While razor burn may clear up in 2 to 3 days, razor burn may take up to 2 to 3 weeks to completely disappear. In the meantime, treatments can help manage some of the symptoms.

Razor burn and razor bumps are skin conditions triggered by shaving. Razor burn happens right after you shave, while razor bumps happen a few days or weeks later when your hair starts to grow back.

Both can cause irritation and discomfort, but razor burn and razor bumps typically resolve on their own.

Razor burn appears within an hour or two after shaving. It can be caused by:

  • using an old razor
  • shaving too quickly
  • shaving in the wrong direction
  • shaving over skin that’s dry

Razor burn symptoms include:

  • itching
  • redness
  • flaking

Razor burn symptoms may start fading within a few hours, but they could take 2 or 3 days to disappear completely. To help symptoms resolve quickly, keep the skin moisturized.

Razor bumps are ingrown hairs caused by shaving.

When hair grows back in a shaved area, strands sometimes curl inward and grow back into your skin, causing red, itchy bumps that might contain pus. It’s more common in people with coarse or tightly coiled hair, which is more likely to curl inward.

Unlike razor burn, which shows up right after shaving, razor bumps can take days to appear. They also take a longer to go away and can leave scars in some cases.

Razor bumps tend to resolve on their own, within 2 or 3 weeks of shaving. However, some people get them with every shave. This causes a cycle of shaving, which leads to razor bumps, then healing. Re-shaving the area triggers the bumps again.

Razor burn and razor bumps typically go away on their own and don’t require treatment. But the following tips may help relieve symptoms and support the healing process:

You can also try using over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams to help with inflammation and itching.

Read more about how to get rid of razor burn and razor bumps.

You can reduce your chances of experiencing razor burn or razor bumps by keeping the following in mind next time you shave:

  • Always exfoliate before shaving with a loofah, washcloth, or gentle body scrub.
  • Expose your skin to steam or warm water for a few minutes before shaving to soften hair and loosen any embedded hairs.
  • If possible, try to keep hair at least 0.5 millimeters long to avoid ingrown hairs. If you prefer to be clean-shaven, try to shave daily with light strokes.
  • Never dry shave. Always use a conditioner, shaving cream, or body oil on your skin before shaving.
  • Avoid pulling your skin taut as you shave.
  • Make sure you shave in the direction your hair grows.
  • Regularly replace razors. The typical lifespan of a disposable razor is 2 to 3 weeks, or about 10 shaves.
  • Use sunscreen on skin that’s been freshly shaved, or avoid the sun altogether for several hours after shaving.

If you’re prone to razor bumps, you may want to consider switching to an electric trimmer. Some people find that these result in fewer razor bumps than razors.

While you can usually manage razor burn and razor bumps on your own, you’ll want to talk with a healthcare professional if you notice:

  • sweet-smelling pus coming out of razor bumps
  • non-stop bleeding from razor burn or razor bumps
  • razor bumps that aren’t healing after a couple of weeks

These symptoms could indicate that what you’re experiencing isn’t actually razor burn or razor bumps, but another condition, like pustular psoriasis or tinea barbae.

If you get razor burn or razor bumps every time you shave, consider talking with a dermatologist. You may have sensitive skin or hair that’s more prone to folliculitis.

If that’s the case, they may prescribe a topical treatment to reduce inflammation. These might include:

Razor burn usually clears up within 2 or 3 days. Razor bumps, on the other hand, can take 2 weeks or more to go away and may come back each time you shave.

If your symptoms don’t resolve within a few weeks, talk with a healthcare professional to rule out other causes of your symptoms or explore prescription treatment.