6 Reasons Why You're Getting Razor Burn (and How to Stop it)

Do you ever want to go completely shaven but don’t because of razor burn? If so, you’re not alone. Razor burn is something that affects a number of men. Sometimes it’s the texture of your hair that’s causing those unwanted bumps, and in other cases, guys get razor burn from poor shaving techniques. Either way, having irritated, bumpy skin is not only unflattering, it’s also uncomfortable.

Here are some reasons why your razor is irritating your skin, as well as various ways to prevent it from happening in the future.

Reason: You’re shaving with a dull razor

Even if you use the best razor on the market, the act of shaving can still put unwanted stress on your skin. But when you throw a dull razor into the mix, you end up giving your skin the harshest treatment possible. That’s because dull razors don’t shave nearly as effectively as they should. What you would normally achieve in one gentle stroke now requires three or four strokes, and that adds excessive stress on your face. Have you ever shaved with a dull or cheap razor and felt like your face was just a little sore? It’s because taking those extra strokes caused micro-abrasions in your skin. Over time, these tiny abrasions can become irritated or infected, causing your skin to develop razor burn in the form of rashes and bumps.

Solution: Stop shaving with cheap razors. Ideally, you don’t want to ever shave with one of those dollar store disposable razors. But if you have to, then never use it more than once.

You should also pay attention to how effective your razor is working while you shave. If you find yourself going over the same area in hopes of getting those stubborn hairs, your razor is probably past its expiration date.

Reason: Your razor is dirty

Regardless of where you’re shaving on your body, hygiene should be your topmost priority. And shaving with a dirty razor is about unhygienic as you can get when it comes to grooming. Every time you drag that razor blade across your face, you’re transmitting bacteria from the blade onto your skin. If you happen to nick yourself, those bacteria can get into the cut and cause further irritation or infections.

Solution: There’s really no way you can stop bacteria from forming on your razor blade, but you can limit how dirty it gets by storing it in dry space with plenty of ventilation. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, and keeping your razor dry helps to prevent bacteria from building up on your blades. So think twice before you leave your razor on that wet sink or toss it into a toiletry bag.

Once your razor has dried out, you want to put it back in the plastic blade cover it came in. This also helps protect your razor from rust and bacteria. Also, make sure to change blades after seven or eight shaves.

Reason: You’re shaving dirty skin

Your skin carries all of the oil, dirt, and grime that you’ve accumulated throughout the day. If you don’t wash your face before you shave, you’re placing your skin at risk of becoming infected. Moreover, all of this buildup can actually cause unnecessary friction, making it harder for the razor to work effectively.

Solution: Wash your face before you shave and never try to shave on dry skin.

Reason: Your hair texture is causing it

Do you have curly, coarse hair? If so, your hair texture could be part of the reason you experience razor burn. Sometimes curly hair doesn’t grow completely outward like straight hair does. Instead, it loops back and grows inside the skin, never fully breaking the surface. This causes ingrown hairs to form, which explains for all the bumps that you may experience after shaving.

Researchers have found that approximately 50% of African Americans experience this at some level.

Solution: In clinical trials, topical ointments containing glycolic acid were seen to be effective at removing any bumps and rashes caused by ingrown hair, and there are a number of over-the-counter products designed for treating razor burn that contains this substance. But what about preventing it from happening in the future?

There are a number of different products on the market that are designed to prevent this from happening. Simply apply a hot washcloth to your face for a few minutes, use the pre-shave solution, and then shave normally. Don’t forget to use shaving cream after you use the solution. But if that doesn’t work, you might want to consider switching to an electric razor.

Reason: You have dry skin

Taking a razor to dry skin will only exacerbate the dryness symptoms that you’re already experiencing. This can leave you with an itchy, red-colored patch of skin that’s as uncomfortable as it is unflattering.

Solution: Buy moisturizer for your face (or body, depending on what you’re shaving) and apply it regularly. Even when you take shaving out of the equation, dry skin is something that you want to avoid.

Reason: You’re shaving against the grain

Did you ever finish shaving only to feel like your entire face was on fire? If so, you probably shaved against the grain. In other words, you were pulling your razor in the direction opposite of how the hair grows. Shaving against the grain creates unnecessary friction and stress as each swipe of the razor roughly pulls your hair, leaving you with a sensitive, red patch of irritated skin.

Solution: Take your time and shave gently, with the direction your hair grows.

Getting a Comfortable Shave Every Time

The best way to reduce razor burn is to take your time and not rush through the process. You are dragging an incredibly sharp metal object across your skin, after all. You might also want to look into some of the premium razors sold at men’s stores and specialty shops. While the initial cost of these razors can range anywhere from $50 to $100 dollars, they’re known to give a better shave provided you change the blades frequently.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.