How to Avoid Razor Burn
(once and for all)

Posted at 11:00 • 11 May • Chelsea Batten

You’re on the home stretch of your morning shave when it hits you: that telltale tightness, that irritating itch. A glance at the mirror confirms it: a red patch of skin illuminating your face like hazard lights on a dark road. Kiss that baby-soft mug goodbye, pal.
You’ve got razor burn.

When Follicles Fight Back

We’d love to tell you that razor burn is mainly a problem for men with sensitive skin, who simply can’t handle the rugged embrace of a sharp blade. But in fact, razor burn is an equal opportunity offender. Sure, inherited traits like sensitive or dry skin, coarse or curly hair, or just “a genetic predisposition” (airquotes intended) can make razor burn more frequent or more severe. But as any dermatologist worth their salt will tell you, razor burn is the natural outcome of stressing the skin by scraping a sharp blade against it.
At the milder end of the spectrum, shaving causes microscopic cracks in your epidermis, leading to inflammation, increased sensitivity, and a prematurely aged appearance. Severe results include ingrown hairs (caused by twisting and pulling on the hair follicles), skin abscesses, even bacterial infection.


Somewhere in the middle, you’ve got razor burn and its cousin, razor bumps (clinically known as pseudofolliculitis barbae), a patch of white bumps easily mistaken for acne.

I’m a grown man who hasn’t mastered this whole facial grooming thing.”

Both conditions are like a glowing neon arrow saying, “I’m a grown man who hasn’t mastered this whole facial grooming thing.”

Take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. A by the International Dermal Institute reports that 79 percent of men experience one or more noticeable skin problem(s) on a daily basis. But if you’re ready to make razor burn a thing of the past, you’ve got 3 options:

1.- Baby Your Face

Shave with excess oil or dead skin clinging to your face, and you'll be lucky if razor burn is all you end up with. So before you even think about opening up that razor, slap some hydrating product to keep that mug clean, smooth and supple. A good follow-up moisturizer and a once-weekly exfoliating treatment will seal the deal.

2.- Go Full Caesar

If you’re one of those guys with a seeming inability to grow facial hair, you can make like the ancient Romans and attack that peach fuzz with a pair of tweezers. …And by “you,” we mean definitely not you. Depending on how the root network of your facial hair is laid out, a little too much torque in your tweeze could seriously injure your face or even cause infection. Be smart and pay a professional plucker (i.e., an aesthetician) instead.

3.- Eighty-Six the Shave

The best way to avoid the hazards of razor burn is to…wait for it…not shave.

Settle down; we’re not advocating for an “all men all beards” thing. If you or the special someone in your life prefer to see as much of your handsome face as possible, but you’re tired of the razor burn runaround, make the switch from shaving to trimming.

While shaving uses a single blade to remove all hair from the skin, trimming uses two blades to cut that hair as close to the skin as possible without entirely removing it. In fact, the trimmers of today can bring that facial hair so tight to your face that it looks more like contouring than stubble, and yields a softer, more touchable look.

So how low can you go? Most standard trimmers cut the hair to 1mm, which yields a pretty nice silhouette. That said, we’ve just debuted a trimmer that goes as deep as 0.2mm, offering a clean-shaven look from a distance, but offering a hint of your face’s softer side as you get close.

Treating Razor Burn

If you’ve suffered from razor burn, you know that the only thing worse than how it looks and feels is how long it takes to get rid of. Your best bet is to get an ice pack on it immediately—cold will help shrink the pores and soothe the irritation. You can also apply a soothing topical like aloe vera (or, for more severe cases, a medicated creams) throughout the day. A good moisturizer like coconut or jojoba oil will help restore your skin’s balance and smooth out rough patches, but don’t go too heavy-handed or you could trigger a breakout.

After that, there’s nothing to do but wait. Depending on the severity, your razor burn could last anywhere from a few hours to a few days—keep applying those treatments every couple hours to help the healing process along. And it goes without saying that you’re better off avoiding another close shave until your razor burn has healed completely. Which, come to think of it, makes a perfect opportunity to give trimming a try. No hours of pre- and post-shave regimen. No regrown follicles rearing their spiky heads after a few hours.
And no more razor burn.

You’re welcome.

May 11, 2022 — Chelsea Batten

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