Now that bikini season is practically here, keeping your legs and underarms stubble free is probably top on your beauty to do list. And with continuous shaving all summer long, comes the threat of razor burn, which can really force you pick those yoga pants over those cute cutoffs you’ve been eyeing. To show those painful bumps who’s boss, here are the best DIY hacks for razor burn. Often caused by using a dull razor, or shaving too closely, razor burn is a temporary itchy skin rash that totally isn’t fun. And while it’s true that razor burn often only lasts for a few days, you can leave the skin plagued with painful bumps if you aren’t careful.
“Razor burn is caused by irritation and inflammation of the hair follicles after scraping the skin (damaging it) with shaving,” explains Dr. Jennifer Reichel, board certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor. “Sometimes there can be bacteria involved (such as staph aureus), which will definitely increase the risk of developing razor burn.”
1. Prevent, Prevent, Prevent — And Make Sure Your Shower's Temperature Is Right
To soothe irritated and inflamed skin caused by close shave, it’s important to remember that prevention is key. Before shaving your bikini line, legs or underarms, always check your water temperature, and make sure you always shave a fresh new razor to start. To further ensure a smoother shade, exfoliating before shaving totally works wonders.
“The best way to treat razor burn is to prevent it,” suggests New York-based dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt. “Razor burn is common if people shave dry. Be sure to use a new sharp razor, and always shave wet with warm soapy water, or shaving cream.”
2. Choose A Different Shaving Time
While it’s important to remember not to shave over dry skin, Dr. Reichel also recommends easy fixes, like changing your shaving time to evening hours, as sweat and other products applied in the daytime hours often makes your skin more prone to razor burn.
“Shaving in the morning, and then applying other products, or sweating throughout the day can exacerbate razor burn.”
3. Try Coconut Oil
Organic Coconut Oil, $11, Amazon
If you can’t take preventive measures to ensure razor burn doesn’t strike, there are DIY solutions you can take to help ease this condition. Often inexpensive and found right inside your kitchen pantry, look no further than calming agents like oatmeal, coconut oil, and aloe vera to come to your aid.
4. Use An Oatmeal Mask Or Aloe Vera
“For leg razor burn - there may be a component of GI bacteria involved - so wash the area after you shave it,” says Dr. Riechel. “Using a good homemade oatmeal mask can help with irritation, while aloe vera is another effective DIY trick to treat razor burn.”
5. Mix Some Ingredients Together
If you want to get a little creative, try whipping up a fun mixture of coconut oil, chickpea and tumeric. According to Hibba Kapil, founder of Hibba NYC, this quirky concoction works to help soothe and calm down irritated skin post shaving.
“A homemade mixture of coconut oil, chickpea powder and turmeric does wonders,” says Kapil. “Add two drops of neem oil if you are extra irritated!”
6. Explore Other Options If DIY Doesn't Do It
If DIY treatments just aren’t cutting it, there are more medical approaches you can take to help treat razor burn. Applying on physician prescribed creams and steroids can help ease the pain, while keeping your skin free from those pesky bumps.
“Be sure to apply your dermatologist prescribed creams and steroids right after shaving two times per day for the next three days,” says Dr. Reichel. “The only "watch out" point to this, is if you are getting razor burn over large areas of the body on a frequent basis (such as full legs or chest) then the steroid will likely be too much to apply for more than 3 days every few weeks”
7. Consult A Doctor If Nothing Else Works
While you can take easy steps to prevent razor burn, it’s more than likely to happen to anyone sometime down the road. Just remember never to shave against the grain of the hair, and when you do finally shave, always be sure to start with a new blade. Yes skin soothing DIY remedies can be a huge help, but if your condition doesn’t improve over time, be sure to talk to your doctor about any topical approaches you can take.
Images: Pavel Morozov/Fotolia; Giphy (5)