If you choose to shave your various bits (be it your legs, bikini area, underarms, what have you), then you're probably well acquainted with the post-shave aftermath known as razor burn. Admittedly, it can be difficult to find ways to cure razor burn, and all of its red, bumpy, painfulness. And yet there are several things that can be done to treat, and even prevent, the problem.
But before I get into any treatment tactics, let's first start with the difference between the various razor-inflicted issues. The first, of course, being actual razor burn. The "burn" will be pretty easy to spot with its patches of red, flat spots, according to Hannah Morrill on Women's Health. It usually occurs when you swipe a dull or dirty razor along your hairs, and can often feel quite prickly and painful.
Then there's the issue of ingrown hairs, which happen when a shaved off piece of hair curls in on itself, and begins to grow under the skin, according to Morrill. It will look just like a zit, and is most likely to crop up on your bikini line. None of the above is cute, and can definitely hinder your desire to prance around in dresses, bathing suits, and shorts. So let's get it all under control with some of the tips below.
1. Use A Clean Razor
Many of us don't think twice before using our old, grimy razors. It may not seem like a big deal, but those things are packed with rust and germs, according to Christinia Seimenis on XOVain.com. Getting in the habit of storing your razor away from shower humidity, which speeds up rust growth, can help the blades stay fresh. But you should also consider replacing them as often as possible.
2. Only Shave With Sharp Blades
Believe it or not, razor blades get dull after only five uses, according to Morrill. I know, that seems like way too often to replace a blade. And yet dull ones pretty much guarantee red bumps. Keeping them out of the shower (as mentioned above) can help, but you might also want to consider throwing down for a constant supply of blades. It'll probably be worth it.
3. Shave With The Grain
There is something intensely satisfying about swiping against the grain, and getting a super close shave. And yet, doing so can cause an intense amount of irritation, according to Seimenis. Switching things up and shaving in the direction of hair growth may not get that near God-like level of smoothness, but at least it'll prevent bumps.
4. Soak Before Shaving
It can help to soak your skin for a while before shaving, so give yourself some time to chill in the shower, before you whip out the razor. "Try standing under warm water, allowing the water to saturate [the] area, for about three minutes," suggested Victoria Moorehouse on StyleCaster.com. This will soften things up, and make hair come away easier.
5. Use An Actual Shave Gel
When it comes to properly removing hair, don't reach for any old bar of soap to butter up your legs. Instead, go for a real, bonafide shave gel. "Using a moisturizing shaving gel/foam (or even shaving oil) is the way to go," said Seimenis. "Not only does it feel better, it really does help prevent razor burn."
6. Shave As Gently As Possible
Whatever you do, don't drag your razor dramatically across the skin, or press down too hard. And definitely do go over the same area again and again, according to Moorehouse. When it comes to preventing razor burn, less is more.
7. Disinfect Ingrown Hairs
Despite your best efforts, you've managed to sprout a few ingrown hairs. What's a girl to do? Start by treating them with glycolic and salicylic acids. These will de-clog and disinfect the bump, while helping it to heal. "Swipe over the area twice a day; expect results in a week," said Morrill.
8. Try Baby Care Products
If you have some baby oil handy, it can really help soothe razor burned skin. "Apply baby oil to the shaved areas after gently patting them dry, or apply post-shave while still in the shower, then rinse the excess oil off before drying," suggested Shawna Van Trease on Livestrong.com. It may prevent things from getting out of control.
9. Wear Loose Clothing
Don't pull on your tightest jeans immediately post-shave. "Any clothing that will constrict or rub against your skin can further irritate freshly shaved skin," said Van Trease. "Give your skin at least an hour to heal before putting on underwear and tight or rough clothes."
10. Pat On Some Antibiotic Cream
Razor burn still cropping up in painful amounts? Time to get serious about your treatment. "If you already have razor burn, reach for a topical antibiotic and a mild steroid lotion to help with inflammation," Moorehouse said. It should bring down the redness, and help things heal faster.
11. Consider An Aftershave
I know, aftershave sounds like something your grandpa would use, but it can be quite effective even for us ladies, too. As Van Tease said, "Simply apply the lotion after shaving to prevent and reduce razor burn." Easy as that.
Hopefully, with a few of these tips, you'll be able to keep all those red bumps and ingrown hairs to a minimum. And if they still pop up, a few quick treatments (like antibiotic cream, or baby oil) can help bring the redness down. You'll be ready to show off your skin in no time.
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