Razor burn and razor bumps are caused when you have irritated the skin by not preparing the skin properly for shaving which leads to irritating the newly formed skin.
Shaving is for anyone that wishes to remove hair from the body, from head to underarms, chest, arms, and legs. However, it can irritate and inflame the skin and this is why you need to know how to avoid razor bumps.
Razor burns may affect any part of the body that has been shaved, but what is razor burn and how can razor burn be treated?
Skin irritation can occur for many reasons. It could be caused by frequent razor strokes, by bacteria present on the razor that can infect the skin, or just because of sensitive skin.
The ingrown hair and the razor bumps are caused because the hair does not grow properly beyond the skin. Instead, they coil inwards and grown into the skin which creates bumps. These bumps can later lead to inflammation, scarring, and infections.
To keep the skin irritation-free and know how to prevent ingrown hairs, here are some key steps that can be taken to prevent uncomfortable side effects of shaving:
Step By Step Care
- First of all, trim the hairs using scissors or electric razors before you even attempt to shave. For women, attempting to shave pubic region could do this before getting into a bath or going for a shower.
- Don’t start shaving right after getting into the bath or shower. Wait till the end. The heat of the water softens the hairs and opens the pores making the hair loose and easy to remove with follicles. A deeper and closer shave! If you have sensitive skin then follow up the shower with a pre-shave oil which specifically designed for the sensitive skin types. They prepare the hair for shaving and also offer protection to the skin.
- Exfoliate the skin using a gentle facial scrub before shaving. The exfoliation of the skin helps in softening the skin and removes the top layer of dead skin cells. It also clears out the skin pores. A hot and wet flannel can work fine as an alternative to the facial scrub as well.
- Make use of either a shower gel or a shaving cream. They act as a protective barrier to the skin against the sharp blades of the razor.
- Choose the shaving tool carefully this is my favorite. The closer is the shave, the worse will be the razor bumps! For that reason alone, the electric shavers are preferable as they do not cut the hair at skin level which means they cause less ingrown hair and the razor bumps. The single blade manual razors also cut off the hairs about 1 mm above the skin surface. A foil shaver is usually a better choice for those who are prone to ingrown hairs and razor bumps. The beard trimmer is another good alternative.
- Whether you choose an electric shaver or a manual razor, don’t use a dull razor blade and always keep your blades clean. A dull blade requires you to shave the same area repeatedly to get the desired result which leads to skin irritation. Replace your blades with new ones after using them 4 or 5 times. Apply a steady yet gentle pressure with the razor while shaving.
- Shaving the pubic hair is easier done while standing. Keep one leg up on to the tub while standing for better accesses of nicking and easy maneuverability. This decreases the chances of accidentally nicking the skin.
- Always shave in the direction of the hair to avoid the ripping out of the hair out of skin pores which may cause irritation.
- Rinse the razor after every razor stroke. Re-apply gel or cream if you need to.
After-Shave CareAlways follow the shaving with the application of a post-shave product. This is necessary to rehydrate the skin. An aftershave skincare product that has natural ingredients would be better. Some skin experts recommend a product containing aloe, the witch hazel or tea tree. These ingredients lessen the redness or any other irritation signs and soothe the skin. Avoid products containing alcohol. It is recommended to use an astringent such as witch hazel or hydrogen peroxide to be applied on the skin to prevent infection and ingrown hairs. Many aftershaves designed for men’s faces contain alcohol and can sting the sensitive pubic area, so alcohol-free aloe vera gel can be a useful alternative to help soothe any irritation.
How To Deal With Razor BurnIn case, you do end up developing razor bumps, you can deal with it by putting a clean wet towel in the freezer or soak it in the cold water. Apply this wet cloth to the affected area of the skin for about 10 – 15 minutes. This will help in lessening the discomfort. It would be better for you to not to shave the affected area until you are healed completely.Other ways to deal with razor burn is by using remedies like
- Tea tree oil
- Aloe vera
- Natural oils like Almond oil or Coconut oil(see an early post on other uses of coconut oil here)
ConclusionThe skin has two main layers. The top layer and the bottom layer. The top layer comprises old and dead skin cells while the bottom layer is made of newly formed fresh skin cells. Shaving causes natural exfoliation of the skin which removes the dead skin cells and uncovers the new skin cells underneath. Shaving daily and shaving too close to the skin cause the hairs to get trapped inside the hair follicles. It is advised to shave every other day instead of shaving daily so that the skin has enough time to heal. People with curly hairs suffer more with ingrown hairs. Razor bumps are also recurring! Shaving only worsens the problem of ingrown hairs as it sharpens the hair ends making it easier for the hair to penetrate the skin and grow inwards. Razor bumps normally go away within a week. If the razor bumps are still there and getting worse then contact your doctor immediately for treatment.
The best way to get rid of razor bumps for good is to change the way you shave if your present method of shaving is not working. You should use a good shaving cream and have a good aftershave care to prevent irritation.
The correct razor to get the cleanest shave without cutting into your skin is a must. Always buy high-quality shaving products, for your skin, designed to help reduce razor bumps and ingrown hair as cheap does not always do it.