Almost every woman experiences razor burn at some point, says Dr. Amy Wechsler, author of The Mind-Beauty Connection. Here’s how to avoid it.
Q. I get wicked razor burn sometimes on my legs and under my arms. Is there any foolproof way to avoid this? Or treat it so it doesn’t happen again? What am I doing wrong with my shaving?
A. A razor burn results when the follicles become irritated. You’ll see the redness within minutes to hours. It can happen frequently if you shave too closely, too harshly, too quickly, or on skin that’s not softened by the warm water enough to endure the abrasion. Almost every woman experiences razor burn at some point; avoiding it to begin with is the best medicine, since the rash can be painful. If you try to shave again too soon, it can avalanche into a series of razor burns as you continue to irritate your skin.
To treat a razor burn get yourself an over-the-counter tube of hydrocortisone (0.5 to 1 percent strength) and apply it to the affected area twice a day. Switch from regular shaving cream or gel to a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free variety; try Aveeno Ultracalming Shave Gel or Kiehl’s Simply Mahvelous Legs Shave Cream (and finish it off with Kiehl’s Simply Mahvelous Legs After-Shave Lotion). Alternatively, you can also go for Clinique’s line of shaving products; even though they are marked for men they can work wonders on women’s legs, too! If you’ve been using a razor with three or more blades, decrease to a two-bladed razor.
To avoid razor burn: Use good razors, and change your blade at least once a week; shave toward the end of your shower after your skin has softened from the heat, use a shaving cream or gel, go slowly and don’t push into your skin, and don’t go over the same area twice. If razor burn is a persistent problem, consider laser treatment, which damages the hair follicles and prevents hair growth. Laser hair removal typically requires a series of treatments (five to seven), followed by a touch-up every six months to a year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy Wechsler, M.D., is a dermatologist and a psychiatrist, one of only two doctors in the country who are board-certified in both specialties. She is also the author of The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Reverse Stress Aging and Reveal More Youthful, Beautiful Skin (Copyright © 2008 by RealAge Corporation). Evidence of the mind-beauty connection walks into her office every day: “Premature aging and adult acne are the two most common skin problems I see, and stress and exhaustion are often at the bottom of both,” she says. Dr. Wechsler practices in New York City, where she lives with her husband and two kids. She is a member of the RealAge Scientific Advisory Board.
MORE ARTICLES BY THE AUTHOR
- 5 Biggest Beauty Bargains on the Planet
- 6 Snacks to Attack Insomnia
- 7 Tricks for Getting a Better Night’s Sleep
- Antiaging Products: What Really Works
- Get Active: Why Exercise Helps You Look and Feel Better
- SOS for the Stressed: 7 Stress Management Tips
- Read the Introduction to The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Ways to Reverse Stress Aging and Reveal More Youthful, Beautiful Skin
- See the book’s Table of Contents
- Watch the video: Dr. Amy Wechsler on the connection between stress and aging