile needle may be used to release the end of the hair from the razor bump. However, the hair should not be plucked as it may become ingrown again as it grows back.” Dr. Miller recommends rinsing the infected area with cool water and a mild astringent like witch hazel but she cautions against using rubbing alcohol or men’s aftershave. Products that contain alcohol can worsen the symptoms of the condition. Severe cases of razor bumps and or burn may be treated with topical prescription creams such as hydrocortisone, antibiotic, or tretinoin cream. If the funds in your bank account will allow it, you may consider hair removal via laser treatments as an alternative .

        The good news is that razor burn and  bumps can be treated and possibly prevented. Practicing clean shaving methods and using a shaving cream or soap that doesn’t irritate your skin can reduce the occurrences of razor burn. It’s about time that you and your loved ones can share a sign of affection without feeling the burn.

Razor Bumps. WebMD. 

Katherine Giesen
Katherine Giesen is a freelance writer, multimedia editor, and currently the assistant editor intern at Central Skin. She was born and raised in South Jersey and studied broadcast journalism in Florida. She is the author of Untouched Foods, a blog on how to reuse foods. Her interest in food and how it effects your health has inspired her to educate and entertain people on how they can improve their lives. 

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