Out of all the DIY hair removal methods, shaving is definitely the fastest—buuuut also one of the most annoying, IMO. Sure, it's easier (and less painful) than waxing or sugaring, but if you're someone who deals with intense razor burn and razor bumps after shaving, you know how frustrating and lowkey painful the post-shave effects can be.
Still, aside from getting laser hair removal, there's not much you can do to make your hair stop growing as quickly as you'd need to shave it. But, thankfully, there are a whole lotta changes you can make to your shave routine to cut down on irritation and make the whole thing way less annoying. Below, all the advice you need to avoid razor burn and shaving bumps, straight from New York-based dermatologist Elyse Love, MD.
What does razor burn look like on legs?
Ya know that irritation that can happen after shaving, especially on sensitive areas like your underarms and groin? Yeah, that's called razor burn. The skin can feel rough and/or sensitive to the touch, and look a little red (on lighter skin tones) or brown (on deeper skin tones). While you might refer to your razor burn as razor bumps (and vice versa), the term "razor bumps" can also be used to describe the ingrown hairs you get from the hair removal, in addition to all that irritation.
How do you get rid of razor burn on your legs?
Two words: Do less. Resist the urge to apply all the treatments and use all the scrubs afterward, and just keep things simple instead. Try massaging on a gentle moisturizer twice a day, followed by a thin layer of over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream at night to help calm any razor burn, and whatever you do, avoid exfoliating or messing with your skin while it's irritated. Don't shave or try any other hair removal technique until the area has completely healed to avoid making things worse.
How long does razor burn last on legs?
It depends. If you follow the above advice, the razor burn on your legs can heal in a few days, but if the irritation is severe or repeated over and over before the skin is allowed to fully recover, Dr. Love says you might need to see a doctor for prescription topical anti-inflammatories. Again, be gentle and do less, k?
How can you get rid of razor bumps overnight or fast?
Razor bumps or ingrown hairs, on the other hand, will typically resolve on their own, says Dr. Love, although applying warm compresses (a warm wet washcloth) a few times a day for 10-15 minutes can help slowly dislodge trapped hairs faster. Gentle chemical exfoliation with glycolic and lactic acid can also be helpful in breaking down the clogged follicle, but tender, red, and inflamed ingrown hairs may require in-office or antibacterial treatment if they don't resolve within a week.
And, as tempting as it is to use tweezers to pluck that little hair out from underneath your skin like you saw in some YouTube video, please don't. "I caution the use of tweezers in the treatment of ingrown hairs, as imprecise technique can create further damage to the skin barrier and possibly seed bacteria into the skin," Dr. Love says. Not good.
How to prevent razor burn or razor bumps on legs
Now that you know what to do for your existing razor burn and razor bumps on your legs, here's how to significantly decrease the chances of ever getting them again:
Use a shaving cream.
It sounds obvious, but I wouldn't be shocked if you said you typically skip shave cream. Dr. Love recommends applying a soothing and hydrating formula (her fave is the Eos Shea Better Shave Cream, which applies like a thick, moisturizing balm instead of a foam) and allowing it to rest on the skin for a few seconds before starting to shave.
Use a new razor blade.
Changing your razor blade at least weekly will prevent a dull blade from dragging on the skin and irritating your hair follicles.
Ingrown hairs occur when regrowing hair becomes trapped under the skin's surface, which is why gentle exfoliation on a routine basis (see: twice a week) helps to prevent them. Dr. Love recommends body exfoliators that contain gentle physical and chemical exfoliants, like the Nécessaire Body Exfoliator.
Dr. Love stresses the importance of shaving often to prevent ingrown hairs or razor bumps, especially for those with curly hair. "Curly hair can curl back onto itself and grow back into the skin," Dr. Love explains, so shaving regularly (if you're someone who chooses to) is key in helping to prevent ingrown hairs.
First, identify whether you're experiencing razor burn on your legs or razor bumps on your legs, then either treat the area with gentle moisturizer or gentle exfoliation, respectively. And stop dry-shaving with that old razor! Treat yourself to a nice, new razor and soothing shaving cream so you can finally stop treating the painful aftermath of a bad shave, K?
You Might Also Like