Sometimes after shaving, you may notice redness or bumps on your legs. This may be razor burn or razor bumps. Razor burn, or folliculitis, generally occurs immediately after shaving or when the hair is growing back. It can leave the skin on your legs red and inflamed, or with raised bumps.
Razor bumps are most likely caused by friction from the razor and ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs are caused when hair grows into your skin instead of out. They can cause pimple-like bumps on the skin.
Some people are more likely to experience razor bumps because they have curly hair or sensitive skin. Razor bumps will often go away without treatment, but there are ways to treat existing bumps and prevent more from developing.
1. Give it time
Razor burn and razor bumps on your legs should go away with time. Avoid shaving the affected areas while your legs are red or have bumps. Try to shave your legs less often to prevent bumps, such as every other day or just once or twice a week.
2. Moisturize the area
After shaving, pat your legs dry with a towel and apply a moisturizer. This will hydrate, soften, and protect your skin as well as ease any itching you may have due to razor burn or razor bumps. Find a moisturizer that is alcohol-free to avoid irritating your skin.
A moisturizer with aloe vera or shea butter can help smooth and hydrate the skin on your legs. In some cases, you may have an allergic reaction to a moisturizer or it could block your hair follicles, causing more ingrown hairs. Stop use of any product that causes these side effects.
3. Apply a cool compress
After shaving, wet a washcloth with cool water and put it on your legs for a few minutes. This may reduce redness and pain from razor rash by soothing your skin.
4. Release ingrown hairs
Razor bumps can be caused by ingrown hairs. These are hairs that are growing out but curl back into the skin and penetrate it, causing inflammation, pimple-like bumps, irritation, and itching. Exfoliating your skin before shaving can remove dead skin and help prevent ingrown hairs. Exfoliating can also help release ingrown hairs from being embedded.
Do not use needles or tweezers to dig out the ingrown hair. This can cause bacterial infections and scarring.
5. Try a home remedy
You may find that a home remedy soothes your razor burn or razor bumps. Try making an aspirin paste with two uncoated tablets of aspirin and a teaspoon of water. Dilute the aspirin and apply to the razor bumps for a quarter of an hour.
Other razor burn remedies you can find in your home include:
- coconut oil
- aloe vera
- witch hazel
- tea tree oil
Before using this to treat your razor burn, do a small patch test on your skin to make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction. Then spread a thin layer over the skin with razor burn. Let it sit for 15–20 minutes, and then rinse it with cool water.
6. Use a topical cream
Razor bumps that look inflamed or are taking extra time to heal may be aided with a topical steroid. These creams will reduce inflammation. You can find hydrocortisone creams at your local drugs stores. If you don’t notice any changes in your razor burn after two to three days, call your doctor. They can prescribe prescription strength steroids and antibiotics to treat infection.
See a doctor
Watch your razor burn and razor bumps closely. If they do not get better within two to three days, you should see your doctor. Razor burn and razor bumps may cause an infection, which needs to be treated with topical or oral medications.
Severe razor bumps could also lead to scarring or darkening of your skin. Your doctor can help you treat the razor burn or razor bumps and also direct you to any special products you should use to avoid this condition.
If you experience razor burn or razor bumps in other areas of your body, you can use many of these treatment methods. In most cases, it’s best to let the razor burn or razor bumps heal on their own before shaving again.
Try to avoid razor burns and razor bumps altogether by practicing good shaving habits.
- too frequently
- on dry skin
- with an old razor
- with products that irritate your skin
- against the grain of your hair
- too close to the skin by pulling it when you shave
Never shave your legs if they’re dry, and try to shave at the end of your bath or shower. This will ensure you’ve exfoliated your skin, washing away dead skin cells, and that you’ve opened your pores up by prolonged exposure to warm water.
Avoid single-use razors and replace your razor after five to seven uses. Make sure to rinse the razor well after every use. Try a shaving lotion rather than soap, which may irritate or dry out your legs.
To find the grain of your hair, first look to determine which way your hair is growing. Take your hand and move it along your leg. If your hair is being pushed down, you are following the grain. If it’s being pushed up, you’re going against the grain.
Razor burn or razor bumps on your legs will clear up with time, as long as you treat your skin gently and avoid irritating your legs further. You should avoid shaving the inflamed area until it clears up to avoid worsening the condition. Use the aforementioned tips to soothe your skin while it heals. See your doctor if your razor burn or razor bumps have not healed on their own or if you suspect an infection or another condition.