Most men have had at least one uncomfortable encounter with razor burn. Razor burn occurs after shaving and can be uncomfortable and lead to razor bumps. The bumps can be red and are typically accompanied by ingrown hairs.
Razor burn is easy to prevent. Because it’s often a byproduct of a poor shaving routine, razor burn does not have to be an accepted part of a daily shave. The following tips can help men ensure their next shave is smooth and pain-free.
Prepare the skin
The skin must be prepared before you begin shaving. It’s not a good idea for men to roll right out of bed and put a razor to their faces. For the best shave, bathe and exfoliate before shaving. Chemical exfoliants that contain salicylic acid help remove dirt, oil and dead skin, making it easier for the razor to glide smoothly.
Once the skin has been bathed and exfoliated, cover any area that will be shaved with lotion or conditioner, but don’t rub anything into the skin. Once applied, lotion and conditioner should be allowed to sit for a few minutes. This softens the hair, making it easier to shave the hair off. Be sure not to let lotion or conditioner sit for more than a few minutes, as the skin might start to absorb the moisture, causing the skin to puff up and making it difficult to get a close, smooth shave.
Consider saying “so long” to shaving cream. Shaving cream is a staple in most men’s medicine cabinet, but men who feel they are especially susceptible to razor burn might want to use shaving soap instead. Old-fashioned barber shops that still offer straight shaves use shaving soap, which is often better at lubricating the skin than standard shaving creams.
Re-examine your technique
Many men might get razor burn because they’re simply not shaving correctly or their tools aren’t up to the task.
Before shaving again, make sure your razor is sharp and the blade is clean. Many men overextend the life of their razors, which makes it difficult to get a smooth shave. A dull razor will almost certainly lead to razor burn, as men will likely need to go over the same patch of skin more than once to remove hair.
Once you have secured a sharp and clean blade, re-examine your shaving technique. When shaving, shave slowly in small strokes, cleaning the blade by tapping it against the sink and rinsing it with hot water between each stroke. Pull loose skin tight, but avoid stretching the skin. Each stroke should be shaved with the grain, which will enable a closer, smoother shave. When shaving the same area more than once, re-apply lubricant before each time.
Finish the job
The job of shaving isn’t done once all the hair has been removed. To prevent razor burn, splash cold water over the skin after shaving to close the skin’s pores. Cold water or an ice cube are just as effective as alcohol-based after shaves at cooling the skin, and cold water or ice cubes won’t dry out the skin.
Once cold water has been applied or an ice cube has been run over the shaved skin, apply an aloe vera balm. Such a balm speeds up the skin’s recovery and will moisturize the shaved skin and cool it as well.
For men battling razor burn, it’s important to allow the skin to heal completely before shaving again. Also, if the skin has succumbed to razor burn, avoid any products that contain alcohol, as these will only irritate the skin further. In addition, avoid scratching or rubbing irritated areas, and never apply cologne to razor-burned skin.
Men can avoid irritating razor burn with some simple preventive measures. SUR