What is Razor Burn?

Razor burn is the name for a condition of inflammed skin, manifesting itself into redness, sometimes bumps, and mainly a burning irritation, as caused by hair removal by almost any means including shaving with a razor, both manual and electric, trimming, or waxing.

Razor burn is caused by the irritation of the hair follicle or surrounding skin from the hair removal, or by creation of tiny cuts in the skin from razor nicks from a dull blade or poor electric razor, and/or the infection of the skin post-hair removal.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Razor Burn?

My carefully researched routine to prevent razor burn has developed over time and changed with the introduction of new products. I enjoy the clossness of a shave that a razor provides, so I do not use an electric shaver, although many people report that this is the best way to eliminate the heartbreak of razor burn altogether.

I begin by washing my face in the shower, both to remove skin-irritants, like skin oils, chemicals, and bacterium, as well as to thoroughly saturate my hair with water. Wet hair shaves much better than dry, and most hair types take at least two minutes to fully saturate.

Next, I apply a shaving cream. Contrary to another node on the topic of shaving cream, I always use shaving cream because I find that my facial hair is so thick that I require the extra lubrication that the lather provides. I now shave with delicate, but firm and controlled, pressure.

Next, I rinse my face with cold water to help soothe and prevent swelling and inflammation. I gently pat the skin dry; and wipe the inevitable shaving cream dollops from my ear lobes.

Next, I apply an aftershave. Preferably one with alcohol to kill bacteria. For some people, this might inflame the skin. It does slightly inflame mine, but the effect is temporary.

Lastly, I wait for the aftershave to completely evaporate and then apply a face lotion to prevent dryness. This really is key, especially when shaving in the dry winter months.

If the problem of razor burn persists, you may have more success using a benzolperoxide based product such as Fostex soap or Clinique Post-Shave Healer. As with any medical condition, consult a general physician or dermatologist.

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