How to get rid of shaving rash is the million dollar question. You are in luck, we have the answer. Shaving with a razor is a quick, cheap and efficient way of banishing unwanted hair, but it occasionally comes with an unwanted side effect: shaving rash. A flare-up can be painful and irritating, and on a vainer note, it doesn’t look all that great either, with symptoms spanning redness, itchiness, swelling, tenderness, a burning sensation and small red bumps.
Don’t just resign yourself to a raw face, or chest, or wherever else you’re shaving (no judgements here), because there are ways to stop shaving rash in its tracks. Whether it’s adjusting your shaving tekkers, incorporating skin-friendly products or upgrading your razor, we consulted grooming experts for tips to ensure your smoothest shave yet.
What Causes Shaving Rash?
Shaving rash occurs when your razor blade damages your skin and hair follicles, causing them to become inflamed (or worse, infected). So when shaving rash strikes, the first thing you should do is examine the razor, explains Sait Koca, head barber at Adam Grooming. “If it’s old and used, it can often result in shaving rash as the razor blade will be dull,” he says.
If you’ve recently replaced your blade, it’s time to scrutinise your technique. Have you adopted a one-size-fits-all approach to de-fluffing your face? Now’s the time to drop that habit. “If you shave against the grain, this can result in shaving rash as the blade tugs against the hair, pulling it away from the skin and damaging hair follicles,” says Koca. “It’s best to shave in the direction the hair grows.”
And finally, there’s the contents of your bathroom cabinet – and, more importantly, whether they make it onto your face. “If you haven’t prepped the skin properly with a moisturiser or used enough soap, pre-shave, to soften the hair and skin, this can result in shaving rash and irritation,” he adds.
13 Ways to Get Rid Of Shaving Rash
Ultimately you’re looking to prevent shaving rash from ever gracing your face, and that process starts before you pick up the razor. Better yet, you’ll get a far closer shave, and your skin will be all the healthier for it. Pay attention, gents – this is your new pre-shave ritual.
1) Get Wet
The most opportune time to shave, Koca says, is when you’re fresh out the shower. “Your pores will be open and your hairs will be softer, which will result in a smoother shave,” he explains.
2) Shed the Dead
If exfoliating isn’t part of your regular grooming routine, now’s the time to start. Two to three times per week is the optimum amount to keep your skin healthy. Just don’t scrub too hard or you’ll strip out important oils.
3) Lather Up
Apply shaving cream before you start to soften both bristle and skin, Koca says. The blade will glide over your skin, minimising irritation and therefore the risk of shaving rash.
4) Brush It Off
Where possible, use a shaving brush to comb product through the hair, Koca says. “This will lift the stubble and separate the hairs, making it easier to get a clean and close shave.” This ensures a more thorough and even distribution, too.
5) Go Easy
Take care not to apply too much pressure and keep strokes short. If your blade is sharp enough and you’ve got enough product on your face, you won’t need to ‘lean’ on the blade.
6) Let It Go
Don’t keep going over the same area – over-shaving can easily result in shaving rash. Take your time and rinse the blade after every stroke.
7) Chill Out
Shaving is only half the job. Once you’ve decorated the sink, indulge in a little pre-emptive aftercare. Use cold water to soothe any bleeding and initial irritation and to help close the pores, says Koca.
8) Go Balmy
Apply a high quality moisturiser and soothing shaving balm, Koca suggests. “The shaving balm will help to refresh and repair the irritated skin, in turn helping prevent shaving rash.”
9) Swerve the Scent
Your skin is feeling sensitive having had a razor repeatedly dragged across it, so avoid using anything perfumed immediately after you shave, says Koca.
10) Fix Up Look Sharp
Keeping your razor blade sharp is crucial for a consistent, friction-free shave, so change it regularly.
Treat the skin with a disinfectant after every shave to avoid infected hair follicles making their presence known. High quality aftershaves contain disinfectant, so apply liberally afterwards. Yes, it stings. Be brave.
12) Sterilise It
Razors rarely leave damp bathrooms – a breeding ground for bacteria. Fail to keep your kit clean and the same germs will spread onto your skin, increasing the risk of infection, so rinse and dry them after every use.
13) Let It Breathe
Whatever body part you happen to be shaving, avoiding wearing tight clothing or anything restrictive immediately afterwards, as this can irritate the skin. No balaclavas.
Blessure Serum Skincare For Razor Bumps
How to Get Rid of Shaving Rash
And if you’re already feeling the burn? For cheap, free, instant relief, run a washcloth under the cold tap and hold it to your face for 15 to 20 minutes.
Your skin will repair the damage naturally, but to speed the process along, opt for shaving balm or moisturiser, says Koca, which will help to soothe and condition the skin. If it’s really bad, an over-the-counter antibiotic cream will help, but speak to your pharmacist first.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, shaving over existing shaving rash will only make the situation worse. Plus, you risk nicking the existing bumps, which can lead to more infection and potentially scarring. So put that razor down. In fact, avoid touching the area completely and give your skin the chance to heal.
“We recommend letting your skin rest before shaving again, as this will irritate the skin further,” Koca explains. “If you shave regularly, try using a clipper for the next couple of shaves to allow your skin to rest and recover before going back to a razor blade.”