Swimsuit season is near, which means you’re probably dusting off your razor, and if you’re anything like me, you know that rushing to prep your skin after months of being hidden away has its disadvantages. Razor burn – or clinically-speaking, microscopic tears to the skin – is most likely to happen when you're rushing to get ready. It’s often caused by dry shaving, aggressive shaving, and shaving with dull blades, and results in unsightly irritation that stings or itches. Even if you’re just touching up a small spot, you’re at risk. Happily, there are ways to soothe skin after shaving in a pinch (because we’ve all been there).
Feeling the burn from your razor? Follow these expert tips to heal the rashlike symptoms, stat.
Take a timeout
“Stop all hair removal attempts,” says Karen Young, founder of Oui Shave. “Don't try to pluck, pull, shave, wax, or cut hair in the area where you've got irritation. You'll only make your skin angrier and possibly introduce an infection.” Taking a few days off will give the skin time to heal and ensure you don’t exacerbate the rash.
Apply a cold compress
To soothe the stinging and itching associated with razor burn, apply a cold compress to affected areas. Soak a clean – keyword – washcloth in cold water and wring out excess liquid. Lay over the skin for 20 minutes for a wonderfully soothing sensation and repeat as necessary.
Hydrate to heal
Properly hydrating the skin will help relieve the burn while also helping to protect the skin barrier from further chafing. Young recommends applying a moisturizing toner with astringent properties to reduce inflammation and redness. Oui Shave Aftershave Toner For Women ($32; ouishave.com) contains calming rose water, anti-inflammatory witch hazel extract, and disinfecting Himalayan pink salt.
Treat razor bumps differently
If you have razor bumps – aka inflamed, tender bumps – Young recommends reaching for a warm compress. That’s because razor bumps are often a sign of ingrown hairs. “Use a soft washcloth soaked in warm water to soften the irritated area for 10 to 15 minutes. Then use slow, circular motions to gently exfoliate,” she says. This will remove dead skin cells and help skin regenerate.
Stay out of the water
Sad but true. “Do not go into a hot tub, pool, or any body of water if you have irritation from hair removal,” warns Jeanette Haylock, gotoBrazils Waxing Center Education Manager. “Heat, chlorine, and salt may irritate it even further and it will sting.” She suggests waiting at least 48 hours before swimming.