Shaving Rash

Razor Burn/Shaving Rash:

In sensitive individuals, shaving may result in activation of the skin immune system via neurogenic inflammation, resulting in a shaving rash.

What does shaving rash look like? And what exactly causes it?

Signs of shaving rash include:

  • Roughness, redness, papules, burning, micro lesions and increased warmth during and after shaving.
  • Sometimes, dryness and itching may be associated.

Shaving rash could be caused due to multiple reasons; these may include:

  • Poor shaving techniques: Aggressive and hasty shaving, poor pre-shaving preparation (refer below).
  • Sensitive skin: This is very common; especially if you notice a skin irritation that persists for longer than few hours after shaving and severe intensity of skin irritation symptoms.
  • Aging skin: Aging skin alters the collagen ( substance present in the middle layer of skin- dermis) content and its orientation within the skin; which leads to wrinkled and thinned out aging skin; the same is also responsible for maintaining the elasticity and tone of the skin.
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  • Your Razor is not right for you!! (Refer below)

What sort of pre-shave preparation do men need to do to set skin up for a less irritating shave?

  • a. Follow these two simple pre-shaving steps:
    • Rinse your face well with plain water: This will ensure that the skin is cleared off dirt and germs; and reduce chances of development and intensity of post shave rash.
    • Soak your face well with lukewarm water (Not hot): This will slightly soften the facial hair; requiring making only gentle strokes to ensure a clean shave.
  • Get the razor which suits you and your shaving technique:
    This is really tricky; men – by virtue of their manly instincts are often fascinated by the concepts “close-shave” which comes across with “double blades or multiple blade” razors; without knowing that they tend to rip off your skin leaving behind harsh impressions in the form of razor burns. If you have had a couple of bad shaving rash experiences with multi blade razors, it is best to switch to a single blade razor – a gently and patiently performed shave with a single blade razor can yield equally clean shave and most importantly – will be sober on the skin as well.

How often should men rinse the razor when shaving – and why does this help prevent shaving rash/irritation?

  • It may help to rinse the razor a few times after each stroke of shave; this ensures that the skin which is in contact with the razor subsequently is rendered free from bacterial affliction from a previous stroke – the benefit may be more substantial if you are using multi- razor blades.

Does taking a break from shaving on the weekend help skin recover when it’s prone to irritation?

  • Yes; it does!! Especially in individuals with sensitive skin; such individuals are likely to benefit with shaves gently performed, using single blade razors and even take a break from shaving two days in a week (three days apart) to help the skin rehabilitate, if your personal and professional lifestyles permit the same.

Do we need to shave with hair growth – instead of against it – if prone to shaving rash? Will this help limit irritation? If so, does this mean men need to shave with a mirror and not blind shave in the shower?

  • It is suggested that shaving stroke made in the direction of hair growth is likely going to result in a more “smooth and close shave” and at the same time definitely be gentle on the skin. Shaving against the hair growth pulls the hair in the direction opposite to the root of the hair and increases the tension on the skin, thereby leaving it vulnerable to irritation and post shave rash.
  • This explanation makes it inevitable to have your mirror witness the direction of your shaving strokes – especially if you are basking a sensitive skin.
  • This is indeed most crucial; because shaving correctly is the easiest and most natural way to prevent shaving rash.

Always read the label before use.


This article is an attempt to educate the patient; it is by no means a replacement for individualistic medical advice.

© 2016. Zifam Pinnacle Pty Ltd.