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What razor burn looks like
If you’ve recently shaved your vulva or labia — the exterior skin in the genital area — and have an unexplained itchiness, you might be dealing with razor burn. Razor burn will usually appear as a red rash. You may also develop one or more red bumps. The bumps may feel as though they’re “burning” and be tender to the touch.
These symptoms can occur anywhere that you shave — your entire bikini area, on your labia, and even in the crease of your thigh. You may have symptoms in one area of skin and not the rest, even if you shaved the entire area at the same time.
In some cases, these symptoms can also be a sign of sexually transmitted disease (STD). Keep reading for more on how to correctly diagnose razor burn, how to ease your symptoms, and how to prevent razor burn from coming back.
- Am I experiencing other symptoms, like body aches or fever?
- Does the bump have a smooth or jagged edge?
- Is the sore open or closed?
The first thing to look out for is pain — are the bumps tender to the touch? Slightly painful or sensitive bumps are usually caused by razor burn or ingrown hairs. But if you’re experiencing other symptoms — like body aches, fever, and headache — these bumps may be the result of genital herpes.
You’ll also want to determine whether the bumps are smooth or jagged. If you have a smooth, painless bump emerging from your skin, chances are it’s a simple skin tag. But if the bump is jagged, or rough like a cauliflower, it could be a genital wart.
Next, look to see if the bumps are open or closed. Razor bumps, pimples, and rashes usually cause bumps that remain closed. Bumps resulting from herpes will develop into an open sore and scab over after a few days.
If you suspect that your bumps may be the result of something other than razor burn, see your doctor. They can assess your symptoms and advise you on any next steps.
Treating razor burn is usually as easy as waiting out your symptoms. Unless you’re experiencing extreme discomfort, leave the area alone and let the issue resolve on its own. You should avoid shaving the affected area for a few weeks to prevent further irritation.
But if you’re dealing with extreme pain or itchiness, you may want to consider your options for treatment. Oftentimes, you can use the things you have at home to find relief.
If you need relief fast, reach for a cool compress or apply a spot treatment. But if you have some time to kill, soaking in the bathtub may help you find long-term relief.
Cool compress. A cool compress can help soothe irritated skin and reduce redness. Wrap a couple of ice cubes in a paper towel and apply it to the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes, several times a day.
Warm compress. A warm compress can help kill bacteria and reduce swelling. Wet a cloth or paper towel and warm it in the microwave for about 45 seconds. It should be warm, but still comfortable to the touch. Hold this to the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Reheat and reapply as needed.
Honey. Raw honey has
Cotton and other loose fabrics. If you’re wearing skinny jeans or other tight bottoms, change into something more comfortable. Cotton breathes better than most fabrics, reducing sweat and other irritation. Looser bottoms can also help the area breathe and reduce friction.
Oatmeal bath. Colloidal oatmeal
If home remedies aren’t doing the trick, you may want to hit up your kitchen cabinet or corner store. Although more research is needed, these natural remedies are said to help ease irritation.
Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has
Aloe vera. Aloe vera is a traditional remedy for
Witch hazel. Witch hazel is a
Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a
Over-the-counter medications can also help with razor burn. They usually come in the form of topical creams. Look for one that contains hydrocortisone, which works to reduce swelling and calm skin redness.
You shouldn’t shave the affected area again until your symptoms have cleared.
Once the area has healed, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you don’t experience another episode of razor burn.
To get a razor burn-free shave:
- Trim the area. This prevents hairs from snagging and getting caught in the razor. Use a sterilized pair of baby scissors to cut hair down to a quarter-inch.
- Get in the shower. The hot steam will soften the hair follicles and make for a softer, smoother shave.
- Exfoliate. This helps remove dead skin cells, bringing ingrown hairs to the surface. You can use a body brush to exfoliate in the shower, or add a salicylic acid-based exfoliant to your routine.
- Lather up. Wash with a fragrance-free antibacterial wash so that if you accidentally cut yourself, you’re already working to prevent an infection and irritation.
- Use a shaving product. Use a shaving cream with soothing ingredients, like aloe vera, to help prevent both irritation.
- Shave in the right direction. Shaving with the grain, or in the direction of hair growth, can help prevent razor burn. To get an even closer chave, pull skin taut with one hand while shaving with the other. Work in small sections, using short strokes, and shave slowly.
- Pat dry. After you get out of the shower, pat the area dry. Pulling and tugging the skin can lead to irritation.
- Moisturize. This can help create a protective barrier and prevent the area from drying out. You can use something as simple as Aquaphor, or opt for special rash-reducing creams.
You’ll also want to rinse and replace your razor regularly. This will help prevent the blades from getting dull and irritating your skin when you shave.
(Video) Vaginal Itching, Burning, Irritation - Don't Ignore These Signs!
Razor burn is a common condition, but it can be stressful if you aren’t sure about what’s going on down below. Pay close attention to your symptoms, and check in with your doctor if you’re experiencing anything unusual. Razor burn usually clears up in a few days, so if your symptoms persist, have your doctor take a look.
How do you prevent an infection after shaving down there? ›
Use benzoyl peroxide on the ingrown hair when you shower or bathe. This may help heal the ingrown hair and prevent infection. Press a warm, clean, wet washcloth against the ingrown hair.Can you get STD from razor burn? ›
You cannot get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from shaving.What can I put on pubic area to prevent razor burn? ›
“A great way to prevent razor burn is by keeping the skin around the bikini line really healthy, like with Fur Oil,” says Kaiser. “This is an oil you apply for a few days before or after hair removal that is antiseptic and helps soften hair and hair regrowth.How do I know if I have razor bumps or STD? ›
The first thing to look out for is pain — are the bumps tender to the touch? Slightly painful or sensitive bumps are usually caused by razor burn or ingrown hairs. But if you're experiencing other symptoms — like body aches, fever, and headache — these bumps may be the result of genital herpes.Can razor bumps cause STDS? ›
The act of grooming with razors or shavers can cause tiny tears in the skin, through which viruses and bacteria could pass, such as herpes, syphilis and HPV.Can I get chlamydia from razor? ›
It is very unlikely for an STD to spread by sharing a razor, unlike sharing needles, which is a high-risk behavior.Why do I keep getting razor burn down there? ›
Razor burn occurs after shaving. It can be caused by multiple issues during shaving such as using an old razor with a dull blade, shaving in the incorrect direction, shaving dry skin, and shaving too quickly.How do you get rid of razor burn down there overnight? ›
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera is known for soothing and healing burns. ...
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil is used in cooking, but it's also great for your skin. ...
- Sweet almond oil. ...
- Tea tree oil. ...
- Witch hazel. ...
- Baking soda paste. ...
- Cold and warm compresses. ...
- Colloidal oatmeal bath.
But if you do have symptoms, you might notice: • An unusual discharge, with a strong smell, from your vagina. Discomfort when you urinate and when you have sex. Irritation or itching around your genitals. If the infection spreads, you might get lower abdominal pain, pain during sex, nausea, or fever.What kind of STD gives you bumps? ›
If passed through sexual contact, painless bumps appear on the abdomen, groin, genitals, buttocks, or thighs two weeks to six months after contact. Over several weeks the bumps become firm, waxy, pinkish-white and raised with a small crater in the centre. They usually disappear within six months.
Do STDs cause itchy bumps? ›
While many STDs affect urinary and reproductive health, some can also contribute to dermatological symptoms, including rashes, eczema, and otherwise dry, itchy skin.How do you treat STD bumps? ›
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics, often in a single dose, can cure many sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. ...
- Antiviral drugs. If you have herpes or HIV , you'll be prescribed an antiviral drug.
In addition, hair follicles produce sebum, an oil which actually prevents bacteria from reproducing. It follows that pubic hair may protect against certain infections, including: cellulitis. sexually transmitted infections (STIs)How do you know if you have an STD without getting tested? ›
- an unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus.
- pain when peeing.
- lumps or skin growths around the genitals or bottom (anus)
- a rash.
- unusual vaginal bleeding.
- itchy genitals or anus.
- blisters and sores around your genitals or anus.
- warts around your genitals or anus.
- pain when urinating.
- unusual vaginal discharge.
- pain in the tummy or pelvis.
- pain during sex.
- bleeding after sex.
- bleeding between periods.
Laboratory tests can diagnose chlamydia. Your healthcare provider may ask you to provide a urine sample for testing, or they might use (or ask you to use) a cotton swab to get a vaginal sample.Can shaving down there cause infection? ›
From the gynecologist's perspective, shaving regularly to eliminate pubic hair has drawbacks. Razors harbor bacteria and cause some abrasion of the skin; especially in a moist environment. This creates a setup for a bacterial skin infection.Is it normal to get a yeast infection after shaving? ›
There is no data linking pubic hair grooming of any kind with vaginal yeast infections. Remember, the vagina is inside your body and the areas of the vulva that have pubic hair are on the outside (where clothes touch the skin).