Razor burns 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, this is one of the most common shaving issues: razor bumps and ingrown hair.
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 and the risk of ingrown hairs.
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? Many are still in pursuit of the perfect shave to avoid burns and bumps.
Skin irritation can occur for many reasons. It could be caused by frequent razor strokes(mostly from dull razor blades), or using a single-blade razor, with single-blade razors.
You need more strokes to achieve what a double-edged razor will achieve in half the time 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 because of the direction of hair growth.
Instead, the hair coils inwards and grows into the skin which creates bumps. These bumps can later lead to inflammation, scarring, and infections.
Having said that, this is more common for people with curly hair to have trapped hair than people with straight hair.
To keep irritated skin to a minimum, and know how to prevent ingrown hairs, here are some simple tips and 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 an electric razor before you even attempt to shave.
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- For women, attempting to shave the 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 is specifically designed for sensitive skin types. They prepare the hair for shaving and also offer protection to the skin.
- For facial hair, exfoliate the skin using a gentle facial scrub before shaving. A physical exfoliator helps in softening the skin and removes the top layer of dead skin cells as dead skin can clog a hair follicle. 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 shaving cream. They act as a protective barrier to the skin against the sharp blades of the razor. Common shaving issues arise because people do not use sharp razor blades.
- 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, electric shavers are preferable as they do not cut the hair at the skin level which means they cause less ingrown hair and razor bumps.
- 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 steady yet gentle pressure with the razor while shaving.
- Shaving the pubic hair is easier done while standing. Keep one leg up onto the tub while standing for better access of nicking and easy maneuverability. This decreases the chances of accidentally nicking the skin.
- Always shave in the direction of the hair to avoid 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 CareTo Avoid Ingrown Hair
Always 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 Burn
In 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.
- Tea tree oil
- Aloe vera
- Natural oils like Almond oil or Coconut oil(see an early post on other uses of coconut oil here)
More On Avoiding Ingrown Hair
The 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 hair suffer more from ingrown hair. 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.
How To Avoid Razor Bumps And Ingrown Hair After Shaving
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 good shaving cream or shaving gel and have good aftershave care to prevent irritation.
Always remember that an improper shaving approach may also be causing you to ingrown hair.
There are places that are naturally hard to shave like the bikini area, use a good aftershave oil to avoid further irritation to your bikini line.
Body hair(arms and legs)usually suffers less from ingrown hair and razor bumps, so here you can get a clean-shaven look without the worry of red bumps.
Some people believe hair removal creams cause fewer bumps, you can try it out if you want to avoid the sting of razor burn but there is really no proof.
Many are still in pursuit of the perfect shave, find yours. You may have to try different hair removal methods until you find what`s perfect for you.
I think you should get out there, experiment with different shave gel, try laser hair removal, use a manual razor with a sharp blade, and try a shave cream because even with expert tips, there is no one size fits all.
Expensive Options To Avoid Razor Bumps And Ingrown Hair?
When you think of hair removal methods, things like laser hair removal may come to mind, but these are not cheap. You just need proper aftershave care. Dull blades are your number one enemy when it comes to ingrown hairs and razor bumps.
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.