In English, skin irritation after shaving called “razor burn”. The symptoms are really similar to a burn: the skin turns red, itches, swells, and hurts when touched. In addition, a distinct red rash may appear on it.

See what it looks like after shaving


Why does shaving irritate

Experts of the American medical resource KidsHealth called seven main reasons:

  1. You do not wash your face with warm water before the procedure.
  2. You forget to use shaving gel or cream.
  3. You have a dull shave.
  4. You are pushing too hard on the machine.
  5. You shave in the opposite direction of hair growth.
  6. You use inappropriate cosmetics, to which your skin reacts with irritation. For example, it could be a scented aftershave.
  7. You shave too often.

How to shave to avoid irritation

Steam your skin first

For example, take a hot shower or dip your face in warm water. This is an important point: thanks to heat and moisture, the skin becomes more elastic and elastic, and the bristles soften and are easier to machine. If you are not prepared, you will have to put in more effort to shave, and the risk of accidentally damaging the cover will increase.

Always use shaving cream or gel

These tools are designed to make the blade slide more easily over the skin and injure it less. In addition, creams and gels moisturize and soothe the epidermis, further reducing the risk of irritation.

If there is no special cosmetics for shaving at hand, it can be replaced with ordinary soap foam. Just do not forget to immediately apply a moisturizer to the skin after the procedure.

Replace the blade with a new one

If you have used the machine several times, it has probably lost its sharpness. This manifests itself clearly: if at first it was enough to make one movement to cut off all the hairs, then a tired blade has to actively crawl over the skin – otherwise poorly shaved areas remain. In addition, older razors slip worse. As a result, you rub the skin.

There are no strict standards on how often blades should be changed. Focus on your own feelings when shaving, the condition of the cutting plate (it’s definitely time to throw it away if it has a coating or rust) and recommendations given by razor manufacturers:

  • If you shave daily, change your blade every 1-2 weeks.
  • every other day – every 2-3 weeks;
  • a couple of times a week – every 4-6 weeks.

And just in case, we remind you: if you buy disposable machines, use them exactly once. No more.

Do not press the machine into the skin

The temptation to press on the razor is when it is dull. In this case, you are deliberately rough in order to accurately cut off all the hairs.

But if the blade is sharp, with great diligence, it will shave off the stubble along with the upper layer of the epidermis. This can lead not only to irritation, but also to inflammation of the damaged areas: this is how red pimples appear on freshly shaved skin.

Be aware of the consequences and try to make light, gentle movements so as not to injure the skin.

Don’t shave against the grain

When you pull the blade in the opposite direction of the growth of the bristles, you are roughly pulling on the hairs. This leads to skin irritation. It will be the stronger, the more sharply and hastily you worked with the machine.

Therefore, move the razor slowly and carefully in the direction in which your hair grows.

Shave only when you really need to.

The procedure only makes sense if the hair has grown back. Otherwise, the operation of the machine will only lead to skin irritation.

What to do if irritation after shaving still appears

The algorithm of actions is the same as with any other small burn, such as a sunburn.

  1. Cool your skin. You can simply wash your face with cool water or apply a cold compress – a wet cloth.
  2. Moisturize the treated area. Apply a moisturizing cream or aftershave gel to the cooled skin. These products contain ingredients that, among other things, reduce irritation.
  3. Wait. Skin needs time to heal. It could be a few hours or a couple of days. Don’t shave again until the irritation has gone.

This article was first published in July 2017. In October 2021, we updated the text.