Razor burn is a fact of life. Like death and taxes. You’ve dealt with it, I’ve dealt with it, and most of us have found ourselves wondering how long does razor burn last?
Razor burn is an awkward, uncomfortable, socially embarrassing condition and understanding what causes it and how long it lasts, can go a long way towards dealing with it.
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What Is Razor Burn?
Razor burn is the uncomfortable itching, burning, and stinging some men experience after shaving. It is often accompanied by small cuts or bumps over the surface of the cheeks, throat, and neck. The severity of the razor burn runs from minor irritation to downright painful.
Beyond being painful or irritating, razor burn is also unsightly and can lead to low self-esteem or social anxiety. The frequency of razor burn depends greatly on your method of shaving and the sensitivity of your skin.
What Causes Razor Burn?
Razor burn is caused by the scraping of your skin by your razor blade during shaving. The scraping twists and pulls at the hair follicle which causes irritation. Sometimes the hair begins to grow back underneath the skin and pushes outward forming a small abscess.
These are ingrown hairs and commonly referred to as razor bumps. Most of us will experience these razor bumps at some point or another, however, they're more common if you have curly hair.
How Long Does Razor Burn Last?
Razor burn can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The length of time will vary greatly depending on a few factors.
- The severity of the razor burn.
- Whether or not it is accompanied by razor bumps.
- How often you shave.
The worse your razor burn is, the longer it will linger. Razor bumps can likewise take a little longer to go away and there is always the chance that ingrown hairs can worsen and become more painful, even infected.
It is important not to shave until your razor burn subsides. Continuing to shave with razor burn or bumps can worsen the condition or at the very least prolong it through continued irritation.
How to Prevent Razor Burn from Happening
Obviously, the best way to cure razor burn is to prevent it from happening in the first place, right? The first step is to select the right razor and shaving style that will help protect your skin.
1. Learn to Wet Shave: Wet shaving is the lost art of shaving that your grandfather lived by. Using a safety razor such as the Merkur Long-Handled Safety Razor minimizes the number of blades making contact with your skin. Different from a cartridge shave, fewer blades means less friction.
Wet shaving also provides a closer, more even shave than cartridge brands. All of this adds up to less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs.
2. Exfoliate: Remember, razor burn and bumps are more common in individuals with curly hair. Exfoliating helps to prepare the hair for shaving by causing it to stick straight out. This leads to a cleaner, neater shave and reduces the chances of snagging or pulling that leads to razor burn. Exfoliating can be accomplished with a Badger Brush as seen in the video.
3. Apply a Pre-Shave Oil: When it comes to shaving, a lot of the irritation is caused by friction. Shaving cream helps to reduce the amount of scraping the blade(s) apply to your face. Another way to help protect your face is
Pre-shave oil helps to moisturize your skin which in and of itself helps prevent irritation. It also has the added benefit of providing an extra layer of lubrication for a smoother shave.
4. After Shave Lotion: After shave lotions can go a long way towards protecting your skin from the friction caused by shaving. The NIVEA Sensitive Post-Shave Balm was formulated with vitamin E specifically to help men with sensitive skin from developing irritation. When used in conjunction with a pre-shave oil and proper shaving techniques, after shave lotion helps provide the last layer of protection in the fight against razor burn.
5 Steps to an Irritation Free Shave
- Apply a pre-shave oil
- Wet shave with a safety razor.
a. Apply warm water to your face and distribute evenly. You want warm water, not hot. Hot water can irritate the skin and cause irritation before you even begin to shave.
b. Apply shaving cream with a badger brush. The badger brush serves the dual purpose of applying the shaving cream while also exfoliating your face and preparing the hairs for shaving.
- Rinse your face thoroughly with warm (again, not hot) water.
- Pat your face with cold water. The warm rinse helps to remove the remaining shaving cream and lotion from your face. It also clears dead skin and loose hairs. The cold rinse helps to close your pores.
- Pat your face dry and apply an after shave lotion.
If razor bumps and ingrown hairs is a big issue for you make sure to check out this source from WebMD.
How to Treat Existing Razor Burn
1. Stop Shaving! Shaving continues to irritate the skin and it’s a good way to ensure your razor burn and bumps stay right where they are. If at all possible, stop shaving for 2-4 days.
2. Hot Compresses: Have you ever seen a movie scene with an old time barbershop and wondered “gee, why are they putting a hot towel on the guy’s face after the shave?” It’s simple, heat helps to soothe the skin. When applied directly to existing razor bumps, they can help shrink them. Not too hot, remember extreme heat can cause further irritation.
3. Aloe Vera Cream: Aloe Vera is found in a variety of skin care products for the treatment of minor burns and irritations.
4. Hydrocortisone Cream: Available in any pharmacy, hydrocortisone cream is an anti-inflammatory and may lessen the appearance and length of razor burn irritations. It also helps to soothe the skin and relieve itching.
5. Ingrown Hair Serum: There are a variety of products formulated specifically for ingrown hairs. Art Naturals Ingrown Hair Aftershave is designed to treat, soothe, and even remove ingrown hairs. Continued use can even help prevent them from reappearing in the future. If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, it’s a must try.
In the end, you asked how long does razor burn last? As you can see, answering that question isn’t a simple task. The amount of time will ultimately come down to a combination of your skin and hair type as well as shaving style and products.
Before trying any new skin product such as creams or lotions, it’s always important to check the ingredients and spot test on a smaller area to make sure you aren’t allergic. In some cases, even seemingly mild products may cause irritation so trial and error may be in order.