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How to Prevent & Treat Razor Burn on the Head

Have you experienced razor burn? I have, and it's something you wouldn't want to happen again. If you're a head shaver and you're about to google "how do you treat razor burn on your head", you've come to the right place.

Join me as we talk about razor burn, the causes, the difference between burn and razor bumps, prevention, and treatment.

What is razor burn?

razor burn on armpit

Razor burn is a common occurrence for head shavers. Also known as shaving rash, it refers to the irritation and inflammation of the hair follicle due to shaving. Razor burn can happen anywhere you shave, like your head, neck, face, legs, armpits, or pubic area.

Razor burn is not the same as razor bumps, which we will discuss later.

My first and only encounter with razor burn happened when I got my first electric head shaver. I used to shave using my old and trusted Wahl clippers, which have served me for the past five years. I only did a buzz cut with my clippers since it was the closest shave it could provide. It was my first time doing a closer shave with an electric razor, and I thought I could get away with what I usually did for years, which was dry shaving without using aloe vera or pre-shaving oil.

Big mistake. After shaving, my neck started to burn and started to feel tender. It was my first razor burn experience, and I didn't want it to happen again.

What causes razor burn?

The usual suspects that cause razor burn are dry shaving, fast shaving, using dull blades, shaving against hair growth direction, or sensitive skin.

Dry shaving

photo of man holding a razor with face showing discomfort

A dry shave is shaving without using shaving cream, gel, or any other form of moisturizer.

Had I known, I wouldn't have done dry shaving using my new electric razor. I never realized I had sensitive skin on my neck area, and I only discovered it when I used my rotary shaver on my neck doing a dry shave.

Dry shaving works if you don't have sensitive skin like me. It's a time saver because you don't have to do a pre-shave ritual or apply pre-shave products.

Fast shaving

Electric razors cut shaving time dramatically compared to old traditional razors, so what's the rush? Shaving too fast or aggressively may cause razor burns.

Dull blades

Using a dull blade on body hair is a significant contributor to razor burn. Imagine having to go over your hair numerous times with an old blade. It pulls and causes more friction, which results in a shaving rash.

Shaving against the grain.

Shaving in the opposite direction that your hair grows may cause razor burn, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Sensitive skin

If you have sensitive skin, any shaving method or application of skincare products may trigger razor burn.

What does razor burn look like?

close up photo of razor burn on armpit

Razor burn appears as a red rash on your skin that burns and itches. It's painful and can swell at times. If you notice small pimple-like bumps, these are razor bumps and not razor burns.

Razor burn symptoms are usually:

  • Discomfort or Pain

  • Burning sensation

  • Tenderness

  • Itchiness

  • Swelling

Razor burn vs. razor bumps

Many shavers get razor bumps thinking that they're razor burn, but there is a difference.

While razor burns and razor bumps may occur at the same time, they are two different skin conditions. Razor bumps happen due to ingrown hairs trapped inside your pores. Also known as PFB or pseudofolliculitis barbae, shaving bumps appear after trying to remove hair either through shaving, waxing, or plucking.

Shaving bumps are more common for those who have curly or coarse hair.

Razor burn vs ingrown hairs

photo of ingrown hair being extracted

Razor burns are temporary skin rashes that are not related to ingrown hair. The skin irritation caused by ingrown hairs is what we call razor bumps.

How can I prevent razor burn on the head?

If you want a smooth and pain-free shaving experience, learning how to shave your head can be a valuable skill. Here are some tips to prevent the dreaded razor burn on your head:

Skin Preparation

man with face wrapped with a towel preparing for a shave

Before you shave, wet your hair with warm water to soften it and open your pores. Regular skin exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. This lowers the chances of shaving rash and makes it easier for your razor blade to glide on your skin and cut hair.

I learned my lesson after my initial experience with a razor burn on my neck area. To prevent razor burns, I now do a pre-shave routine by applying coconut oil and using coconut soap as my shaving cream.

I've never had a shaving rash again. Freebird has a pre-shave oil that's designed explicitly for baldies that you can try out.

Use Sharp Blades

photo of Freebird FlexSeries blades

Using clean and sharp blades is essential to preventing razor burns and razor bumps. Traditional razors are disposable and are ideally used once for hair removal. Electric razor blades, on the other hand, are sharper and last longer. I replace my Freebird rotary blades every 50 shaves. These blades are durable, and they work well with my sensitive skin.

Apply shaving cream or gel

Apply a high-quality shaving gel like Freebird's pre-shave gel. The gel acts like a protective barrier between the blades and your skin, which may help in preventing irritated skin. To avoid razor burn, I decided to switch to wet shaving using coconut oil over dry shaving.

Shave slowly and lightly

Today's modern electric shaver has sharp blades that cut excellently without pressing too hard. As we also mentioned, electric razors are faster and more efficient than your old manual razor, so you don't have to shave fast.

This is true with my rotary shaver. I shave in half the time compared to my old hair clippers. I also shave lightly and slowly because there's really no reason to rush.

Stop playing tug of war with your hair, let your electric shaver glide gently over your head, and let those sharp razor blades do their thing.

Shave in the direction of your hair growth

We understand that most of us want a closer shave; that's why we shave against the grain. However, if you have sensitive skin that is prone to razor burn, razor bumps, and skin irritation, you need to shave in the direction of your hair growth.

Moisturize

photo of aloe vera

After shaving, apply a moisturizer that helps hydrate your scalp. This post-shave routine also hastens the skin healing process and lowers the chances of skin irritation.

I apply neem oil as my post-shave moisturizer, and it works well for me. My scalp is hydrated and protected against shaving rash. Aloe vera is also a good option for me whenever I run out of neem oil. Applying aloe vera after a shave is like pouring cold water on hot skin, and it's also good for dry skin.

Treating razor burn on the head

Cleanse irritated skin

Use mild soap and water to clean the affected area. Make sure to remove dirt, excess oil, and bacteria that can make the situation worse.

Apply cold compress

A cold compress can reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. You may also notice relief from itching and burning sensations in the affected area.

Rest from shaving

Avoid shaving if you get razor burn. Razor burn heals in a few days. I know that some baldies prefer daily shaving, but in this situation, you need to give it a rest. Avoid over-shaving and let your skin heal naturally.

Wear loose-fitting headwear

Wearing loose-fitting hats and avoiding tight clothing can help your skin breathe and minimize friction with your shaving rash.

Use a soothing ointment or cream

Applying a mild hydrocortisone cream or aloe vera may help calm the irritation on the affected area. These products are famous for their anti-inflammatory properties, which help soothe the stinging sensation you may have.

Conclusion

Don't let razor burn ruin your head-shaving game. Follow our tips, and you're good to go. Remember, prevention is the key to an enjoyable and burn-free shaving experience. Imagine a smooth head without razor burn. It's every head shaver's dream.

FAQ

How do you get rid of razor burns on your head?

To get rid of razor burns on your head, you should avoid shaving for a few days and let your skin heal. Don't wear tight clothing for a while since it may cause further irritation.

How long does razor burn last on the head?

It may vary from one person to another, but generally, razor burn clears up in a few days with proper care and treatment.

What is the best cream for razor burn?

Several creams may help soothe or prevent razor burn. Creams that contain aloe vera, hydrocortisone, olive oil, avocado oil, and tea tree oil may help to treat razor burns. Remember that everyone's skin is different. Apply a small amount of your chosen cream with natural oils to your hand and see if there are no adverse reactions. Some creams may contain other skin irritants that you're allergic to.

Does Vaseline get rid of razor burn?

Vaseline may provide temporary relief, but it's not the right product for razor burn. Look for products that are specially formulated to treat razor burns, like those containing the ingredients mentioned previously. Avoid over-the-counter products that are not tested to treat razor burns, as they may cause potential skin irritation.

What is the best razor bump treatment for bald heads?

Look for products that prevent bumps, target ingrown hairs and have anti-inflammatory properties, like witch hazel extract or tea tree oil. Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat razor bumps. Dab a cotton pad with witch hazel and apply on your bumps. Ask advice from a board-certified dermatologist if you notice your razor bumps getting worse. It would be best if you had a diagnosis from someone who has done cosmetic and clinical research on your condition to get the best treatment possible.

How long do shaving bumps last on the head?

How long razor bumps or pseudofolliculitis barbae last on your head depends on the severity and personal situation. Rest from shaving if you need to, and let your shaving bumps clear before shaving again.

Does honey help razor burn?

While it's true that honey has antibacterial and soothing properties, there's limited scientific evidence that shows it can help treat razor burns. You can try it out and see if it works well for you, but I would instead use products that are proven to soothe razor burn, like aloe vera or hydrocortisone cream.

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