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Razor Burn? How to Avoid It, How to Treat It

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

If you’ve never suffered from razor burn, count yourself extremely lucky. Most women at one time or another suffer from this painful side effect of shaving. And when we’re not burning, we’re itching, scratching, and trying to hide our razor bumps.

Any way to make shaving more comfortable? Here are a few tips!

Razor BurnIf you’re pushing too hard while shaving, you could suffer itching, stinging, and rash-like bumps later on.

What is a Razor Burn?

You can describe it in many ways, but the definition is “skin irritation.” When shaving goes wrong, you’re likely to form itchy red bumps, overall redness and inflammation, and that burning, hot sensation that makes putting on clothes just torturous. Some people call it a “rash” rather than a burn, but either way, it’s a sign that you somehow damaged your skin when shaving.

What causes the damage? It can be a number of things, but some of the more common culprits are a dull razor, too much pressure, shaving too fast, failing to use a gel or lotion, or incorrect preparation of the skin.

How to Shave Safely

Making your skin more comfortable involves two steps: shaving safely, and treating any problems immediately. Here are a few tips to help you reduce your risk of suffering any irritation in the first place:

  • Exfoliate: Exfoliation helps get rid of dead skin cells that can trap tiny hairs. Without regular exfoliation, shaving can leave trapped hairs behind, causing red, inflamed bumps. You may be used to exfoliating your face, but not your legs or underarms. A day or two before shaving, try my Ayurvedic Facial Scrub mixed with water on your legs, and maybe a little under your arms as well, depending on how sensitive your skin is. This will help loosen up that dead skin, so when you shave a day or two later, the skin will be ready. It’s best not to exfoliate and shave the same day, however—too much for skin to handle.
  • Clean razor: A dirty or worn razor is one of the main culprits in causing razor burn. We all want to save money, but using a razor that’s worn out, old, or has been sitting around awhile is just asking for pain.
  • Use warm water: Shaving after a shower or while in the bath is best, as the warm water softens the hair and opens up the pores.
  • Wash first: Dirty skin with built-up oils creates a rough shaving surface, meaning you’ll be more likely to suffer rashes later. Wash skin completely first. Try my Rosemary Peppermint Body Wash for a stimulating clean.
  • Lubricate: Shaving creams and gels help create a layer between the razor and the skin, reducing the risk of burning as well as your chances of nicking yourself.
  • Shave slowly: Trying to go too fast is another major reason why we suffer from razor burns. Go slowly, using long, even strokes. Rinse the razor in hot water between each stroke.
  • Don’t push too hard: Go as lightly as you can and still get the hairs. Pushing too hard takes some skin along with the hairs, which can lead to later irritation and itching.
  • Rinse thorougly: Once you’re done, rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  • Apply aloe: Applying an aloe after-sun gel or other aloe-based lotion after shaving can help skin feel cool and comfortable, and may help keep it happy later. You may also try my Radiant Skin Silk Body Lotion, which has calming calendula, chamomile, and sunflower oil.

How to Treat Razor Burn

Sometimes, even if you do everything right, you may suffer from razor burn afterwards. Here are some tips to help make your skin more comfortable.

  • Aloe: It’s cooling and encourages wound healing. Try a lotion with as much aloe as possible.
  • Aspirin paste: Mix 2 uncoated aspirins with 1 teaspoon of warm water and make a fine paste, then apply to skin for 10-15 minutes.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Simply appy to the skin and let it absorb.
  • Oatmeal bath: Oatmeal is very soothing to skin. Grind up real oatmeal and mix it into your bath, then soak for 20 minutes.
  • Tea tree oil: This will not only soothe the burn, but will help fight against pimply rashes. Mix with water and spray or rub on skin.
  • Calendula cream: It’s naturally soothing and also provides antiseptic protection.
  • Green tea: Make a cup of green tea, cool it in the refrigerator, then apply to skin with a soft cloth. It helps ease the sting of the burn, and encourages healing.
  • Fresh avocado: It’s so cooling! Pull it out of the refrigerator and smooth it over the burned area. It will also help moisturize.
  • Witch hazel: This extract is soothing and will help prevent any infections.
  • Almond oil: It’s soothing and super moisturizing.
  • Strawberries and sour cream: Mash up some strawberries, which reduce swelling and redness, into some sour cream, which is cooling, and apply to the skin for 10-15 minutes.
  • Shave less often: If you’re prone to razor burn or razor bumps, cut back on your frequency of shaving.
  • Coconut oil: It’s very moisturizing, and can help calm skin. Try my Coconut Body Oil.

 How do you avoid razor burn? Please share your tips.

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