When in a hurry, shaving with a razor seems like the quickest to get rid of facial hair. But the process might not be as smooth and effortless as it seems. The most common fallout of shaving with a razor is a razor burn. This happens because shaving is a form of physical exfoliation which puts stress on the skin, resulting in cuts and bleeding.
Razor burn is the inflammation of the skin, and includes all cuts, nicks, scratches or irritation associated with shaving. A rash or a scratch can hurt for a few hours or a few days, depending on its severity. Some of the common symptoms of razor burns include burning, redness, itching and stinging. The problem can aggravate if there is a severe case of irritation, thereby leading to painful breakouts and blisters.
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.
Also read: Razor Burns can be Painful and Unsightly; Know How to Treat them Effectively
Curing Razor Burns - Medical Way
- Dermatologists suggest that one should stop shaving for a few days in case of razor burns. Shaving an already inflamed skin can worsen it.
- 1% hydrocortisone cream can also be used to treat burn, redness and inflammation. If you have a very sensitive skin or have acne, consult your doctor before using it on the face.
- Use medicated antibacterial washes and topical antibiotics.
- Products with glycolic acid and salicylic acid (generally used for acne treatment) can also prove effective in curing razor burns.
- Over-the-counter products: A whole line of razor burn treatment products is on offer by the skin care market. For example, A shaving gel which contains rosemary and sage to fight infection and a non-oily formula that moisturizes the skin without clogging it can be helpful. Products which have glycolic acid to remove dead skin particles along with tea tree oil to combat bacteria and Vitamin E for skin hydration are also very effective.
- If razor burn is a frequent problem for you and it gets aggravated into other skin problems, alternate methods of hair removal can be considered as its treatment.
- Laser: Controlled studies have shown positive results for using a laser to treat razor burns. Talk to your dermatologist about Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet laser treatment.
- Electrolysis: It is a part of an advanced treatment procedure. It uses a device which destroys the growth center of the hair. The treatment, however, should be undertaken only under the supervision and prescription of a dermatologist.
- Electric shaver: If the blades of the razor are causing the irritation, then one can turn to an electric shaver.
Curing Razor burns – the natural way
Also read: Home remedies for razor burn
Natural or home remedies are resorted to by a majority of people who suffer razor burns. They are simple, safe and offer good results.
- Aloe-Vera: It has a cooling effect and facilitates the healing process. Split a natural aloe leaf and rub its fluid on the skin or use lotions with a high percentage of aloe to relieve razor burns
- Aspirin paste: Mix 2 uncoated aspirins with 1 teaspoon of warm water and make a fine paste, then apply to skin for 10-15 minutes. Given its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, it has been widely followed as a remedy for razor burns
- Apple cider vinegar: Mix apple cider vinegar and water and place on the affected area. It may sting a little at first but it will help to heal the razor burn fast
- Tea tree oil: It has medicinal properties that have been proved to treat skin infections. The American Cancer Society has credited it with antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. It soothes the skin and eases those pimply rashes. Simply mix it with water or olive oil and apply on the infected area
- Oatmeal bath: If you have razor burns on legs or hands, the oatmeal bath can be helpful to cure it. It is an effective way to soothe the skin. Grind up real oatmeal and mix it into your bath, preferably in warm water, then soak for 20 minutes.
- Apply Calendula cream for antiseptic protection
- Green tea: It encourages healing and can be effective in easing the sting of the burn. Make a cup of green tea, cool it in the refrigerator and then apply to the affected skin with a soft cloth or cotton
- Fresh avocado: Squash some fresh avocado and smooth it over the burned area. It moisturizes the skin well
- Witch hazel: The extract of this flowering plant reduces the swelling and the signs of redness. It is soothing and also helps prevent infections
- Almond oil: It is an excellent moisturizer. Applying almond oil on a razor burn helps to soothe the skin. Coconut oil can also be used, given its moisturizing properties
- Strawberries and sour cream: This is a very effective home remedy for those painful razor rashes. Mash up some juicy strawberries with some sour cream. Make a paste and apply to the skin for 10-15 minutes. Strawberries help reduce swelling and redness while sour cream has a nice cooling effect
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