How to Address Razor Bumps and Razor Burns
Sick of getting razor bumps and razor burn after shaving? We’re here to help you switch up your poor shaving technique. Read on for tips on how to prevent and get rid of razor bumps and razor burn!
Man or woman, anyone who’s ever shaved before can attest to the issues that can come along with this popular form of hair removal. The nicks and cuts and the dreaded razor bumps that may occur can be enough to cause men to just go ahead and grow out those beards and ladies to turn to other forms of hair removal. But, before swearing off shaving for good, know that there are ways to manage these top shaving concerns head on! To help you do just that we chatted with Mezei Jefferson, Director of Education at SoftSheen Carson, check out what he had to say below!
THE TOP SHAVING CONCERNS FOR MEN
When asked what the top concerns were for men when shaving, Jefferson listed his opinion of the two leading the pack: nicks during shaving and noticeable razor bumps and irritation. He goes on to clarify that for men with curly, course hair specifically visible razor bumps lead the pack for after-shave concerns, whereas for everyone else the main concern is that dreaded red-looking razor irritation.
WHAT CAN CAUSE RAZOR BUMPS AND SHAVING IRRITATION?
“Razor bumps can be caused by cutting off the length of the curly beard hair, which may result in the end of the hair follicle becoming blunt,” Jefferson shares. “As the hair grows back and retains its natural curl, the blunt end can be pushed back into the skin due to the shape of the hair.” He explains that this can irritate the skin which can lead to a visible bump as the surface skins tries to try to protect itself and push the hair back out. “[Razor bumps] can be unsightly and painful if not addressed,” he says. Razor irritation, on the other hand, can be caused by applying too much pressure while shaving or from using a dull or dirty razor blade. “This creates a rug burn type effect on the skin,” Jefferson says.
7 TRICKS TO PREVENT RAZOR BUMPS AND RAZOR BURN
Since razor bumps and razor irritation rank so high at the top of the shaving concerns list, finding out how to help avoid them is key if you don’t want to throw shaving out of the window.
TIP #1: CLEANSE THE SKIN FIRST
First and foremost, hold off on shaving for just a moment. You’ll want to reach for a cleanser and exfoliator that’s formulated for your skin type. “Clean the face and beard well with a product that helps to exfoliate in order to help remove any dead skin buildup from the skin’s surface,” Jefferson says. “Shaving should be the middle step in your skin care routine. You need to cleanse and exfoliate beforehand to help prep the skin for shaving.” Sloughing off dead skin on sensitive areas before shaving can help combat ingrown hairs. For best practices, use a loofah, washcloth, or a pre-shave cream that contains glycolic acid.
TIP #2: TOSS YOUR OLD RAZOR AWAY
This goes without saying, but the most important rule to shaving—and all skin care for that matter—is going about it in the most hygienic way possible. But beyond the sanitation benefits, a sharp, new blade is vital to preventing razor bumps and burn. Dull blades require you to put more pressure on the skin to get a close shave, which can lead to irritation.
TIP #3: SHAVE USING WARMER WATER
The last thing you want is to fall victim to dry shaving, which is shaving without any warm water or skin-softening products. The best way to ensure a seamless shaving experience is to have ultra-soft skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), taking a warm shower or bath is a good way to soften the hair and skin before shaving, reducing the tension between the razor and the area being shaved.
TIP #4: LATHER UP
We’re not done softening the skin just yet—shaving cream is next. Using shaving cream is essential if you want soft, smooth, and razor bump-free skin. Shaving creams and oils can help the razor to easily glide over the skin and prevent scrapes.
TIP #5: UPDATE YOUR TECHNIQUE
“During the shaving process, remember to rinse your razor blades often and shave in the direction of hair growth to help reduce the chance of cuts and nicks,” Jefferson says. This gentle approach can help to diminish the probability of razor bumps and irritation.
TIP #6: TAKE IT SLOW
Patience is key. As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want to speed race to the finish line when you’re trying to get a good shave in. Shaving too quickly—and pressing too hard—can cause cuts and irritation. On days when you’re pressed for time, don’t shave. Come back to it when you have enough time to perform at a leisurely pace.
TIP #7: KEEP THE SKIN HYDRATED
Daily moisturizing may help keep the skin smooth and reduce the likelihood of getting ingrown hairs and razor burn after shaving. Jefferson recommends reaching for a moisturizer formulated with sunscreen to help to protect any freshly-shaved areas from becoming darker due to sun exposure. “This is especially true for those with olive and darker skin tones,” he says, which have more melanin than fairer skin.”
In terms of traditional after-shave products, he recommends reaching for one that’s formulated to help calm the surface skin down and replenish your skin with moisture. To avoid any unwanted dryness, try not to use products that contain alcohol on the skin that was shaved.
DO THESE SHAVING TIPS STILL APPLY IF I HAVE CURLY FACIAL HAIR?
While you can still certainly benefit from the shaving tips above, Jefferson has a more specific recommendation for those with curly facial hair—a razor-less option. He recommends trying a depilatory like Magic Shave instead of shaving. Depilatory creams can help to leave the skin looking smooth and help reduce the chances of experiencing visible razor bumps because when the hair grows back it is usually tapered at the end, so it shouldn’t irritate the surface skin.
“For this process don’t cleanse the face before using the depilatory,” Jefferson explains. “Apply Magic Shave cream to the beard area, making sure that the hair is completely covered. Wait at least four minutes and wipe off the cream using a damp towel and medium pressure. Next, rinse your face with cool water and no soap and finally moisturize with an after-shave product.”