Summer is coming, and we’re all starting to think about going outside and getting active – whether that’s joining a sports team, hopping on your bike or kitting-up for a jog.
However, while getting a good sweat on might be good for your quads, it can play havoc with your skin, especially if you’re a regular shaver.
One problem you will have come across at some point in your life is the dreaded razor burn. We have some top tips for how to avoid razor burn when exercising.
What causes razor burn?
Razor burn, or shaving rash, will be familiar to any woman who shaves regularly. It is a red and sore rash that crops up after you’ve shaved, usually on your bikini line or legs.
Healthline cites the causes of razor burn as poor shaving practice – shaving without cream, using dull blades, too aggressively or close, or, worst of all, dry shaving. It’s pretty unsightly and can take a few days to disappear.
You’ll find a razor burn is made much worse by chafing. Tight-fitting clothes when at the gym or running can cause a build-up of friction, heat and sweat, which irritates an already sore spot.
TOP TIP: Try to change the blades regularly – a blunt razor will damage the skin
What are razor bumps?
Another shaving problem made worse by exercise are razor bumps, or ingrown hairs. To give them their full and terrifying medical title, pseudofolliculitis, razor bumps are different to razor burn. They are caused by hairs curling under the skin and growing back in on themselves a few days after shaving. They are super painful and unsightly red or purple bumps that can take weeks to disappear.
According to the Mayo Clinic, they are more likely to afflict the curlier-haired population, but can also be caused by bad shaving technique. Shaving creates sharp edges, especially on your coarser, bikini-line hair, and pulling your skin taut forces the newly cut hair to draw back and re-enter the skin after shaving.
Sweating during a workout can also transform these little bumps into massive mountains of pain, and can lead to skin infections if the pores get clogged with sweat – especially in a hot gym environment.
TOP TIP: Have a hot bath before you shave to soften the hairs and reduce the chances of razor bumps
Also, cyclists should know that bikini-line hair removal has been discouraged by the GB cycling team because of razor bumps. A study they commissioned showed that heat and friction from the saddle damages the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) and increases the risk of ingrowing hairs and hair follicle infections. If you’re a regular cyclist, you might want to forgo shaving before a long ride.
Fool-proof guide for how to avoid razor burn and razor bumps:
- Ideally wait until you’ve finished your workout before shaving, especially after swimming, as your pores will be more open and you’re less likely to cause irritation by exercising, or from the chlorine or salt.
- Prepare yourself. Taking a post-workout shower and gently exfoliating before a shave means you are removing the top layer of dead skin cells and softening the hairs and hair follicles. This means you will have an easier shave and there is less chance of ingrown hairs afterwards.
- Use the right equipment. Razor blades blunt after around five uses, so to avoid razor burn, make sure yours is new, sharp and not rusty. Always use shaving gel and NEVER dry shave. For sensitive areas such as the bikini line you could even use a men’s facial gel, such as the Dorco Shave Gel, as it’s made for sensitive skin and coarse hair.
- Shave with the grain. While it gives a closer shave, shaving against the grain of your hair bends the hairs back and causes irritation. Try to use short, light strokes, don’t pull the skin taut and don’t go over a patch too many times. If you have to do this, you may need a new razor.
High-precision to achieve sporting perfection
With 60 years’ experience in shaving innovation, we know we have the perfect shaving tools for your sporting needs – whether you’re a full-time professional, regular amateur enthusiast, or a first-timer.
The Dorco EVE 6 Value Pack x 7 will take care of all your needs, with a top-quality razor that’s crafted for curves, as well as 7 refill cartridges. It’s currently 30% off on our website here