Shaving with a razor is a quick and economical way for people to remove unwanted hair from their legs. However, this can lead to razor rash or burn on the legs. People can treat and potentially avoid razor burn by using certain products or changing the shaving technique.
Razor burn, or irritant contact dermatitis, is a type of uncomfortable irritation that causes red, itchy skin. It can affect any shaved area, including the legs, face, and armpits.
In this article, we look at how to treat and prevent razor burn on the legs. We also discuss shaving tips and other hair removal methods.
Anyone who shaves can develop razor burn. Often, the condition will improve by itself in a few days. However, there are various methods a person can use to ease itchy or irritated skin.
People can apply the compress to the skin for 5–10 minutes or until they feel relief. They can repeat this as often as necessary.
Oatmeal has moisturizing properties that can soothe the skin.
People can sprinkle oatmeal directly into their bath or apply it to the skin as a paste.
People can use aloe vera to soothe irritated skin and to treat skin dryness. They can use the gel from inside the plant’s leaves and apply it directly to the irritated skin, or they can purchase aloe vera products.
Mature coconuts yield coconut oil containing many free fatty acids — such as lauric, myristic, and caprylic acids — that can moisturize and soothe skin.
Damaged skin, including skin with razor burn, may be prone to infection. Coconut oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and therefore it can reduce the likelihood of an infection while also moisturizing the skin.
The kernels of the shea tree yield shea butter. It is another plant oil that can provide
Shea is also an abundant source of triterpenes. This group of molecules plays a role in many biological reactions and can enhance tissue repair and wound closure.
If a person uses a proper technique when shaving their legs, they can minimize the risk of developing razor burn.
Taking the following precautions may help avoid some of the uncomfortable side effects of shaving:
- Use a new razor: Blades can develop minute nicks and other damage, causing them to become blunt, which can result in skin irritation.
- Wash first: Shaving after a shower or bath is ideal, because the skin will be clean and moist, and the warm water will soften the hair.
- Exfoliate: Dead skin can clog a razor and make close shaving more difficult.
- Use shaving cream: Allow a shaving cream or gel to sit on the skin for 2–3 minutes, then lather up. The shaving cream softens and coats the hair, allowing for a single-pass shave and eliminating the need to go over the area multiple times.
- Shave in the right direction: Always shave in the direction of hair growth to prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs.
- Rinse the blade: Run the blade underwater frequently to remove hair and shaving cream.
- Shave less: Minimizing shaving reduces the possibility of razor burn. When shaving, try to remove hair in a single pass. If the legs are irritated, wait to shave them until the skin has recovered.
- Moisturize: After shaving, moisturize the legs to rehydrate the skin.
A person can ease their razor burn on the legs by following these recommendations:
- Wear breathable clothing: People with razor burn on the legs should choose loose-fitting cotton clothes. Avoid wool and other rough fabrics that could irritate the skin.
- Choose fragrance-free options: To minimize irritation, use lotions, soaps, and detergents that do not contain fragrances.
- Allow legs to heal: Razor burn on the legs can indicate the skin is damaged, and people should avoid shaving until the legs have recovered fully.
If people frequently experience razor burn on their legs, they may consider other hair removal options. These may include:
A person can apply either hot or cold wax to the skin and then quickly remove it, which pulls out the hairs at the root. Legs may remain hair free for a few weeks or longer.
Drawbacks of waxing can include pain, irritation, and the potential to burn the skin if the wax is too hot. Waxing requires practice to learn the best technique.
People can purchase creams, lotions, or gels that can dissolve unwanted hair. Some may refer to these as depilatories. Hair removal cream is quick and easy for people to use at home.
A person needs to apply the cream, wait for the amount of time indicated on the packaging, and then rinse away.
Results of using hair cream last longer than when a person shaves, but the products may irritate some people’s skin. That is why it is important to test the products on a small area before using them.
Laser hair removal
Laser/light therapy uses a beam of intense light to destroy the hair follicle. This can prevent the hair from regrowing, lighten its color, or reduce its thickness.
While it is a safe treatment for people of all skin colors, people should consult a dermatologist to find out whether laser hair removal is a suitable option for them.
These hand-held devices have a set of oscillating blades behind a metal mesh. Like a manual razor, they slice the hair off above the skin but do not provide as close a shave.
Using such devices reduces the likelihood of skin irritation, such as razor burn, and many people may find electric shavers more comfortable than manual shaving.
Razor burn is a type of skin irritation that can occur after a person has used a manual razor blade. The skin may be red and sore for a few days and generally clears up by itself.
People can minimize the risk of experiencing razor burn by always using a new, sterile razor blade, shaving after a bath or shower, and shaving in the direction of hair growth.
If a person has razor burn, they can ease their symptoms by using cold compresses or oatmeal baths or applying coconut oil, aloe vera, or shea butter to the affected area.