Those unpleasant, painful red bumps you get after shaving can ruin a beach day. Razor burn, an inflammation of the hair follicles, takes days to heal on its own. Taking a few precautions before you shave can save you a lot of pain and grief.
Of course, the best way to prevent razor burn is to stop shaving altogether. But waxing has its own painful problems, and some women are allergic to those hair removal creams. If you have to shave, try these tips out to keep red bumps at bay.
Always use a new, sharp razor blade to shave. Dull razors can irritate (or nick) the skin, but a new razor can glide gently against the skin without dragging or catching. That’s why disposable razors are disposable! Overall, a new razor is a much more comfortable option.
Of course, electric razors eliminate this problem altogether. Typically, they cause little or no irritation, so consider switching if you can.
Cleanliness is Key
Prep your skin so you get the closest shave possible. Clean the area with a good, strong soap to remove dirt and oil, which interferes with the razor’s effectiveness. If you can, exfoliate first to lift the hairs, so you can get a closer shave. Always use a moisture-based shaving cream or gel, but try to avoid any with a strong fragrance, since these can cause their own irritation to the skin. Creams that contain aloe vera are the best choice, since they fight inflammation while you shave.
Slow & Steady…
Repeatedly running the blade over the same area will quickly cause razor burn. Instead of just hacking away in every direction, go slowly and take the time to Once you’re ready to start, remember to use slow, short strokes. Use the shaving cream as your guide–when the cream is gone, don’t double-back over that strip of skin. If you go at the right pace, you should only have to drag the razor once over the skin to shave all the hairs. Be sure to shave down, in the direction that hair grows. Pulling the razor blade against the follicle (in an upward direction) can cause a great deal of irritation to the skin, especially in the bikini area. Shaving with the hair keeps the hair follicles happy.
After Shave Fixes
Of course, we all have to shave in a hurry, now and then, so you might find yourself skipping some of the steps. If you do end up with razor burn, at-home remedies can put out the fire. Dab one-percent hydrocortisone cream on the area to soothe and reduce the redness from razor burn. Just don’t rely on this cure for daily use, as it can enlarge blood vessels overtime and actually create stretch marks! Instead, use hydrocortisone as an “emergencies only” treatment.
Acne cream, believe it or not, is better for long-term relief. Any topical acne cream that contains 2.5 or 5-percent benzoyl peroxide lessens the redness, minimizes the bumps, and prevents them from occurring the next time you shave. Some shaving creams already contain benzoyl peroxide, which is a good idea for those with extra-sensitive skin.
Other anti-inflammatory ingredients, like aloe vera or vitamin E, can help in a pinch. Look for aftershave lotions or creams that contain these active ingredients to put out the fires of razor burn. Work these into your daily routine to stop razor burn before it starts. No matter how much pre-shaving prep you do, follow up with a good moisturizer that contains these ingredients and shea or cocoa butter. If the skin and pores are happy, your legs, armpits, and bikini area will stay beach ready.