A brief guide to deal with shaving rash

For many people shaving is a routine habit that leaves their face, legs and other parts of the body looking clean and soft. Yet, for many others, shaving is not quite as smooth and pleasant. Shaving can cause shaving rash that lasts for days, leaving the skin sensitive to the touch or painful from visible breaks. But, what exactly is shaving rash and how do you deal with it?

About shaving rash

Shaving rash, also known as shaving bumps, razor bumps or pseudofolliculitis barbae, occurs when recently shaved hair grows back into the skin to become an ingrown hair. It is different from the “razor burn” or mild skin irritation that is caused by shaving with insufficient shaving cream or moisturiser or by the use of a dull razor.

Shaving rash manifests as painful lesions that have a higher degree of irritation and discomfort than razor burn. The rash will often appear on the legs, underarms, face and along the bikini line. If unattended, shaving rash can lead to scarring. It is, therefore, important that you try to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Tips to prevent shaving rash from occurring

There are different ways you can prevent shaving rash from occurring:

1. Use enough shaving gel, moisturizers or oil and a gentle scrub to thoroughly wet and get hair pointing in the right direction before you begin to shave.

2. Shave hair in the direction that the hair grows naturally to prevent chances of in grown hair ocuring.

3. Shave hair just above the skin using an ordinary single-blade razor. Double-blade or triple-blade razors tend to give too close a shave that can lead to shaving rash.

Basic tips to treat shaving rash

If shaving rash has occurred, stop shaving and inspect the affected area with a magnifying glass or mirror. Look for hairs curling inwards, as well as traces of redness and tiny, yellow pustules around the tips of ingrowing hairs. Traces of redness and yellow pustules may indicate a staphylococci bacterial infection.

If you see ingrowing hairs, pull the tips of the hairs out of the skin with a clean pair of tweezers. Soak a towel in hot water and dab it on the bump where the ingrowing hairs appear for a few minutes. This softens the hairs. Don't pull the whole hair out of the skin. Only pull the end of the ingrown hairs out of the skin.

Cut the end of any hair that is curling back, including the recently pulled out ingrowing hair with a clean pair of small scissors. This helps prevent ingrowing hair ocurring again. If you see yellow pustules and traces of redness around the tips of ingrowing hair, dab a mild antiseptic like tea tree oil to treat bacterial infection.

Your hair removal routine may also benefit if you exfoliate your skin regularly at home. Exfoliating skin helps to remove dead cells from the surface of the skin and keeps the skin radiant and healthy.

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