Razor burn is a skin irritation caused by shaving the skin. It usually appears as red areas on the skin and can be considered a form of irritant contact dermatitis (skin rash). Its symptoms may include burning, redness, itching, and stinging.
Anyone who shaves can get razor burn. It usually appears on the legs, armpits, or face soon after you shave those parts of your body. If you shave, take care in how you do it to help reduce the frequency of razor burn on your skin.
Razor burn is not quite the same thing as razor bumps, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. Razor bumps are ingrown hairs that result from hair removal, with the hair curling into the skin as it grows back.
Both conditions can result in red and irritated skin, but razor bumps are characterized by the tell-tale bumps, which may look like small pimples. Razor burn, on the other hand, looks more like red streaks or blotches across the skin.
Remedies and Treatments for Razor Burn
Razor burn can be painful and unattractive. It will usually go away on its own, but there are some steps you can take to help skin heal more quickly and prevent future incidents.
Razor Burn Treatment
In order to relieve uncomfortable razor burn and speed up the healing process, you want to apply soothing products that also protect the skin and keep it moist. Many grocery stores and drugstores sell different products to ease razor burn symptoms. Look at the labels of skin products at your preferred place in order to choose one with the right ingredients.
The following ingredients may help protect the skin’s outer layer, which is most vulnerable to razor burn, and combat redness and peeling:
These ingredients can also help with razor burn, calming the skin and promoting repair:
Perhaps the best product or ingredient for razor burn is the one that’s easiest to find: aloe vera. Aloe vera is a gel found in the aloe vera plant. It acts as a moisturizer, soother, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory substance. Many people use it to treat sunburn, but its effects can also help ease razor burn symptoms. Grocery stores, drug stores, and plant stores sell products with aloe vera in it or the aloe vera plant.
In addition, aloe vera contains glucomannan and gibberellin (a plant hormone), which increase the synthesis of collagen (protein for skin and bones). As a result, aloe vera helps wounds to heal and can help prevent scarring.
Tea tree oil, which should always be heavily diluted (watered down) before use, can also play a role in soothing inflammation and keeping razor burn from becoming infected. It has well-known antimicrobial (stops microorganisms from growing) and anti-inflammatory properties.
Razor Burn Prevention
The most important thing that you can do to prevent razor burn and other shaving irritations is to practice good shaving techniques. Some recommendations include:
- Shave when your skin is clean, wet, and warm.
- Apply a shaving gel or cream to the area. Look for a gentle product that won’t irritate your skin.
- Shave in the direction that hair grows. It can be tempting to go against the grain for a closer shave, but shaving in the right direction is a crucial part of preventing razor burn and bumps. Keep strokes light.
- Rinse your razor after each application to remove buildup.
- Store razors in a dry area and replace often. Razors should stay sharp and clear of rust or buildup.
Choose a high-quality razor, and after shaving, apply a fragrance-free, moisturizing cream to restore the skin’s natural barriers.
If shaving the body, avoid wearing tight clothes that will rub against newly shaven areas, which can irritate the skin.
When to See a Doctor
While razor burn is rarely serious, you should consult your doctor in the following cases.
- Discomfort causes you to lose sleep or results in difficulty performing ordinary activity
- The rash continues for weeks
- There is any sign of infection such as pus
It is severe enough to blister