How to Treat Razor Bumps and Burns

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. It is important to always consult a medical professional for any health issues.

 

For men, shaving regularly has a lot of benefits. For some men, it is a pleasant daily morning ritual and a form of self-care. However, for others, it is just another existential chore. A fresh-shaven face can make you look fresher. In addition, it can also help clear dead skin cells and wash away bacteria, dirt, and debris. 

While shaving has a lot of advantages, there are also disadvantages that come with it, and these include suffering from razor bumps and burns. Depending on the type of skin you have, shaving your face daily may cause ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and other kinds of skin irritations, especially when you use the wrong tools or if you have sensitive skin. 

Razor burn is a common condition that causes itchy rashes, tenderness, and redness. Razor bumps, on the other hand, are ingrown hairs due to cut hair strands that twist back into the skin and grow underneath the surface. It can cause red or skin-colored bumps that look similar to pimples and, if not treated, may cause permanent damage. 

If you frequently get razor bumps and burns after shaving and are looking for solutions to both prevent and treat them, we are here to help you. In this post, we are giving you the best tips and tricks on how to treat razor bumps and burns.

Symptoms of Razor Bumps

man shaves a shaving machine without using foam, soap and cream. Shave dry. Advertising poster, with space for text. copy space

Razor bumps are also called pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), pseudofolliculitis pubis, barber’s itch, and folliculitis barbae traumatica. The primary symptoms of razor bumps are raised red bumps. But you may also experience itching, pain, darkening of the skin, small papules or solid, rounded bumps, and pustules or pus-filled, blister-like lesions.[1]  

This condition can occur anywhere that has been shaved. In addition to shaving, waxing, plucking, and removing hair using chemical depilatory may also cause razor bumps in some cases. Most of the time, they occur on the face, especially the chin, neck, and lower cheeks, as well as on the underarms, groin, and legs.[1]  

The Best Ways to Treat Razor Bumps

Razor bumps come in a variety of sizes and come with a red or white pus-filled bump. While there is no actual technique to make razor bumps heal instantaneously, there are certain methods you may try that may aid in getting rid of them more quickly while also allowing the skin to heal. Here are a few tactics you can use:

Tweeze

Use sterilized, pointed tweezers to remove the ingrown hair if it is evident on the razor bump. The razor bump may disappear more quickly if the trapped hair is removed. You must wash your hands with soap and water and sterilize the tweezers with alcohol before you begin tweezing.

Using tweezers, however, could exacerbate the situation if the hair is not visible on the skin’s surface. It will only harm the skin and aggravate or infect it worse. Additionally, avoid picking or squeezing the lumps because doing so could make them worse or leave scars.

Use Scrubs Carefully

Happy young mixed race man cleansing face with foamy scrub

Dead skin cells that clog pores and keep hairs trapped inside can also be removed by a mechanical or physical scrub. Typically, these scrubs include sugar, salt, or small beads. They can slough off dead skin cells physically to get rid of dirt and liberate the ingrown hairs. However, certain people, especially those with sensitive or inflamed skin, may experience a skin reaction to the rough texture of scrubs. Therefore, use scrubs with caution if your skin is sensitive, red, or inflamed.

Use Salicylic Acid

Selective focus of salicylic acid liquid solution in dark brown glass bottle in a white chemistry laboratory background. Chemical peel for skin care research

 

Salicylic acid can aid in removing dead skin cells from the body. It can get inside your skin’s oil glands to clear clogged pores and combat inflammation at the same time. It helps eliminate dead skin cells and soothes razor bumps. By doing this, the ingrown hair will emerge from the pore. In addition, salicylic acid can aid in lessening the bump’s appearance. Salicylic acid is present in many products, many of which are sold in drugstores and even online.

Try Using Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid is a chemical ingredient in beauty product

Similar to salicylic acid, glycolic acid aids in skin peeling by eliminating aging skin cells from the epidermis. Alpha hydroxy acids include glycolic acid. Glycolic acid minimizes the chance of hair re-entering the epidermis by decreasing the curvature of the hair. Since it accelerates the skin’s normal sloughing process, glycolic acid products can help get rid of razor bumps and make the skin look smoother. Glycolic acid chemical peels might be useful for treating razor bumps.[2] 

Brush Skin Gently

Another method to get rid of the debris and dead skin cells that are clogging the pores where you shave is to use a gentle brush. A skincare brush can be used for this. By guiding the hair out of the blocked pore and keeping it from getting entangled there, brushing your skin can help. Razor bumps can be removed, and new ones from forming by brushing the affected region every day.

Apply a Warm Wash Cloth

A warm washcloth can also be used to soothe your skin and remove ingrown hairs. Another option is to use a sauna or hot shower to steam the region. Combine this method with any of the other therapies we discussed above.

Try Another Hair Removal Technique

One alternative is to try a different hair removal method, as shaving is the one that can cause razor bumps the most frequently. Depilatories, which are used to remove hair, dissolve the hair and lower the chance of razor bumps. They do, however, contain substances that can irritate the skin. If a person already has sensitive, red, or inflamed skin, they shouldn’t use these items.[2] 

Long-term hair removal with lasers is possible, but the cost can be high. A person will require numerous dermatologist appointments, although the hair usually regrows finer and lighter than before.[2] 

Consider Medical Treatment

To lessen inflammation and control infection, a doctor or pharmacist may suggest over-the-counter (OTC) lotions, serums, and cleansers that contain steroids or antibiotics. Razor pimples and acne can also be avoided with a moderate retinoid. A doctor could recommend medicine if over-the-counter remedies do not work. This may be a more potent retinoid, such as tretinoin, adapalene, or tazarotene.[2]  

How to Prevent Razor Bumps When Shaving

Shaving the beard with a razor

There are various ways in order to prevent getting razor bumps when you shave. Below are some of them:

  • Use a non-comedogenic cleanser or one with salicylic acid or glycolic acid to clean the skin. These can aid in pore cleaning and surface skin cell removal. Pore clogging is less common with non-comedogenic products.[2]
  • Only shave while the skin is extremely moist, such as during or right after a shower. As an alternative, give the skin a 5-minute soak in a warm, moist towel before shaving.[2]
  • Before shaving, use a moisturizing lotion or gel and wait a minute or two.[2]
  • When shaving, make sure the shaving cream is moist. Otherwise, rinse your skin and apply more gently.[2]
  • Avoid skin care products with irritants because they could exacerbate inflammation.[2]
  • Avoid shaving too closely. Leave the hair 0.5–3 millimeters long instead.[2]
  • To enable a longer cut, use a single-blade razor or an electric razor with a programmable preset.[2]
  • Slowly shave while going against the direction of hair growth.[2]
  • When shaving, avoid tugging the skin too tightly.[2]
  • Be careful not to over-shave or hold the razor too near to the skin.[2]

After shaving, it is also important to take care of the skin to prevent razor bumps. Make sure that you rinse off all traces of shaving cream using warm water to avoid irritation. You can also place a cool compress on the shaven skin for about five minutes. Applying an aftershave that is formulated to prevent razor bumps is also a good idea. 

Symptoms of Razor Burns

 man grimacing while shaving with a disposable razor

Razor burn is a skin irritation that may occur after shaving. It can also happen on any part of the body that you shave, such as your face, legs, armpits, or pubic area. Dry shaving, shaving fast, or shaving using a dull blade can all lead to razor burn. Most of the time, the skin irritation shows up after a few minutes of shaving. It may also last from a few hours to a few days.[3]  

This condition is different from razor bumps, but both of them cause red, irritated skin. A razor burn looks like a blotchy skin rash. The symptoms of razor burn may include pain or discomfort, burning or stinging sensation, itchiness, tenderness, and swelling.[3]  

Best Ways to Treat Razor Burns

Patches of irritated skin caused by shaving quickly are known as razor burns. They can appear on your face, underarms, legs, or anywhere else you shave. Here are some things you can do to calm your skin and lessen the likelihood that you will get razor burns again if you constantly get them after shaving. 

Apply Aloe Vera

aloe vera or Star cactus (Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.) on a white background. Herbs that are commonly used to treat skin

Burns can be calmed and treated using aloe vera. Actually, it can aid in the recovery of first- and second-degree burns. Applying a little layer of pure Aloe Vera gel to the damaged region is all that is necessary to treat razor burns. Aloe vera plants can be harvested for it, or you can buy ready-made gels from pharmacies and online.

Use Coconut Oil

Bottle of coconut oil and fresh coconuts with palm leaf on wooden board over brown background

In addition to aloe vera, coconut oil can be used topically on the skin. According to a study, it is reliable and effective for treating burns. Researchers believe coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. To treat razor burns, simply cover the affected area with a thin coating of organic, expeller-pressed coconut oil.

Create a Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda can aid in the relief of razor burns since it has a cooling impact on the skin. Simply mix purified water with baking soda until thick paste forms. Apply the baking soda paste to your skin after that, and let it sit there until it dries. After that, give it a good rinse.

Use Witch Hazel

Due to its tannin concentration, witch hazel is well known for being a natural astringent and anti-inflammatory. It is frequently used to treat minor skin irritation, burns, and pain. As a result, you can also use it to treat razor burns on your skin. Apply witch hazel to the affected area as needed using a cotton pad.

Try a Colloidal Oatmeal Bath

Colloidal Oatmeal

The end product of crushing oats into a fine powder is colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oats are said to contain phenols with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. As a result, it can aid in calming, cleaning, and hydrating the skin, making it useful for relieving razor burns. Simply spend 10 to 15 minutes soaking in a colloidal oatmeal bath once daily.

Use Cool Compress

Itching and inflammation in the affected area can be lessened by applying a cool, damp compress. Put a clean washcloth under a stream of cold water to create a cold compress. Apply on the skin for up to 20 minutes after ringing out the excess. You can do this as many times as necessary.[4] 

Apply Over-The-Counter Lotions

There are many over-the-counter remedies for razor burns. While baby goods like baby oil or diaper rash lotions are soft and soothing for inflamed skin, aftershave lotion for both men and women may offer advantages. Hydrocortisone-containing products help lessen inflammation and redness. A medication commonly used to treat acne called salicylic acid might also help people with razor burn.

Lotions containing glycolic acid, which has been demonstrated to diminish lesions by 60%, may be helpful for people who also have razor bumps in addition to razor burn. People might be able to resume their daily shaving regimen as a result.[4] 

Use Antibiotics for Infection

Bumpy skin is frequently present with razor burn. Although they typically go away without complications, infection is potential. People with razor burns and bumps should see a doctor if they seem infected, develop white or pus-filled heads, or become tender or painful to the touch. Treatment with antibiotics can be necessary.[4] 

How to Prevent Razor Burns When Shaving

man using razor to shaving his face without foam, dry shave in bathroom mirror

Razor burns can be prevented to a minimum by using the right shaving equipment and methods. The following advice could assist people in avoiding razor burn:

  • Always shave after showering because that is when hair is softest.[4]
  • Use a lubricant, such as a cream, gel, or oil, at all times.[4]
  • To help prevent ingrown hairs, it is important to exfoliate the skin.[4]
  • Apply shaving cream or gel to the area using a brush. Compared to applying by hand, this ensures a more thorough and equal dispersion.[4]
  • Select a razor blade that is clean, sharp, and free of debris like soap residue or hair.[4]
  • Always shave in the direction of the hair growth.[4]
  • Avoid putting too much pressure on the blade. Instead, use light, brief strokes and only as many as are necessary. Over-shaving an area is a major contributor to razor burn.[4]
  • Avoid shaving too fast.[4]
  • It is important to rinse the blade after every stroke.[4]
  • Always wash and dry your shaving equipment after use to lower the possibility of bacterial growth. If necessary, apply rubbing alcohol on the blade.[4]
  • After shaving, rinse your skin with cold water and apply a mild lotion, gel, or moisturizer, being careful to stay away from anything that can irritate your skin.[4]
  • After shaving, stay away from wearing tight clothing or undergarments because these items can irritate freshly shaved skin.[4]

Conclusion

These are the best methods for treating and avoiding razor burns and bumps. Keep in mind that prevention is always preferable to treatment. Therefore, the easiest approach to avoid getting razor bumps and burns is to modify your shaving technique. Additionally, utilize premium shaving supplies to maintain your skin perfect and smooth. We sincerely hope that the tips we provided will help you in both getting rid of razor burns and bumps as well as preventing them in the future.

 

References

[1] Evans, J. R. (2018, September 18). Pseudofolliculitis barbae: Treatment, causes, prevention, and more. Healthline. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/razor-bumps#diagnosis 

[2] Berry, J. (2022, June 5). 8 ways to treat Razor Bumps Fast. Medical News Today. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325471#treatment

[3] Cleveland Clinic, E. (2022, July 30). Razor Burn: Causes & treatment. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23583-razor-burn  

[4] Leonard, J. (2017, July 5). 9 ways to treat and prevent Razor Burn. Medical News Today. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318235#Treating-razor-burn