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Shaving is a popular, affordable option for removing pubic hair. However, shaving the bikini area can sometimes cause razor burn, which can lead to skin irritation and discomfort.
Some people shave the hair from their vulva and labia. Experiencing razor burn near the vagina can be extremely uncomfortable. Pubic razor burn may cause red bumps, a burning sensation, and an intense itch.
In this article, we discuss the treatment options for razor burn in the pubic area. We also cover shaving tips to help prevent razor burn and how to differentiate between razor burn and the symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Razor burn normally goes away on its own. However, it may be a good idea to avoid shaving the affected area until it has fully healed.
If a person experiences pain and itching from razor burn in the pubic area, using a low-strength topical hydrocortisone cream may bring relief. A person should only use hydrocortisone for a short period of time, and they should not put it into the vagina.
Hydrocortisone cream is anti-inflammatory that helps reduce itching. Hydrocortisone creams are available over-the-counter (OTC) and a person can also purchase them online.
The following home remedies may also help reduce skin irritation from razor burn:
- Use a cool compress: Applying a cool compress to the affected area could help reduce skin swelling and soothe razor burn.
- Soak in a warm bath: Taking a warm bath may open up the pores and relieve swelling and skin irritation.
- Wear loose cotton clothes: Wearing breathable, loose fabrics that do not rub against the skin may help reduce irritation and discomfort.
- Bathe in oatmeal: Oatmeal baths are a traditional remedy for soothing the skin and relieving itchiness. The starch and beta-glucan in oatmeal is protective and moisturizing. Oatmeal also contains phenols that have an anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effect.
- Massage in coconut oil: Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer with antiseptic qualities. Because coconut oil is solid in cooler climates, it melts into the skin as a person applies it, which may feel soothing.
- Apply aloe vera gel: People have used aloe vera as a topical skin treatment for thousands of years. Although its wound healing effects are unproven, applying aloe vera gel may help reduce irritation from razor burn.
The following tips may help prevent or reduce razor burn when shaving the pubic hair:
- Exfoliate: Rub the area with a body brush or flannel to remove dead skin cells before shaving.
- Shave at the end of a hot shower or bath: Warm water opens the pores, making shaving easier.
- Use a moisturizing shave cream: Using a conditioner or a moisturizing shave cream helps the razor glide more easily when shaving, which may reduce skin irritation.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth: Avoid shaving against the direction of hair growth, as this may increase irritation.
- Use a sharp new razor: Using blunt razors may increase irritation. Using a new razor as often as possible helps achieve a cleaner shave.
- Reduce the frequency: Shaving less often gives the skin an opportunity to recover.
- Moisturize regularly: Keeping the skin moisturized may reduce dryness and irritation.
People with sensitive skin or thick pubic hair may find that razor burn is hard to prevent. If they try the above shaving tips but still experience razor burn, they may wish to consider trying other hair removal options, such as waxing or using hair removal creams.
Another option is trimming the hair to keep it short, rather than removing it entirely. Doing this will prevent razor burn completely.
It is important to be able to differentiate razor burn from something more serious. Certain STDs may cause symptoms similar to those of razor burn.
The table below outlines the differences between razor burn and genital herpes and warts:
|Razor burn||Genital herpes||Genital warts|
|Bump appearance||Closed reddish bumps, pimples, or a rash.||Open sores that may scab over.||Rough-edged warts that may have a cauliflower appearance.|
Itching or burning.
Painful to touch.
No other symptoms.
Swollen glands in the groin.
|Possible bleeding with sexual intercourse.|
Razor burn near the vagina is a common experience associated with pubic shaving. Pubic razor burn will go away on its own in time and does not necessarily require treatment.
If pubic razor burn is causing pain and itching, trying OTC topical creams and home remedies may bring some relief.
Trying the shaving tips in this article may help prevent or reduce razor burn on the vulva and labia. However, some people may still find that razor burn is hard to avoid.
If a person has particularly sensitive skin or thick hair, they may want to consider a different option for removing pubic hair. Some people may find that simply trimming pubic hair is an easier alternative to shaving.