How Long Does Razor Burn Last?

How Long Does Razor Burn Last?

By Daniel Broadley

How Long Does Razor Burn Last?

You have a date, a job interview, or another important event coming up. You also happen to have a very visible case of razor burn. Don’t panic. Razor burn doesn’t usually last a very long time, and there are a few things you can do to help it resolve much sooner.

The most important thing to learn is how to prevent razor burn. You don’t want to be stuck in a loop of damaging your skin and fixing it. You want to prevent damage, scarring, and irritation on your face by adhering to good shaving practices and giving your skin the nutrients it needs to remain strong and smooth.

What is Razor Burn?

Razor burn is irritation of the skin as a result of shaving. It usually looks like a mild rash.The skin can be red, patchy, or even flaky in the areas where you’ve shaved. Skin affected by razor burn is usually inflamed and sensitive to the touch. Sun exposure or exposure to products with drying ingredients (like alcohol) can create a burning or stinging sensation on contact.

The Difference Between Razor Burn and Razor Bumps

There’s a big difference between razor burn and razor bumps. Razor burn is something that occurs immediately following a shave. Razor bumps are a kind of folliculitis, a skin condition arising from irritated air follicles. 

Razor bumps won’t appear until your hair begins to grow back, usually a few days after you shave. Inflammation of the hair follicles makes it harder for the blunt cut edges of the hairs to reach the surface of the skin, causing them to become trapped within the follicle. It’s similar to an ingrown hair in the fact that the hair is trapped, but not quite the same. The hair doesn’t re-enter, but never successfully leaves. 

What Causes Razor Burn?

Razor burn is one of the most common negative side effects of shaving, and a whole host of factors can contribute to it. Shaving with a dull blade is among the most common. Dull blades take a significant number of passes to successfully remove the hair from the surface of your face. Every pass you make over the same spot will irritate that spot even further. This effect can grow exponentially worse with each successive pass of the razor, as it’s still irritated from the previous pass. 

If you’re shaving in the wrong direction, you’re only irritating your skin. The razor can’t pick up the hair if it’s coming in from the wrong angle. Try as you might, it’s going to stay put. All you’re doing is harming the skin around the hair, and you won’t have anything to show for it except for razor burn.

Shaving too aggressively or shaving in a hurry can also produce razor burn. You have to give the razor an opportunity to lift and cut the hair. If you’re dragging it over as fast as you can, you’re going to slide right over the hair and grate against the skin in the process.

Finally, dry shaving is a major contributor to razor burn. If you’re completely forgoing the use of any type of shaving cream or shaving gel, you’re using blades and friction on the sensitive skin of your face. Shaving cream isn’t an optional product. It’s there to protect you from the abrasive nature of the blade. Without it, you’re going to harm your skin every time.

How Long Does Razor Burn Last?

Most people will find that razor burn clears up on its own in three or four days. It takes a while for the skin to repair its natural lipid barrier and seal moisture back into the dry and irritated portions of the skin. People with very oily skin might find that their razor burn heals faster, with the bulk of it gone within 48 hours. Those with dry or very sensitive skin might be able to see traces of razor burn for up to a week. 

Waiting it out can take a while, although it won’t be an eternity. It’s best not to wait out razor burn. Razor burn is a type of skin damage, and when your skin is damaged, you need to help it heal. Don’t reach for the first lotion you see and slather it on. Not all skincare products are created equally, and some of them might make razor burn worse.

How Can I Soothe Razor Burn?

Avoid all products containing alcohol or artificial fragrances. Both of these ingredients have a tendency to dry out the skin, and their irritant effects are exceedingly worse on skin that’s already irritated. You’ll also want to avoid any face soaps or products containing sulfates, as they remove the protective oils from the skin and can make the surface drier. 

Ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil in their pure forms are easily accessible. You probably have some around your house. They’re both natural and mild skin conditioners that can work to combat irritation and redness. Apply them liberally twice a day to your face. 

Oatmeal is naturally good at soothing skin. If your mother ever gave you an oatmeal bath as a kid, you probably remember. You can make some plain microwaved oatmeal with water, allow it to come to room temperature, and paint it on your face. Let it sit like a mask for a few minutes, and gently rinse it off.

If your razor burn is accompanied by a severe burning or itching sensation, a topical steroid cream might be a better choice. Hydrocortisone cream with aloe is only a few bucks, and you can find it at any drug store or grocery store. 

How Do I Prevent Razor Burn?

The best way to prevent razor burn is to shave your warm, wet face slowly with a very sharp blade and lots of warm lather. Razor blades or cartridges should be replaced at least once a week, especially if you shave multiple times a week. They aren’t designed to last forever, and trying to extend their lifespan will only hurt your skin.

Try shaving right out of a hot shower, while your skin is warm and wet. Using a hot lather will help to maintain that temperature, softening your hair shafts and encouraging them to absorb as much moisture as possible. This will keep them soft and easy to work with all throughout your shave.

Most importantly, take your time. Not only is it more relaxing to enjoy a long and luxurious shave, it’s much safer than trying to rush through an activity where a sharp blade is touching your face. Be patient and enjoy the moment.


The best way to treat razor burn is preemptively. It’s something you want to avoid at all costs. 

If you don’t have the time to shave carefully and prep your skin, deal with your stubble until later. A little bit of stubble is a lot easier to deal with than a lot of razor burn. Wait until you have a solid hour set aside for self care. 

Take a nice long shower, and have a slow relaxing shave.You deserve a little “me” time anyway.