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All About Razor Burn

By Alix Charles, MD, FAAD

Razor burn is a fairly common skin condition that typically occurs after shaving. The skin can become inflamed, red and irritated. Acne-like bumps in the beard area and even at the base of the scalp may appear as well. It can be painful, itchy and unsightly, especially for those with sensitive skin. Luckily, with the right precautions razor burn can be avoided.

Prevention is the key to treating razor burn. We recommend allowing the hair to grow out at least ¼ of an inch in length because this condition can worsen by shaving too closely. Using an electric razor as opposed to a straight razor can also be beneficial. Use a good shaving cream free of alcohol rather than soap that can dry out the skin. Avoid using products that contain menthol which can numb the skin and make it harder to determine if you are experiencing razor drag. Make sure you are always using a sharp blade as well. A dull blade is one of the primary culprits of razor burn. Shave with the grain to decrease irritation and inflammation of the skin and follow up with a moisturizer to keep your skin soft and hydrated. If you run into problems with ingrown hairs you may want to try exfoliating before shaving with a facial scrub to remove dead skin and bring out ingrown hairs. If you still have problems with ingrown hairs or razor burn, follow up with your dermatologist. Persistent, stubborn cases can be managed with topical cortisone agents, benzoyl peroxide products, and topical or oral antibiotics.


Topics and Subtopics: Skin Health

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