Preventing, treating & curing: Razor burn, redness, shaving irritation, bumps & ingrown hairs

One of the more frequent questions we receive for the Ask Aaron articles is with shaving blemishes and problems affecting the skin. Many complain of razor burn, redness, irritation, bumps, ingrown hairs and many other maladies. These issues can make shaving difficult at best and painful at worst! Thankfully there are many solutions to these problems to offer relief!

burn2 Preventing, treating & curing: Razor burn, redness, shaving irritation, bumps & ingrown hairs

Razor rash is a problem for many men around the world

First let us deal with what is the most frequent complaint, razor burn. Razor burn is usually a redness soreness, or inflammation of the skin. These conditions are cause by the blade scraping against the skin removing the top layers of epidermis. To ease the inflammation and burn, if possible, give your face several days rest from shaving. Apply a moisturizing after shave balm such as Proraso, The Bluebeards, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Men-U, Castle Forbes, and E-shave to aid in helping the skin to heal. Use as little pressure as possible while shaving. If you are shaving with a double-edge razor make sure the angle of the razor is around thirty degrees, and you keep your wrist locked using your whole arm for the movement instead.

Ingrown hairs are less common than razor burn, but the more painful affliction shavers complain about. With an ingrown hair the hair grows under the surface of the skin causing damage, spots, and sometimes infection. The human hair has the same hardness as copper wire of the same diameter, so no wonder it hurts as a freshly cut hair grows and digs under the skin! If you currently have ingrown hairs avoid shaving the area for a few days and use a gentle scrub to bring the hair up to the skin’s surface. You can also use an old, clean toothbrush to brush at the hair and pull it to the surface as well. Keep the area well moisturized with lotion or balm to aid the healing process. Another remedy is crushing and creating a simple paste out of an aspirin or vitamin C. Applying the paste to the affected area helps to apply the healing acids in the aspirin and vitamin C and gives some pain relief as well.

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To prevent ingrown hairs avoid shaving against the direction of hair growth

To prevent ingrown hairs avoid shaving against the direction of hair growth, especially if your hair grows closely parallel to the surface of the skin. Also consider using a razor that has as few blades as possible to shave with. Modern cartridge razors work on the principal of the first blade pulling the first hair up, the following blades cutting the hair, and the cut hair settling back down under the surface of the skin. With the freshly cut and sharp hair this is an immediate setup for an ingrown hair, especially if you already have trouble with them or have very curly hair.

“Masking” or a discoloration of the shaved area of skin is a malady that can be caused by poor technique or product, too much pressure, an allergic reaction to a certain ingredient (lime and sandalwood essential oils, or preservatives being the most common irritants), or a variety of other common factors. As with other troubles examine razor angle and technique, use a healing ski food or balm, and if possible allow the skin to rest for several days before shaving again.

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Dumping the multi-bladed cartridge razor and investing in a DE safety razor can help to improve the quality of a shave

If you use a multi-bladed cartridge razor and are experiencing these or other skin problems, try a transition to a double edge razor. Many of the men we have corresponded with experience an alleviation of symptoms after switching. If your symptoms persist after trying the solutions above or worsen consider a consultation with your doctor or dermatologist as there may be underlying issues that may need addressing. We hope that if you are experiencing some of the problems above that you can find some relief in this advice soon! As always we wish you smooth and happy shaving!

Shaving is no longer a chore – How double edge shaving turned a daily chore into a daily pleasure

February 22, 2013 · Posted in Double Edge Shaving · Comment 

For many men around the world shaving is regarded as a daily, but necessary chore. You reach in the cabinet for your multi-bladed cartridge razor and foam or gel and shave the way you always have. You finish, rinse of your face and then clean your razor.

This was also the case for Christopher Maguire, who hated shaving so much that he only shaved once a week, sometimes only once a fortnight. But Christopher’s mindset changed overnight after he was introduced to the wonderful world of double edge shaving. Chris now looks forward to his daily shave, and wants more men to follow his lead and dump the multi-bladed cartridge razor and embrace the world of double edge shaving.

chris1 Shaving is no longer a chore – How double edge shaving turned a daily chore into a daily pleasure

Chris making a luxurious lather

Here is Chris’ story:

I stumbled into the world of wet shaving by accident, it started because by girlfriend bought me a shaving kit for Christmas. It didn’t come with a razor but it did have a shaving brush, shaving cream and a bowl to lather the cream. Seeing the brush took me back to when I was a little boy when I used to see my grandad shave with a brush, soap and a double edged razor.

That morning I used the brush and soap and had the most enjoyable shave since I first picked up a razor.
The following days I did more research into wet shaving. Learning that if you have sensitive skin, suffer from razor burn or ingrown hairs, a double edged razor can significantly help to reduce these problems. Partly due to exfoliating with the brush and also by using a single blade, so less passes are made and thus reducing irritation.

chris2 Shaving is no longer a chore – How double edge shaving turned a daily chore into a daily pleasure

Chris gets to work on the shave

I suffer from really bad shaving rash on my neck which a lot of the time come out in spots, also I seemed the get ingrown hairs on my cheeks quite often which turned into boils. This made me not shave quite as much as I should, much to the disappointment of my girlfriend. Luckily I don’t have to be clean shaven for my job so I only shaved once a week, some times once every 2 weeks.

Another reason this type of shaving appealed to me was the price of cartridge razors. At least ten pounds for 4 cartridges compared to 3 pounds on 10 blades. Which is a problem when money is tight at times due to me being a part-time student and my girlfriend being at university, so often I would use blunted blades causing a painful rash on my neck.

After doing a fair bit of research I bought a Merkur 33c. When it arrived I used it straight away. I was a bit nervous at first, mainly because I didn’t want to cut my face to bits. It took me about 10-15 mins the first time and I couldn’t get over how close of a shave it was. I did have a couple of nicks but practice is all it takes to find a technique. Turns out I really enjoy shaving and do it more often, without the rash or ingrown hairs.

I’m glad i found this type of shaving as it will save me lots of money in the long run but also because it seems to have turned into a new hobby of mine. I now look forward to shaving, which is quite strange for me.

Do you have a wet shaving story to tell the world? If you would like see your article posted on The Shaving Shack Blog, email nick@shaving-shack.com.

Ask Aaron Q/A: Redness & rash around goatee after shaving

March 28, 2012 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Razor burn, rash & bumps, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: Redness & rash around goatee after shaving

Aaron is asked to provide tips on how to reduce shaving rash around the goatee area after shaving

David Prest, from UK, asks:

“I have a goatee and when I shape it with my razor I end up with red areas and small red spots around the edges of the beard. I try to be very gentle with my razor (single blade) but still get the red areas and small red spots. What advice would you give me? Many thanks. David”

goatee 150x150 Ask Aaron Q/A: Redness & rash around goatee after shaving

Some very nice facial fuzz!!!

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Prest,

I too have a goatee, and feel your concern over keeping it nicely shaped and having healthy skin around it. I would recommend making sure you are shaving with shaving cream applied, don’t shave without the lubrication it provides! Also you might want to look into using a shaving oil instead of the lather to be able to see more clearly and still have lubrication.

Also make sure you are properly preparing your beard area to shave, and properly restoring your skin with a good aftershave balm. Following these techniques will help improve your shave and your skin.

If you continue to have redness & bumps please write again and we will troubleshoot some more!

Cheers,
Aaron”

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CLICK HERE TO ASK AARON YOUR QUESTION

Ask Aaron Q/A: Products to fight razor rash & burn & shaving spots

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: Products to fight razor rash & burn & shaving spots

David Mahood, from UK, asks:

“I have just found this site. I am a professional person and need to shave once, maybe twice each day. I currently use Mach3 blades and sensitive shaving foam or gel. My problem is that I suffer really bad redness around the mouth and chin which quite often results in spots after close shaves. Can you recommend any products that will help or relieve my symptoms?”

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Aaron suggests using a single bladed razor like the Merkur 37C Slant Bar DE Safety Razor

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Mahood,

Welcome to our site! Glad that you have been able to find us. As one who also works in a professional environment, I understand your dilemma. The first thing I would recommend is using a good post-shave balm. The ingredients in the balm will help to moisturize and heal your skin after shaving, and reduce the redness and burn.

Secondly you ought to try a pre-shave oil under your shave cream. The oil adds an extra protective layer that increases slickness and moisture to your shave.

If you are willing to go even farther down the rabbit hole I would suggest that you reduce the number of blades you shave with, and consider using a single blade safety razor such as many of the Merkur, Edwin Jagger, Parker, and Bluebeard’s razors we have here on the site. Along with this I would use a good quality cream and brush. These products are meant to give a comfortable and close shave without the irritation that occur by using the canned cream and gel products.

For creams I would recommends any Taylor of Old Bond Street, The Bluebeard’s Revenge, Proraso, Cyril Salter and many others here on the site. If you would like any more assistance or help in taking the plunge with traditional wet-shaving please feel free to contact us here and we’ll be glad to help! Thanks for your question!

Smooth Shaving!
Aaron”

Do you have any burning questions you would like ask our wet shaving expert Aaron Wolfenbarger?

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Ask Aaron Q/A: How to prevent ingrown hairs & razor bumps

October 28, 2011 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: How to prevent ingrown hairs & razor bumps

James Chapman, from the UK, asks:

“For pretty much all of my life I have suffered from ingrowing hairs, razor rash and razor burn. I have originally twin blade razors, then Mach 3 and finally Fusion razors. My condition has got progressively worse, to the point where the razor burn has become both embarrassing and intrusive. I have tried a safety razor, for short spells, but again have suffered from razor burn, and so have returned to multi-blades. Any advice would be gratefully received.”

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Ingrown hairs are a common problem

AARON SAYS

“Mr Camp,
Ingrown hairs can be quite painful, let’s see what we can do to help. First off if you can tell that the ingrown hairs get worse as you move up in blade count, I think it’s safe to assume that you need as few blades as possible in your razor. My first question would be how long did you shave with the DE Razor? It takes a few weeks for your skin and technique to get used to shaving with a single blade. Use a good sharp blade, and dull blade or one that is not the right type for your skin and hair can increase problems with ingrown hair. Next is to use a good facial scrub to cleanse the face and reveal any ingrown hairs. Lastly use a good aftershave balm that will soften and moisturize your skin. You should find that these tips should help your irritations. Please let me know if I can help any more!

Smooth Shaving!

Aaron”

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How to get rid of razor bumps, razor burn & razor rash

October 21, 2011 · Posted in Razor burn, rash & bumps, Shaving Tips · Comment 

Many men suffer from shaving related irritation. Whether it appears in the form of razor burn, bumps, rash, or red patchiness these symptoms are unsightly and definitely uncomfortable. Often these symptoms are just put up with as normal or even ignored.

However, there are some simple steps that can be followed for relief. If you follow these tips below you’ll find yourself feeling and looking better than ever.

valet sacha harding 300x177 How to get rid of razor bumps, razor burn & razor rash

¨ Use a good quality shaving cream that can be applied with a shaving brush such as The Bluebeards Revenge

¨ Before you shave prepare your skin. If at all possible shower beforehand but if that is not possible wash your skin with a gentle face wash or scrub.

¨ Once you step out of the shower or finish washing apply a small amount of pre-shave oil over the beard area. This will insure that your face and hair will continue to be hydrated before and during the shave.

¨ Use a good quality shaving cream that can be applied with a shaving brush such as The Bluebeards Revenge, Truefitt & Hill, Taylor of Old Bond Street or Geo. F. Trumpers. Specially formulated to be gentle to the skin and safe for the environment, these creams also contain no propellants that can actually dry out the skin and cause irritation.

¨ Very importantly use a clean sharp razor blade, if you use a dull blade it can lead to pulling, excessive pressure, irritation and razor burn!

¨ Last but certainly not least finish off with a good quality aftershave balm. The balm will nourish, protect and hydrate the skin keeping it safe from outside irritants plus reducing or eliminating any affects from the shave.

If nothing else remember these three easy words: Prepare, Shave, Protect. These three words can easily summarize the above steps and can lead to you that smooth, irritation free shave.

Aaron Wolfenbarger
The Shaving Shack’s Grooming Expert
Shaving-Shack.com

Ask Aaron Q/A: Oily skin and spots after shaving

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: Oily skin and spots after shaving

Jason Hearne, from the UK, asks:

“I’m about to switch to DE shaving and have now set my heart on the Merkur HD as my first step away from 5 blade plastic monsters. My question though is about my skin type. At 30 I still suffer from oily teenage skin that’s prone to clogged pores and spots (if I don’t shave regularly). What I wanted to know was what is likely to be the best soap/cream for my shave and what balms you’d suggest to keep the grease away post shave? Here’s hoping you can help. :)”

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The Bluebeards Revenge Post Shave Balm (100ml)

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Hearne,
The first thing I would suggest is to use a daily cleanser/face wash. This will help you to remove the excess oils that our skin can produce and also eliminate dirt, which can cause the acne and blackheads. Using a cleanser consistently will help PRE-shave. For the shave itself most available soaps and creams will do just, fine just avoid products containing lanolin. Lanolin can aggravate some skin types. For a POST-shave solution use a light balm (some being The Bluebeard’s Revenge, Taylor of Old Bond Street, and Proraso). You can also lighten a balm by keeping your face moist after rinsing and applying a small amount of the balm. This helps thin and spread the balm. I hope this helps!
Smooth Shaving (and skin!)
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: I Always Get A Red Neck After Shaving

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: I Always Get A Red Neck After Shaving

Peter Ford, from the UK, asks:

“I use a Mekur safety razor with Gillette 7 o’clock blades and Cyril Salter cream, I always shower 1st and shave straight after using warm water. I always have to shave against the grain on the 2nd or 3rd lather to get even close to a close shave, but this is leaving me with permanent red neck and cheeks. Is there anything I can do or any pre or post shave products that will get rid of this?”

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Taylor of Old Bond Mr Taylors Aftershave Balm (75ml)

AARON SAYS

“Mr Ford,
Thanks for your question! Before I recommend some post-shave products let me first say that using good prep is the first step in getting great shaving results. Be sure to use good technique and hold the razor at a proper angle. My first thought is that you might want to try a few different brands of blades, the 7′oclock may not be the best for you. If you have done this and have found that the this blade is good for you, use a replenishing aftershave balm. One that moisturizes and restores the face’s natural oils and helps to heal any nicks and cuts is ideal. The Bluebeards Revenge, Proraso and Taylor of Old Bond Street balms/balsams you will find on the Shaving Shack shop are all great choices for this. I hope this helps! If you continue to experience problems please write in again and we’ll revisit the issue!

Smooth Shaving!
Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q/A: Preventing razor burn & razor bumps

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q/A: Preventing razor burn & razor bumps

Matt Herridge, from the UK, asks:

“Hi there, I’ve recently started shaving with a DE razor, I always get a very good close shave with no irritation, nicks or cuts even after shaving against the grain which I often have to do as I am in the British army, until the day after, that’s when I wake up with red bumps and very tender feeling skin especially under and on the front of my chin and my neck. My cheeks and top lip stay fine, any help would be greatly appreciated.”

AARON SAYS

“Mr Herridge,
It sounds as if you’re getting some razor burn and bumps. I would suggest paying very close attention to your razor angle, and making sure it’s not too shallow on your face. Also, try some stretching techniques to flatten and smooth those areas. This should greatly help! Also, use a nice soothing aftershave balm to help calm the areas, and a lotion or moisturizer before bed.

Smooth shaving!

Aaron”

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Ask Aaron Q&A: Should you ever have a days rest from shaving to give the skin time to recover?

February 25, 2011 · Posted in Ask Aaron Q & A, Shaving Tips · Comment 

ask aaron 420 Ask Aaron Q&A: Should you ever have a days rest from shaving to give the skin time to recover?

“Should you ever have a days rest from shaving to give the skin time to recover, from being over shaved?” asks David Parker, from the UK.

AARON SAYS

“Mr. Parker, Thank you for your question! In short, yes! If your skin is burned and irritated from an overly aggressive or bad shave experience I certainly recommend giving it time to rest, regenerate and heal. I don’t think it’s necessary to rest the skin if you are not experiencing problems, but certainly do give it some time to rest if you are experiencing discomfort.

Smooth Shaving! Aaron”

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