Shaving is the most popular method of hair removal, but it has many problems associated with it since most people shave incorrectly. A razor burn is characterized by a strong, burning sensation, followed by red, inflamed skin, that affects the area, and can last for several minutes to a few hours. The irritation can make the skin look bad and can also cause a great deal of discomfort. These burns can also lead to the development of other skin irritations like razor bumps or infected ingrown hair. It is, therefore, essential that you know what causes razor burns and how to avoid them.
The most common cause of a razor burn is the use of improper shaving techniques and low-quality razor blades. Shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth, irritates the skin and hair follicles to a great extent, causing a burning sensation. Cheap razor blades harm the skin and can also cause bruising. By taking the right precautions and following a few razor burn prevention tips, these skin irritations can be easily prevented.
Avoiding Razor Burns
- Always use a good-quality razor blade, even if it is a bit more expensive than the rest. The quality of the blade plays an important role in preventing the burn.
- Exfoliate the skin gently, using a loofah or an exfoliating cream, before you start shaving. This will help remove dead skin cells, making it easier to shave.
- Indulge in a hot shower before shaving. Soaking yourself in hot water will smoothen your skin and hair follicles, making hair removal easy.
- Avoid using soap or shaving foams which do not lubricate the skin adequately. Instead, use a shaving gel or cream that supplies enough lubrication to the skin and makes the process of shaving, easy.
- Do not use the same razor blade for too long. A blunt razor blade tends to irritate the skin a lot, and will certainly result in a burn. Always make use of a sharp blade for shaving.
- Rinse the blade after every stroke, preferably in water, which cleans it better.
- Shave against the grain for a desired close shave, in gentle, light strokes. Do not apply too much pressure, as this can harm the skin.
- Avoid using alcohol-based shaving cream or gel. These dry the skin out, making it difficult to shave, while leaving it prone to razor bumps.
- After shaving the area, wash your face thoroughly with cold water and rub some ice cubes over the area.
- Apply a good aftershave lotion or balm to soothe the skin.
In case you develop a razor burn, immediately apply a 1% hydrocortisone cream to the area. This will help subside the inflammation and redness. Then, apply a soothing agent like aloe vera gel or Vaseline and you will be relieved in no time. Do not rub or massage the area.