All is not so effortless about shaving; the process of getting clean, smooth and hairless skin. Shaving is a form of physical exfoliation which imposes constant stress on the skin. One of its most common fall-outs is razor burn.
Razor burn is inflammation of the skin and includes any cuts, nicks, scratches and irritation associated with shaving. It can be a rash or a scratch that remains inflamed for days or it can be just a few hours of mild discomfort and redness. Burning, redness, itching and stinging are some of the common symptoms of razor burns. There are serious chances of this irritation getting aggravated, thereby leading to blisters or painful breakouts.
To prevent razor burn, the first step is to know what might lead to this painful, unappealing skin condition. A number of reasons can compound to cause razor burns:
• Sensitive skin
• Inadequate lubrication during shaving
• Reaction from certain creams, substances or ingredients
• Shaving too closely and/or too quickly
• Shaving with a blunt blade (a sharp blade will require less pressure)
• Applying too much pressure during shaving (which only facilitates the removal of skin cells, resulting in excess friction and irritation)
• Shaving against the grain of the hair (against the direction of the hair growth).
• Shaving over already irritated or sensitized areas.
Razor burns can be prevented by following some simple, but careful steps while shaving. It becomes all the more important for people who have sensitive skin as they are more prone to develop irritation or allergy.
Following prevention tips can help avert the pains of razor burn, making the daily process of shaving a not so irksome task.
Soften the hair before shaving: Apply a generous layer of good quality shaving foam or gel in a circular motion, back and forth over the skin and against the grain of the hair. This allows for a less irritating and closer shave as it smoothes the skin and also lifts and softens the hair. Applying warm water or steam before shave can also help in the same.
Shave at the right time: There is a point in allocating the task of shaving in the early part of daily routine. In the morning, the skin is free of resting all night. It is relaxed and softer. As the skin grapples with sun, dirt and humidity during the long hours of the day, the pores get clogged. It also leads to decreased skin elasticity and harder facial hair. All this can lead to shaving discomfort and razor burn.
Also, the best time to shave is just after showering because then the skin is clean, elastic and pores are open. Clean the skin with soap-free cleaning lotion before shaving. It not only minimises irritation, but also provides easy and convenient shave.
Exfoliate: Using a good scrub or loofa helps in removing dead skin cells and also brings out potential ingrown hair (curly hair which turn in on themselves and go under the skin).
Shave with the grain (in direction of hair growth): This is one of the most common mistakes committed by people while shaving which leads to razor burns. In order to get a baby smooth skin they are tempted to shave against the grain, something which greatly increases the chances of razor burns. One should shave with the grain, even if it takes multiple passes to clear the hair. It also reduces the chances of cuts or slices.
Use safety razor: Now-a-days, many razors come with multiple blades. This overdoes the shaving exercise and might lead to severe irritation and razor burns. Single-blade safety razors are a very good substitute which can help one avoid razor burns and also provide a clean nice shave without cuts.
Use light and short strokes: The weight of the razor is enough to cut the hair. More pressure you exert, the more are the chances of suffering razor burns. To ward-off this risk, light and short strokes should be applied while shaving.
Don’t use blunt razors: Using a blunt blade is for shave is definitely not a good idea. It creates a lot of drag on the skin and ends up tearing it. This increases the chance of getting razor burns. Using safety razor is beneficial here as it is easy to change blades without coming too heavy on the pocket.
Clean the blade, possibly after every stroke: Bacteria on the blade are one of the prime causes of razor burns. Wiping the blade with some rubbing alcohol before you begin to shave and cleaning it intermittently between the shave strokes can help avoid razor burns.
Rinse face with cold water: Splashing your face with cold water after shaving. It relieves the burning sensation typical to shaving and also helps to close up pores and retard the chances of forming ingrown hair.
Apply moisturiser: A good quality, alcohol-free refreshing after-shave lotion can also be helpful in preventing razor burns. If your skin is sensitive, try using an aloe vera-based cortisone cream.
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