How Does Razor Burn Occur?


Overview of Razor Burn

Skin that was gorgeous and smooth moments ago when you shaved suddenly becomes red and inflamed. And, it hurts. You are the unfortunate victim of razor burn. Razor burn can occur on the face, under the arms and even in your most tender bikini areas. Once you become familiar with how razor burn occurs, you can make sure to avoid it by practicing a few simple prevention techniques.

How Razor Burn Occurs

When the razor shaves the hair, it often leaves behind nicks, abrasion and redness. These areas of irritation are referred to as razor burn. Because the skin is a delicate organ, scraping it with a sharp object like a razor can cause damage, leading to the discomfort associated with razor burn.

Using excess pressure while shaving can cause razor burn, like trying to shave with a dull razor. Friction, or shaving is in the opposite direction of hair growth, can also cause bumps. Dirty razors sometimes play a role in razor burn, by allowing bacteria to irritate freshly shaved skin.

Associated closely with razor burn are razor bumps and ingrown hairs. The bumps occur when the hair is shaved at an angle, causing a sharp point to form. That point then pierces another hair follicle. Ingrown hairs occur in a similar fashion, except the hair re-enters the same follicle. Both razor bumps and ingrown hairs cause the body to attack the hair, leading to inflammation, pain and sometimes even infection.

Preventing Razor Burn

Razor burn doesn't always occur, but certain factors are likely to make it a sure thing. One is dry skin. In order to prevent that telltale post-shaving rash, try moisturizing your skin frequently and always use lubrication while shaving. Lubrication decreases the friction inherent in shaving, significantly minimizing the potential for skin irritation. Razors with lubricating strips are a good bet, or invest in some shaving gel. Also, too much pressure on the razor contributes to razor burn, so be gentle when you shave. Bacteria on the razor can be a a culprit as well, so make sure you either wash or toss razors frequently.

Finally, don't go against the grain. Shave your hair in the direction it grows. Shaving it the opposite way is a sure-fire way to give yourself a painful case of razor burn.

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