Woman running without razor burn on her legs

How to avoid razor burn when working out

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Do men shave their legs for sport? This photo of men running demonstrates

Why do men shave their legs to play sport?

It is well known that athletes in a variety of sports shave their body hair before competing. But why do men shave their legs and what benefit do sportsmen get from shaving?

The topic was thrusted into the public eye in September 2017, when Real Madrid footballer Marco Asensio missed a Champions League game due to an injury acquired while shaving his legs.

Asensio’s injury was widely teased across social media. However, it does highlight the very real need to shave properly if you want to avoid a mishap. Nobody wants to let their team down or miss a big race due to a self-inflicted injury.

Why do athletes shave their bodies?

A lot of research has been carried out into the effects of shaving on sport performance, and some of the findings are very impressive.

Shaving for swimmers

It’s a popular misconception that swimmers mainly shave their bodies to be more aerodynamic in the water, which has been described as only partially true by Alex Kostich from ACTIVE.

Shaving also removes dead skin, increasing a swimmer’s sensitivity to the water, and making them feel they are moving faster.

This was proven by the American College of Sports Medicine, which studied two groups of shaved and non-shaved swimmers during a 400-yard swim. The shaved group showed more efficient performance, with significantly reduced blood lactate and VO2 max (the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise). Their stroke length was also increased.

Shaving for cyclists

The aerodynamic benefits of shaving for cyclists are more concrete. In wind-tunnel testing conducted in 2015 that has since been endorsed by British Cycling, cyclists who shaved their legs also shaved an average of 70 seconds from their time over 40km.

Cyclists also shave as a preventive measure. In the event of a crash, the resulting ‘road rash’ is much easier to treat and clean when the body is hairless.

Shaving for runners

The benefits for runners are slightly less obvious, but they do exist. For example, Canadian Running Magazine says these benefits include the easier application of sunscreen, which is particularly useful for long-distance running in a hot climate.

Additionally, a study in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (MSSE) journal has concluded that removal of hair can contribute to time savings, ranging from 0.01 seconds in the 100m to 5.7 seconds over the course of a marathon.
In a sport of photo-finishes, 0.01 seconds could make all the difference.

Shaving for football

Finally, for footballers like poor Marco Asensio, there are performance reasons to shave your legs.

According to St Louis FC player Matt Sheldon, one reason is to aid therapeutic massages. He said: “When you’re getting massages constantly on your legs… it really pulls on your hair.” This is also an established practice for cyclists and runners.

Many soccer players also shave their legs to make the removal of bandages or support tape less painful. These are often worn by many players at all levels of the game.

Tips when shaving for sport

If you do want to shave a few seconds from your personal best, perhaps starting with your legs, here are some quick tips to do it safely:

1)    Trim the hair down first with a beard trimmer or scissors.

2)    Run a hot bath and soak in it for a while. This will soften the hairs and make them much easier to shave.

3)    Use a top-quality razor, paying particular attention to the razor’s ability to ‘clean’ i.e. removing the cut hairs efficiently from between the blades.

4)    Once you are done, pat your legs dry and apply plenty of moisturiser. Your legs will feel strange the next time you put trousers on, but that’s totally normal.

The perfect sports shaving partner

With 60 years’ experience in shaving innovation, we know we have the perfect shaving partner for your sporting needs – whether you’re a full-time professional, regular amateur enthusiast, or a first-timer.

The Dorco PACE 6 Plus Shave Gel Kit will take care of all your needs, with a top-quality razor and Shave Gel to help you Get Closer to your goals.