This Is What Really Causes Razor Burn

Anyone who shaves has dealt with razor burn at some point. You get out of the shower and towel off only to feel your legs, underarms, or face begin to sting and itch. Razor burn is an annoying and often painful effect of irritation on the skin that can leave you with a rash, bumps, and tenderness on the area. It can be caused by a variety of things, from the quality of your razor to the temperature of your shower or bath water.

According to Healthline, some of the most common reasons people develop razor burn include shaving without some sort of lubricant like shaving cream, using an old razor, shaving over the same area multiple times, or shaving too fast. A lubricant like shaving cream is important to prevent razor burn because it creates a protective barrier between your razor and your skin. Without this barrier, your razor rubs against your skin while it is cutting the hair, which can cause irritation. Old razors tend to have dull blades, which can pull on the skin instead of providing a clean cut. Shaving too quickly or shaving over the same patch of skin too many times can also cause your razor to pull on your skin and irritate it.

Razor burn is easy to prevent

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can avoid razor burn. Putting more effort into your shaving routine can make a big difference when it comes to how smooth your shave is (via Glamour). Start by exfoliating your legs, which will remove dead skin and bumps that may be caught by your razor. You should also wait to shave until you have been in the shower for several minutes. This will soften your skin and hair, making the shaving process easier. "After only three minutes of hydration from the water in the shower, the force required to cut through hair is significantly reduced," Caitlin Orszulak, research and development scientist for Gillette Venus, told Glamour.

Be sure to use a fresh razor that has sharp blades. Ideally, razor blade heads should be switched out every seven to 10 uses (via Allure). Your post-shower technique can also prevent razor burn. Use a moisturizing lotion immediately after drying off to soothe your skin and prevent irritation. If you suspect you have razor burn, apply aloe vera to the affected area, which can offer soothing benefits as well.