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Shaving…….a necessary evil, right? Men and women alike spend a fair amount of time each week removing unwanted hair from their bodies. Men and women also spend just about as much time complaining about the time shaving takes, the frequency with which it has to be done, and most of all – the unwanted side effects such as bumps and chaffing. Although most people consider razor burn and razor bumps to be the same thing, they are actually different conditions. Razor burn is when your skin becomes irritated by shaving, whereas razor bumps are caused from ingrown hairs. Anybody can experience these conditions, but people who have curly and/or coarse hair tend to have a higher incidence of ingrown hairs. 

If you notice red bumps after shaving, it is your skin’s way of telling you that it is irritated and might require some preventative measures before your next shaving session. Razor bumps and razor burn can occur anywhere on your body that you shave. For men, they usually appear on the face and throat and for women the biggest problem tends to be in their more intimate areas. When you see red bumps on areas you’ve shaved it means your hair follicles are open and prone to infection. Ingrown hairs, on the other hand, can be caused from any form of hair removal such as shaving, waxing or plucking and occur when the hairs grow back in at an angle. If you have ingrown hairs, you’ll notice more of a rash and itchiness, which can sometimes cause your hair follicles to be infected.  

In the case of both razor bumps and razor burn, the best treatment is prevention. First, if the area you’re shaving has long hair be sure to trim it. This will allow a closer shave with a razor. Next, exfoliate your skin. This removes any dead skin cells and bacteria that might end up irritating your pores. Whenever you shave, regardless of the area on your body always use a lubricant such as a shaving lotion or gel. This will help the razor glide smoothly over the areas you’re shaving. Be sure to pick a quality razor blade as well. Make sure it’s clean and sharp, Many people prefer using a multi-blade razor for the closest, smoothest shave. Once you have trimmed, exfoliated, applied a lubricant and chosen a good razor, you are ready to shave. Technique is important in minimizing razor bumps and razor burns. Always shave in the direction of your hair growth. Keep in mind, this might change depending on the area of your body that you’re shaving. Additionally, rinse the razor after each stroke and be sure to use short, quick strokes. Over-shaving an area is one of the major causes of shaving irritation. Once you’re finished shaving, be sure to completely rinse any residual cream or gel off your skin so that it doesn’t irritate you. Completely clean and dry your razor and store it in a clean place until its next use.  

If you’ve taken the necessary precautions and are still experiencing irritation you can always apply a natural astringent such as apple cider vinegar or witch hazel to soothe your skin. A warm oatmeal bath will also calm any itching and/or redness. If you like to moisturize your skin after shaving, it’s best to choose a product that is fragrance free to reduce the chance of irritation. 

We know that these steps add a few more minutes to an already time-consuming chore, but we promise that the results will make you feel confident and bump free. 

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