Easy methods to eliminate razor bumps

Nothing feels as silky smooth as right after a fresh shave. Until you wake up the next morning and find you have razor bumps. Your instinct might be to search online for how to get rid of razor burn. Well, nothing will make them go away overnight, but there are ways you can speed up your recovery.

So what exactly are you dealing with here? Razor bumps, also known as ingrown hairs, refer to inflamed and irritated skin that can sometimes form after shaving. They occur when strands of hair curl up again and grow into the skin.

“The body recognizes the growing hair as a foreign object and triggers an inflammatory response, which is perceived as redness or a boil,” explains David C. Reid, MD, chief physician of dermatology and associate professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “Eventually the body expels the hair via this inflammatory response, but that can take weeks to months.”

Common symptoms of razor burn include itching, pain, pimples, and skin irritation. Razor bumps commonly appear around the face (like men’s beards), legs, pubic area, and armpits, but they can appear anywhere on the body. No one is immune, but they usually affect people with severely curled hair or spiral strands of hair.

The good news is that razor burn usually gets better within two to three weeks. However, they can recur if you keep shaving, says Julia Mhlaba, MD, a dermatologist at Northwestern Medicine. If you really need to get rid of body hair (know there’s nothing wrong with leaving it on your body either!), try laser hair removal or waxing instead. If shaving is absolutely necessary, be sure to move your blade in the direction of hair growth. You should also replace your razor blade frequently and always use shaving cream, notes Dr. Mhlaba.

However, if you are already struggling with razor burn, here are 10 home remedies to help you get rid of it fast.

Meet the experts: David C. Reid, MD, is the chief of dermatology at Rush University Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Julia Mhlaba, MD, is an assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

Anna H. Chacon, MD, is a dermatologist with a virtual practice serving patients across the country.

1. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is used in many medicated creams for burns, cuts, and scrapes because it contains enzymes that help reduce inflammation, making it an effective treatment for razor burn and minor injuries, according to Anna H. Chacon, MD, a dermatologist who owns a virtual practice.

It’s incredibly easy to use. Just press it directly onto the skin and if you want a chill factor just pop it in the fridge for a few minutes before use.

2. Baking soda paste

Believe it or not, baking soda paste has a cooling effect on the skin. You can easily make a serving of this calming concoction at home. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of lukewarm water until it thickens and apply to skin, says Dr. Chacon. Then leave it on for about 20 minutes or until it dries, then rinse thoroughly from your skin. Repeat this process twice a day until your razor bumps go away.

3. Calendula Cream

Calendula cream soothes your skin by boosting the production of collagen, an essential protein for glowing skin, explains Dr. Chacon. This plant also helps in maintaining soothed, hydrated skin.

Calendula Cream

Before applying, clean the affected area with mild soap, then rinse and dry the irritated area thoroughly. Apply a thin layer of calendula cream once or twice a day until razor bumps are gone, says Dr. Chacon.

4. Coconut oil, sweet almond oil and tea tree oil

Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, while sweet almond oil is super calming, which Dr. Chacon makes a great moisturizer to soften your skin. Tea tree oil, on the other hand, has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and can heal minor wounds and soothe burns.

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Look for expeller-pressed coconut oil and apply a thin layer to the inflamed area, says Dr. Chacon. Sweet almond oil can be applied directly to the affected area if needed. If you want to try tea tree oil, use one to three drops diluted in a teaspoon of a carrier oil before applying. Before applying, do a patch test to avoid further irritating your skin.

5. Colloidal Oatmeal Bath

Colloidal oatmeal, which is just a fancy term for ground oatmeal that’s been processed into a fine powder, contains phenol with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, says Dr. Chacon.

If you’re trying to get rid of razor burn, simply soak in a colloidal oatmeal bath for 10 to 15 minutes once a day.

6. Compressed

Cold and warm compresses can help relax irritated skin, says Dr. Chacon. If you’re particularly prone to razor burn, applying a warm compress before shaving can help open your pores and loosen your hair.

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“This may include aluminum acetate solution, saline, or just warm water,” says Megha Trivedi, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Rush University Medical Center. A warm compress should be applied to razor burn three times a day for 10 minutes.

7. Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone cream is a topical steroid used to reduce inflammation and irritation on the skin. It can typically be used once a day or twice a day, as indicated, notes Dr. Chacon.

8. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is commonly used as an astringent because it contains tannin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. “It can soothe burns, reduce pain, and treat minor skin irritations,” says Dr. Chacon. Apply witch hazel to the affected area with a cotton pad as needed.

Ashley Martens is a wellness writer based in Chicago, Illinois. With a background in digital marketing and her knowledge of general nutrition and a lifelong passion for health and wellness, Ashley covers topics that can help people lead happier, healthier lives.

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