If shaving is your preferred method for removing unwanted hair, you’ve probably dealt with annoying and even irritating side effects like razor burn. Apart from it looking unsightly, it can also be a source of pain and discomfort. Mainly caused by shaving, razor burn appears as a blotchy red skin rash.
Continue reading as we discuss everything about razor burn, including its causes, treatment, and prevention.
So, what exactly is razor burn?
Razor burn refers to a skin irritation caused by shaving. It can develop on any area of the body that you shave, including the face, neck, armpit, legs, or even bikini area. The symptoms can be painful and irritating, accompanied by redness or a stray red rash, burning sensation, and inflammation. Razor burn can also cause:
- Small red bumps
Razor burn is not the same as razor bumps, which are a condition that can develop due to ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs occur when the shaved or cut hair curls beneath the skin as it regrows. Both conditions cause redness and irritation, but razor bumps look like tiny pimples, while razor burn looks like a streaky red rash.
What causes razor burn?
Razor burn can occur due to a number of reasons. In essence, it develops because of the interaction between the blade, hair, and skin. If you shave and something goes wrong, you could disrupt the outer layer, which may result in tiny cracks, inflammation, and dry skin. Below are the most common causes of razor burn:
- Using old and dull razors
- Dry shaving or shaving without soap, water, shaving cream, or any other lubricant
- Shaving against the direction of hair growth
- Shaving too quickly
- Shaving an area too many times
- Using products that irritate your skin
There are also cases where you may shave properly but still have razor burn. This can be due to having sensitive or super sensitive skin. If your skin is prone to redness and irritation, you are more likely to get razor burn when you shave. Considering other methods like
laser hair removal can help with this.
How can you treat razor burn?
While razor burn usually goes away on its own, there are things you can do to soothe and heal your skin, as well as relieve some of its symptoms.
Hydrate the skin and reduce inflammation – Use a gentle moisturizer or lotion to hydrate your skin, as well as repair and protect the skin barrier. Make sure to avoid products that have alcohol, synthetic fragrances, and other irritants, as they can only exacerbate your symptoms.
Soothe irritation – Applying a cold compress or a clean washcloth soaked in cold water can help cool down warm and inflamed skin. Aloe vera gel from the plant or commercially available products can help soothe skin and reduce inflammation.
Try an oatmeal bath – Research suggests that oatmeal has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin. You can add an oatmeal-based bath product or regular oatmeal to a tub of lukewarm water. This can provide symptom relief in the legs or pubic area.
Consider a topical treatment – In cases where there is swelling, a topical product like hydrocortisone cream can provide some relief. This can also help treat related inflammation. Just make sure to avoid shaving the area until it is free from any symptoms.
If home remedies or OTC products don’t improve or resolve your problem, consult your doctor. They may prescribe antibiotics or other products that can prevent razor burns or bumps in the future.
How can you prevent future razor burns?
It is all about practicing good shaving habits, which include having the proper tools and knowing the right techniques. Here are a few tips that can reduce razor burn or minimize your risk of developing one.
Exfoliate before you shave – This is to remove dead skin cells that can clog your pores and release trapped or ingrown hairs.
Avoid old and dull razors – Replace your razor blades every five to seven shaves. Avoid using dull ones or those with rust, as they can only increase your risk of irritation.
Never shave without a lubricant – Always use a shaving cream or gel to create a barrier between the blade and your skin. In a pinch, you can use soap or shaving cream.
Shave in the direction of the hair – This helps reduce irritation that can result in inflammation. Also, avoid passing the razor on the same area too many times.
Use light, short strokes – Don’t rush when you shave. Make sure to not pull your skin tightly while shaving.
Always keep your skin hydrated – Apply moisturizers, lotions, and oils to keep your skin hydrated, especially after shaving. You should also know that shaving exfoliates the skin and make it more prone to dryness.
Consider laser hair removal – If you’re tired of shaving and dealing with all associated side effects, laser hair removal is worth considering. At Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, we have a range of laser and light-based
hair removal procedures that specifically target and damage hair follicles to inhibit future hair growth.
One main advantage of such procedures is that you won’t have to shave over and over again to remain hair-free. As these procedures kill the follicles, you can achieve permanent hair reduction after completing the recommended number of sessions. You can also avoid razor burns, cuts, blisters, and ingrown hairs.
Here are our clinic’s permanent hair reduction procedures:
- Laser hair removal – We use the Cutera CoolGlide, which is a US FDA-cleared device for permanent hair reduction. It works by delivering concentrated pulses of laser light, which is absorbed by melanin or hair pigment. The light is then converted into heat, damaging and destroying follicles. This disables future hair growth and treats both coarse and fine hair.
- ProWave IPL Hair Removal –The Cutera Prowave system uses a specially tailored light source that targets the follicles and disables future hair growth. It can effectively treat light and fine hairs, and can be used on small areas like the upper lip and large areas like the chest and legs.
- SHR or Super Hair Removal – This unique laser-based technology uses low fluence laser pulses at a higher frequency. It targets both the pigment and stem cells responsible for hair production. It can treat nearly every part of the body, including the face, underarms, legs, and bikini area. It is also suitable for all skin colors and hair types, especially Asian ones. Check out the
five reasons to consider SHR.
- LHE Hair Removal –Touch Elite with LHE technology uses both light and heat energy to effectively remove unwanted hair. Just like the other procedures, it also targets the pigment, increasing the temperature of hair follicles. LHE uses low energy levels and is ideal for those with darker and sensitive skin types.
Take note: You’ll need multiple sessions to achieve permanent hair reduction. You should also know that there are cases where you might see some regrowth, as some hair follicles eventually heal. The hairs, however, are finer because the pigment is already removed. Hormonal fluctuations and certain conditions like PCOS can also cause regrowth.
Further reading: Will My Hair Grow After Laser Hair Removal?
If you frequently get razor burn and other side effects, it’s time to consider other hair removal methods. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore today and book a consultation with our aesthetic doctor to find out which of our treatments is right for you.