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Itchy from Shaving?

How to beat and treat

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Itchy from Shaving?
AleksandarNakic / IStock Photo

Getting itchy from shaving is a common side effect, but one that can easily be prevented and treated. Often it's because the skin is dry or irritated. And with some simple care your skin can be hair-free without wanting to scratch it after every time you pick up the razor.

What's going on your skin?

A high alcohol content in shaving gel or cream, or aftershave can dry skin out (if it already isn't), make it itch, feel overly tight or leave it red. Also fragrances and other ingredients may be irritating or causing an allergic reaction, from mild to severe.

Choose products containing little to no alcohol (it shouldn't be at the beginning of ingredients list). Look for moisturizing and soothing ingredients like aloe vera, natural oils, vitamin e and glycerin.

If fragrance tends to cause a reaction, opt for fragrance-free products or ones that use essential oils. However we can be allergic to any ingredient, man-made or natural. And what causes a reaction for one person may not for another.

Do you feel like the alcohol in the aftershave 'closes' your pores and prevents pimples? Finish your shower with cool water or splash some on at the sink to get a healthy tight-skin sensation. And be assured that a good quality aftershave will have ingredients to fight bacteria that can lead to pimples and infections.

Rinse and pat dry

If shaving cream or gel isn't completely removed the leftover residue can encourage redness, dryness and itchiness. Be sure to rinse thoroughly, making sure all traces are gone.

After coming out of the shower or bath, pat skin dry instead of rubbing. A towel can rub your skin the wrong way and not make a pretty picture.

Is it Razor Burn?

Also called razor rash, it's a serious irritation that can be somewhat mild to very severe. Redness, burning, soreness, itchiness and skin that looks scratched are classic signs. Read more: How to Prevent Razor Burn.

Not to be confused with razor bumps or ingrown hair, where the hair is growing in the skin.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Shaving exfoliates skin and we really need to moisturize and protect it. Using a couple drops of pre-shaving oil (compare prices) under the cream or gel not only provides moisture power but helps create a barrier on the skin, so the razor glides instead of pulls. Finish off with an aftershave lotion, oil or balm.

Don't think this step is only for the guys, it's for you too ladies. Well hydrated skin not only affects how it feels, but how it looks. We all want a healthy, glowing complexion. Not dry, flake city.

Have you ever noticed it tends to itch more after shaving where there's thicker hair, like underarms, on a man's face or the bikini zone? Shaving creates a sharp tip and coarse hair pokes when growing. A daily dose of lotion or oil softens hair a bit making it less prickly. If it really needs some intense help, slap on some hair conditioner while showering, wait and rinse off.

Be careful of…

  • Hot water. It feels good in the bath or shower, but depletes moisture. Use warm instead.
  • Deodorants and deodorant soaps. Strong bacteria fighters can really strip skin and zap moisture. Good choices are moisturizing deodorant soaps that use natural oils and essential oils to prevent odor. Deodorants with cream bases tend to be gentler and provide some ingredients to hydrate and replenish over watery roll-ons and sprays, where alcohol is often the first ingredient.
  • Bump-fighters. They do a good job fighting ingrown hair and razor bumps because of using powerful exfoliators to remove dead skin cells so the hair can release from skin and point up. But over time with many applications it may be too much exfoliating combined with shaving and make skin scream. Use only as directed or apply less often.
  • Swimming pools, hot tubs, tanning beds and a lot of direct sun. The high chlorine content in pools and hot tubs, along with the high temperatures in the latter are not a skin's friend. Tanning, either by bed or by beach, can cause nasty burns not to mention dry, itchy, flaky skin.
  • What you're wearing (or not). Hair provides some protection. When it's gone, skin is more susceptible to chaffing from clothes that are too tight. The friction created from hairless thighs rubbing together when wearing a skirt sans hose (especially when it's hot or humid) can also cause a rash that begs for scratching.

I'm itchy now

  • Aloe vera gel. It not only soothes and moisturizes, but helps heal and take out that sting.
  • Hydrocortisone cream. Easy to pick up at the drugstore and works for most people quickly.
  • Colloidal oatmeal baths. There's a reason why babies with diaper rash and people with chicken pox soak in this. Don't let the fancy name confuse you, it's just ground up oatmeal. Sold at the store, but can easily be made at home (get directions). A good choice when it's your legs or bikini zone needing help.
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