Nothing feels better than a smooth clean shave, right? But unfortunately, most of you guys know that it's all too easy to get the dreaded "razor burn", which not only makes your skin feel itchy and stingy, but makes it look a bit worse for wear too.
What is razor burn and how do we get it?
First of all let's get it straight - a razor burn can be defined as a skin irritation that happens soon after an area has been shaved. It most commonly occurs in men who shave their faces frequently, but it can also occur in women as well. The most obvious sign of razor burn is a burning sensation which can appear as a red rash. It can often be itchy and swollen, too.
Shaving can remove up to two layers of skin. Once again gentlemen, ladies would be quite jealous of you here, since we spend copious amounts of money on exfoliating products and treatments, and you get rid of the dead skin cells (which is key to healthy fresh skin) every other day when you shave!
The most important thing you need to remember is that shaving not only affects the hair, but also your skin. There are a few necessary steps to take to ensure you avoid the dreaded razor burn.
Steps to prevent razor burn
First of all, if you are currently have razor burn, make sure to give your skin a rest for a couple of days. Avoid shaving to cause any further irritation. Once your skin irritation calms down follow the easy (but very important!!) steps below to avoid it in the future.
1. Take a hot shower
Hot water helps to soften both your skin and hair, helping to reduce tension as your razor blades cut through scruff. Make sure you leave your facial hair thoroughly wet. If there is no shower available, then wash your face and then apply a warm moistened towel to your face.
2. Use a quality shaving cream
Don't be lazy about this one. Remember that a dry shave increases the livelihood of ingrown hairs, razor bumps and irritation. It is worth investing in a good shaving cream. The less "foaming" in a shaving cream, the better. Ideally the shaving cream should create a thick even lather across your face. It is also advised to leave the cream on for a minute or 2 before you start shaving, to ensure that your facial hair is thoroughly moistened, and there is enough lubrication for your razor to glide smoothly.
3. Replace your razor
We know it's sometimes hard to say goodbye...but it's time to move on! If there is any minor tugging felt during shaving that probably means it is time to replace your blades. On average razor blades should be replaced every 5-7 shaves. It might seem like a waste, but dull razor blades are the main reason for razor burn and shaving rash, as it causes tiny tears in your skin.
4. Shave according to hair thickness
Leave the thickest hairs the longest amount of time to moisten under the shaving gel. Usually this would involve starting with the sides of your beard, moving on to your neck, then your chin, and leaving the moustache for last.
5. Go with the flow
Rule number one: shave in the direction the hair grows. Although shaving "against the grain" can give you a closer shave, it is also one of the main factors that causes irritation, razor burn and shaving rash. It can also cut the hair below the skin surface, causing ingrown hairs.
6. Less pressure
You don't have to apply pressure for a good shave. Opt for shorter strokes and less pressure to reduce skin irritation.
7. Don't forget to rinse
This is important. Rinse your razor in hot water every 2-3 strokes. This has nothing to do with "killing bacteria". Hot water helps get rid of the cream and stubble blocking the blades and increase lubrication. Don't tap the razor on the sink, as this can damage the blades.
After you're done make sure to thoroughly rinse your razor before you put it away.
You're not finished yet.
Once you've finished shaving, make sure to cleanse your face (preferably with a cleanser that has natural anti-septic ingredients, such as tea tree oil), rinse it with warm water, and then rinse it with cold water, to help your pores close. Then pat your skin dry (don't rub!).
Last, but not least, moisturise. Shaving takes off 2 layers of your skin, so it's important to soothe the skin with a good quality moisturiser. You might chose to use the Sidekick Day Cream as it moisturises while soothing irritation.
It is an ideal way to replace lost moisture and soothe the skin. Quick and easy to apply, this is product will leave your skin soft (without it looking greasy) and will help calm the skin. The hero ingredient silica is also known to have natural anti-inflammatory benefits, helping reduce the after-shave redness of the skin.
Happy shaving gentlemen!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.