razor burn is a painful occurrence that appears directly after shaving

Why do I get razor burn?

Razor burn and razor bumps often get confused. A razor burn is a rash that appears directly after shaving as a result of skin irritation. Pseudofolliculitis barbae, commonly known as razor bumps, appears as inflammation surrounding the hair follicle.

Those can cause equal annoyance as a result of beard grooming. And they usually heal just as it’s time to shave again. Creating a continuous cycle of irritation, healing, irritation, healing, and back to irritation again.

Red bumps aren’t just repetitive, they can also cause permanent damage to the skin. Learn how can they be prevented and how to treat with our top 5 remedies.


  1. What is Pseudofolliculitis barbae?
  2. What causes razor burn?
  3. What’s an ingrown hair?
  4. How long does razor burn last?
  5. How to stop getting razor burn and razor bumps?
  6. How do I soothe razor burn?
  7. Conclusion

What is Pseudofolliculitis barbae?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is the scientific name for razor bumps. It’s a common occurrence for men when shaving the beard area because beard hair is formed from androgenic hair.

This means that the hair growth is related to the testosterone hormone – therefore, the more testosterone, the more growth and thickness. As a result of this, you need to care for your beard hair differently to the rest of the hair on your body.

What causes razor burn?

A razor burn is very irritating and can cause persistent discomfort. It’s caused when the surface of the skin becomes damaged during shaving. The damaged skin then burns as a result of the skin irritation. This includes tenderness, itchiness and the skin becomes hot to touch. A high price to pay for a few days of smooth skin.

The increase in blood flow to the shaved area is the body’s response to skin irritation. It’s tempting to itch it, but this will just cause the irritation to worsen and prolong the healing process.

What’s an ingrown hair?

As the hairs grow, they can get trapped and curl within the pore. This is known as ingrown hair which is concurrent with razor bumps. This is a very common occurrence for black men who have tight, curly beard hair. However, it can happen even when the hair is straight.

Ingrown hairs look like red, inflamed bumps on the surface of the skin where you recently shaved. In some cases, you may be able to see the hair growing inwards under the skin. If an infection has occurred you may also experience skin darkening and perhaps scarring.

They typically take a week to clear up on their own. But It depends on how far the hair has grown into the skin, and if an infection has occurred.

How long does razor burn last?

It can disappear overnight. However, razor bumps can last for 2-3 days while the hair grows further from the surface of the skin. After which irritation will be reduced. Prompt treatment as soon as the razor burn or razor bumps occur will quickly reduce the symptoms.

How to stop getting razor burn and razor bumps?

shaving correctly can prevent razor burns
The best way to prevent razor burn is to stop shaving. But of course, this isn’t a fair solution. You shouldn’t have to restrict your grooming routine to that extent.

There are methods of reducing the chances of skin irritation during shaving, in order to prevent razor burn and subsequently razor bumps. But this isn’t always a solution, as it depends on the individual and the specific hair type.

How to shave to prevent razor burn?

  1. Preparation – Correct preparation is key for beard grooming. First, exfoliate and cleanse the face and beard using warm water. Using warm water, wet a face cloth and hold it against the beard for a minute. This will soften the hair and open the pores.
  2. Use a shaving foam – Apply a shaving foam/ cream to the beard with a shaving brush. This will help to raise the hair for a closer shave.
  3. Choose the right razor – A poor quality, blunt razor can irritate the skin, thus making the skin more susceptible to a rash. So chose a high-quality razor with sharp blades for a smooth shave.
  4. Rinse your razor – Rinsing your razor in warm water before and after each swipe will remove the build-up of hair and shaving foam. This will also help to lubricate the blade for a smoother shave.
  5. Direction – Shave with the grain of the hair rather than against it. Shaving against the grain of the hair can cause unnecessary aggravation to the hair follicles.
  6. Rinse and cleanse – After shaving, rinse your skin with warm water and cleanse the skin.
  7. Cold water – Finish the routine by rinsing your face with cold water. This will close the pores and soothe the skin.

How do I soothe razor burn?

it is important to know how to soothe a razor burnDirectly after shaving, try applying a soothing product like natural hair oils. This will help to prevent inflammation and will work to nourish the skin and repair any damage. If you shave before bed and apply a soothing remedy afterwards, the razor burn will be soothed overnight.

The best remedies for razor burn include:

  • Aloe vera
  • Coconut oil
  • Almond oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Witch hazel

Aloe vera and coconut oil are known across the world for their soothing benefits and ability to heal burns. You can harvest aloe vera gel directly from the plant and apply a thin layer onto the shaved area. Coconut oil is renowned for its health benefits, alongside its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

Tea tree oil is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial (kills microorganisms). However, it shouldn’t be applied directly to the face. It should be diluted within a carrier oil such as almond or coconut oil.

Witch hazel has tannin as one of its main elements. This causes tannin to be a natural astringent and anti-inflammatory. It can be applied directly to the razor burn to relieve pain and soothe the irritation.

Have you tried the 98% Aloe Vera Gel by Dr. Balwi?

This aloe vera gel for hair, face and skincare, has been developed under the supervision of Dr. Balwi our chef medical officer. Aloe vera has many benefits due to its moisturising, cooling and soothing properties. With 98% aloe vera content, this product is ideal for use on irritated skin, itchy scalps, razor burn and sunburn.


Razor burn is a painful and irritating occurrence that happens as a result of shaving. The surface of the skin becomes irritated causing blood to rush to the face, resulting in inflammation and a burning sensation.

It’s best to treat the skin directly after shaving to help prevent the burning sensation from occurring. The best remedies for this are Aloe Vera, Coconut oil, Almond Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Witch Hazel.

The soothing properties of these products are beneficial for the symptoms of razor burn as they work by cooling down the skin through a moisturising, anti-inflammatory layer.

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