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What Can I Do to Prevent Razor Burn?

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Sometimes I experience razor burn with a new razor, and was wondering if there is a cream or anything I can do to stop it.
- Hector*

Common causes of razor burn include dry shaving (shaving dry skin without water, shaving cream, or gel), using old razors, and shaving against the direction the hair is growing.

But you may not do any of those and still have a problem. Some people just have super-sensitive skin. Shaving cream or gel can help, as can shaving after a warm shower or putting a warm washcloth on your face before you shave. If you have sensitive skin, scented products like aftershave can irritate it. Instead, rinse with cool water or put a cool washcloth on your face after shaving to help soothe the skin.

The right shaving technique also can help. Make short, light razor strokes in the same direction as your hair grows. While shaving, rinse the blade after every few strokes so gel and hair don't build up. When using a new razor, try not to push down as hard as you did with your old one — a sharp razor doesn't need as much pressure to get a clean shave. Leave yourself plenty of time to shave so you can be careful and not rush through it.

One other thing: some guys don't need to shave every day. Shaving when there's not enough hair growth can irritate the skin. Before you lather up, look in the mirror. If you don't see much hair growth, you can give your razor the day off.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: July 2011

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

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