Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home


Last Updated June 13th, 2021

What is a razor burn?

How often have you noticed that skin irritation after you shave?  This is nothing but the razor burn that is caused due to faulty shaving.  It is not uncommon to experience this on a regular basis.  Preparing oneself for a shave is all that takes to avoid this, but the majority of people do not have the time and patience preparing for a shave.

It is not just limited to men since even women face the same problem.  In fact, a survey among women has revealed that shaving is women’s most disliked beauty ritual.  It may be annoying to see your hair grow back after all that hard work you had put in to have a clean shave.  For many, it has become a chore rather than anything else, which cannot be avoided.  There are instances where you spend time preparing for a shave and yet get a razor burn.

If it does occur even after following precautionary measures you have several home remedies such as aloe vera, baking soda, olive oil, etc that help you relieve the symptoms.  All these natural remedies not only relieve symptoms of skin irritation but also can soothe your skin and make you look forward to shaving again with confidence.

Symptoms and Causes

Because shaving is a daily chore, many seem to ignore important steps to ensure a smooth shave.  Trying to shave in a hurry can cause problems such as razor burn.  It may be annoying to shave every day before going to the office, but you just cannot avoid it.  It is by far considered healthy hygiene but becomes a nightmare when it leaves behind redness and irritation of the skin.  Men and women both shave and the common areas are arms, legs, armpits, eyebrows, etc for females.  Men generally shave the face, chest, legs, etc.

Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin.  The razor bumps are medically termed pseudofolliculitis barbae.  Razor bumps generally occur in people who are having curly beards using a faulty razor such as a dull blade.  You tend to exert more pressure during shaving when the blades are dull.

This causes irritation of the skin with an uncomfortable burning sensation.   Finding a suitable razor can be a challenge due to the numerous varieties available in the market.  A good razor is considered a key component for a perfect shave and to avoid razor burns.  It is important to choose a razor according to your hair type.  A few experiments with different razors could provide you the answer.  Some of the common causes are discussed below with reasons and solution.

Shaving with a dull razor

You would have spent a significant amount of money for the best razor, but this would not give you the desired results if your blades are dull.  Your high-quality razor would work perfectly initially when the blades are sharp.  It would take just a minimal effort to get that perfect shave.  As time passes, these blades become dull and are less effective.  This causes you to go over the same place more than three times whereas a sharp blade would do that work with just a single stroke.  The extra strokes and pressure cause damage to the skin called micro abrasions.  These abrasions to the skin can exacerbate and cause irritation to the skin if you continue with the same dull blade.

You need to stop reusing disposable razors as they are not meant to be used more than once or twice.  Once you come across a situation where your razor is not effectively shaving that stubborn hair with one stroke, it should be understood that you need a change of razor.

Using a dirty razor

You may be shaving on your body in various areas.  Shaving with a dirty razor is never acceptable regardless of where you are shaving.  Hygiene should be given the topmost priority when you are preparing to shave.  A dirty razor may be transmitting numerous bacteria every time you are shaving.  Even a small cut can allow those bacteria to enter into your system and create other complications.

Bacteria forming on your razor blade cannot be avoided.  You could limit the formation by keeping the surface of the razor blade dry and later storing it in a covered container.  You may also want to dip your razor in hot water before shaving so as to remove any bacteria.

Shaving a dirty skin

Shaving a dirty skin is as dangerous as shaving with a dirty razor.  Your skin accumulates all the oil and dirt especially if you are traveling a lot.  If you do not wash your skin before shaving, all these dirt and oil can cause increased friction when you shave.  Washing the area before shaving can remove any dirt accumulation and help with a clean shave.

Problems with hair texture

If you are having curly hair, this could be one of the reasons why you are having razor burn and bumps.  Curly hair does not grow straight and tend to curl and loop back to the skin.  They do not break the skin surface but may cause ingrown hairs.  This is considered to be an important factor causing razor burn.

This problem can be solved by applying a warm cloth to the area for a few minutes.  Pre-shave solutions are also available in the market which can reduce skin irritation.  Apply a moisturizer after shaving to provide a soothing effect.  If all the above remedies do not help, switch to an electric razor.

Dry skin

Trying to shave on dry skin would further exacerbate the problem.  Since dry skin is already a skin problem, shaving on them causes additional problems by inflicting more damage to the skin.  You may end up having a reddish patch on the skin with itchiness and burning.  If you have a problem with dry skin, use some over-the-counter moisturizers.  You can even choose natural moisturizers such as coconut oil or lavender oil.  Even if you are not shaving, dry skin should be treated appropriately.

Shaving against the grain

You may end up having severe irritation on your skin after shaving.  Shaving against the direction of hair growth seems to cause this problem.  Shaving against the grain causes increased friction on your skin where the razor tends to pull the hair.  This could cause red patches and irritation of the skin.  Spending some extra time and shaving gently can decrease these problems.

Razor burn vs. razor bumps

Razor burn is the irritation that is caused due to shaving whereas razor bumps are small raised bumps that are caused after shaving due to ingrown hair.  Both are two different conditions, but people tend to mistake them for the same condition.  As discussed earlier, a faulty razor or dull blade could give you a razor burn whereas razor bumps are often caused due to particular hair texture.  Other hair removing procedures like waxing and plucking too can cause razor bumps.

Preventing a razor burn

Shaving can sometimes be a challenge, but a few basic instructions can make your shaving experience delightful and satisfying.  Following these instructions can save you from the irritating razor burn.  Few preventive measures are discussed below:

Avoid dry shaving

Wetting the skin with warm water will soften the hair.  This can surely give you a razor burn free shave.  Dipping the razor into a hot water mug can further assist with a clean and crisp shave.

Prep the skin

Applying a moisturizing shaving lotion to the skin before shaving can give you wonderful results.  You can even try homemade shaving cream or use coconut or olive oil to moisten the skin.

Shave in the right direction

It is important to shave towards the direction of hair growth.  Many people tend to shave against the direction of hair growth to achieve a closer shave, but this may give you nicks.  Different parts of the body require shaving in different directions to achieve optimum results.

You need to shave from all angles when you are shaving your underarms.  For shaving your groin area, shave in the direction of hair growth moving inward and once done, gently try the outward motion for a closer shave.  You need to shave towards the direction of hair growth when shaving beards and shave against the hair growth when shaving your legs.

Change the blades regularly

A dull blade can cause unnecessary irritation to the skin and lead to razor burn.  Try to replace your blades as and when needed to avoid complications.

Avoid acne

You need to take extra care while shaving if you are having acne.  If the acne is accidentally shaved off, it can lead to unnecessary complications.  Try to shave around the acne.  If you are facing difficulty with regular razors, use an electric razor.  To be extra careful, avoid shaving when you have acne and wait for the acne to heal completely.

Avoid razor nicks

Razor nicks may be small, but the complications associated with it are quite big.  A small razor nick can cause profuse bleeding that may prolong for a period of time.  If your razor contains bacteria, these bacteria may enter the system and create infections.  You would be surprised to know that dull razor blades tend to cause nicks more often than sharp razor blades.  These nicks may leave a permanent scar on your face which you need to deal for the rest of your life.  So, make a point to avoid these nicks as much as possible.

Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Razor Burn

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has been used for centuries to soothe the irritated skin.  Aloe vera can increase the collagen content in the skin and aid with the faster healing process of irritated skin.  Aloe vera contains numerous antiseptic agents such as lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamic acid, phenols, and sulfur.  All these antiseptic agents can fight against bacteria and prevent infections.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is known for its powerful anti-acne effects.  It contains natural antiseptic agents which reduce inflammation in the skin.  Due to the presence of tannins, which is a chemical, it can reduce swelling as well as repair broken skin.

Lemon Juice

Applying lemon juice may increase irritation and burning sensation, but the natural acids in lemon juice are known to fight against bacteria.  It also contains vitamin C that helps in promoting new skin cells to grow.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil contains natural anti-bacterial agents.  This oil is similar to witch hazel and helps in fighting harmful bacteria.  Tea tree oil available in the market is concentrated and hence needs to be diluted with a carrier oil and applied on the irritated skin area.

Baking Soda

People have been using baking soda to treat cuts and wounds as the most common home remedy.  It can be old fashioned, but the effects are highly rewarding.  Apply baking soda mixed with water with a cotton swab to the affected skin and leave it to dry.  Wash the area later to provide relief from the stinging sensation and irritation.

Coconut Oil or Olive Oil

Both these oils are considered to be natural moisturizers.  Both these oils can be used directly on the skin since they do not clog the pores of the skin.  Numerous shaving creams and gels contain these oils due to their moisturizing effects.  Application of these oils before and after shaving can provide wonderful results.


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