Though it’s easy to forget, you should always try to remember that shaving affects not only your facial hairs, but also your skin – and anyone who’s recently suffered from the dreaded razor burn will almost certainly preach as much. Not only does a shaving rash make your skin tender and often painful, those angry red bumps can spoil the look of even the smartest of freshly shaven men.
What Actually Is Razor Burn?
Razor burn is the effect caused by hairs that remain inside the hair follicle and begin growing into the skin. When hairs are cut beneath the skin, they tend to curl up and consequently bend as they grow back. These ingrowing hairs often appear as uncomfortable red bumps and can also appear to be a rash. They can be caused by numerous things, including improper shaving tools, bad practices or poor quality products.
How to Prevent Razor Burn
So how do you ensure you avoid these bumps? Firstly, make sure you have a hot shower before shaving. On a scientific level, warm water softens both your hair and skin. This reduces tension as your razor blade cuts off hairs and could save you a seriously annoying rash.
Once you’re ready for a shave, you need the right tools to perform the task – and we’re not just talking about a razor. Use shaving cream and use it liberally. Massage the shaving cream or soap into your face and neck in a circular motion and let it sit there for 1 to 2 minutes. Dry shaving is one of the main causes of razor burn as it causes the blade to drag across the skin. Also try not to apply too much pressure on your skin when gliding the blade.
If you feel your razor tugging during a shave, replace your blade immediately. Using old blades often leads to tiny tears in the skin and can cause real discomfort. We’d recommend using a standard shaving blade around 5 to 7 times before it needs to be safely thrown away
While shaving against the grain may give you a closer shave, those who suffer from razor burn should always shave with the grain. Shaving against the flow of things causes hairs to be cut below the surface of the skin, which – as we’ve already established – causes razor burn. Take note of which direction your facial hairs grow as some may grow in completely different directions.
It’s also important to make sure you rinse your blade. Shaved stubble and shaving cream can block the blade from doing its thing, which in turn can cause nicks in your skin. That means you need to rinse regularly – we’d recommend every one or two strokes.
How to Treat a Shaving Rash
Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand that can get rid of your rash immediately. But there are some things you can be doing to help aid the razor burn healing process.
First thing’s first, don’t shave over the affected area again until things calm down. The most effective way of overcoming razor burn is by letting the hair grown out on its own accord, and this means letting nature take its course. Keeping the skin clean and exfoliated is the best way to prevent things from getting worse by clogging up the pores, and it’ll also encourage ingrown hairs to grow out.
It may seem a little extreme but wearing loose clothes made from natural fibres, such as cotton, will really help the healing process too. You can prevent your burn from getting worse by allowing your skin to breathe as much as possible.
There are of course remedies on the market which will soothe irritation – these are usually made with Aloe vera – but if you’re after some home remedies, applying some ice cubes to the affected area for 30 second intervals will reduce the redness for a period of time. Crushing up aspirin and making it into a paste by adding a few drops of water will also calm the burn thanks to the salicylic acid inside the pills.