Moms and dads alike share a common enemy when it comes to keeping your skin clean and hair-free and that is razor burn. This appears as a red colored rash on a freshly shaved patch of skin. It can feel itchy and can be painful at times too. The prime cause is, obviously, using a razor to take care of unwanted hair. A freshly shaved area of skin is highly vulnerable and there are many different causes which can lead to this condition.
It is an issue that men and women alike have to deal with on a regular basis. In the case of men, they shave their facial hair, usually daily, and for them this is the area where this irritation is a problem. Since, it is natural for men to have some body hair so they usually don’t have to deal with hair on other parts of the body.
Whereas, in the case of women it is the reverse. Women don’t normally grow whiskers and they have to take care of the hair that grows on legs, arms and other exposed parts of their body. Razor burn can happen on any part of the body where razors are used.
Common Causes of Razor Burn
Not cleaning the skin properly: If the skin is not cleaned properly before shaving then the dirt, oil and dead skin cells can inadvertently clog the pores. The razor blade can force that grime into the freshly shaven skin..
A blunt razor: A blunt razor is most often the prime cause of a razor burn. When a razor is not sharp enough, it tends to pull the hair from the root and this causes irritation. Moreover, when you feel that hair is not being properly cut, you tend to put more pressure on the skin to get a closer shave. This further irritates the skin and causes dryness.
A dirty razor: Using a dirty razor can also be a cause for this condition. Staphylococcal bacteria which is commonly found on the skin is the main culprit here. It is very common for the skin to develop minor nicks and cuts while shaving. If these bacteria enter those small nicks and cuts, it infects the cut and can lead to a severe razor burn.
Shaving on dry skin: When moisture is applied to the skin, the hair on the surface tends to become softer. Dragging a razor on a dry surface peels off a layer of moisture from the skin and makes it dry and leads to irritation and itching.
Shaving against the direction of the grain: The direction of the grain is referred to as the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the grain makes the razor pull the hair and this action irritates the skin.
Ways To Try And Prevent Razor Burn
Moisturize: Use warm water on the area to be shaved or else a better idea is to keep a towel dipped in warm water over the skin surface. The heat will open up the pores and provide a closer shave. The moisture from the towel will make the hair soft and easier to cut.
Exfoliate: Use a good scrub to remove all dirt, oil, grime and dead cells. This will clean up the skin and make it ready to be shaved. Stimulate with a good shaving cream and brush: Use a brush to stimulate the skin, this makes the hair stand up and it becomes easier to cut. The cream provides a good lubrication for the blade to glide.
Use a new razor: A new razor is sharp and provides a closer shave. Use it with gentle strokes and don’t apply too much pressure.
Don’t shave against the grain: This will cause more friction and will pull the hair.
Don’t be in a hurry: While shaving it is very important that you do it slowly, use the razor like a paintbrush and you will see the difference.
Rinsing the blade: Rinse the blade after every stroke to avoid hair from sticking to the blade. It decreases the efficiency of the blade.
Steps to Follow After Shaving
Use aloe vera or a good moisturizer: Shaving dries out the skin and so you need to use a good moisturizer or aloe vera over the skin to retain moisture. Aloe vera has good medicinal properties and it heals the skin. Avoid alcohol based aftershaves: alcohol dries out the skin and it is best to avoid aftershaves that have alcohol.
Clean and dry out your razor: Always keep the razor dry as this practice keeps the blade from rusting. Make sure your razor is in good shape and not dull before each use.
Razor burn can be quite an annoyance to deal with. It’s not a lot of fun to go through all the work of shaving to look your best only to have all that effort and time be marred by the appearance of a red bumpy rash. Those who constantly encounter such irritated skin should try and change up their shaving routine by better preparing their skin before they shave and to take better precautions while they shave.