The Best Ways To Get Rid Of & Prevent Red Bumps From Shaving, According To Dermatologists

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by Madison Barber

If you shave your body often, chances are you’ve run into the problem of angry red bumps more than once. While ingrown hairs and razor burns are common issues, they’re also totally preventable according to dermatologists, a few of whom told me tips and tricks for smooth, hydrated, and bump-free post-shave skin.

The secret to a perfect shaving routine doesn’t involve a total transformation of the one you already have, nor does it entail you having to break the bank for some miracle product that will make your bumps go away instantaneously. In fact, the experts say that just a few quick steps in your routine can help prevent or get rid of those bumps for good. And those steps can be helped by a variety of affordable, effective, and reviewer-loved products from Amazon that you can seamlessly incorporate into your shaving routine (and your pre- and post-shaving routine as well).

These dermatologists stress the importance of exfoliation before you shave, a process that can be completed efficiently with an exfoliating brush or mitt, as well as how crucial it is to have a soothing moisturizer on hand to add moisture back into the skin after your shower. Keep reading to discover the 20 tips and tricks each dermatologist gave me to help prevent aggravated bumps post-shave, and the Amazon products available to help you get your calmest, silkiest skin yet.


Incorporate A Salicylic Acid Body Wash Into Your Shower Routine

Dr. Brendan Camp, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist explained how dead skin cells trap your pores and hair under the skin, forming those angry red bumps you see typically after you shave. “Using a cleanser that contains ingredients that help exfoliate skin may also help prevent red shaving bumps. Ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid help remove dead skin cells atop pores that may otherwise block pores and trap hairs under the skin,” he says. This body wash is formulated with salicylic acid, so incorporating this step into your routine is as easy as lathering this wash over your body when you shower.


Moisturize Using A Lotion With Keratolytic Agents

As with your body wash, your body lotion should have some exfoliating ingredients in it to target frequent bumps. Dr. Camp mentions that "moisturizers that contain keratolytic agents, ingredients that help break apart dead skin cells and remove them from the skin, can help prevent ingrown hair formation.” With one of the major keratolytic agents being lactic acid, this body lotion with 12% lactic acid should help do the trick. And with its 8-ounce bottle, this lotion is sure to last you a long time.


Start Your Shaving Routine With A Moisturizing Shaving Cream

Before you grab your razor, lather the areas you plan on shaving with a moisturizing shave cream. According to Dr. Camp, “shaving skin without a gel or cream is more likely to cause abrasions and irritation,” so you might want to stock up on a cream like this vanilla-scented shaving cream, which has moisturizing, soothing ingredients like jojoba oil, shea butter, and aloe vera in its formula.


Lather On A Soothing Moisturizer With Aloe Vera & Shea Butter Post-Shave

Clinical dermatologist and researcher Dr. Enrizza P. Factor says that moisturizing your skin after shaving is vital. “After shaving, pat your legs dry with a towel and apply a moisturizer. This will hydrate, soften, and protect your skin as well as ease any itching you may have due to razor burn or razor bumps. Find a moisturizer that is alcohol-free to avoid irritating your skin. A moisturizer with aloe vera or shea butter can help smooth and hydrate the skin on your legs,” she explains. This body and face moisturizer is made with both of those hydrating, soothing ingredients, and deeply absorbs into the skin for moisture that lasts all day.


Use Cold Water & A Washcloth As A Soothing Compress For Irritated Areas

Dr. Factor mentions another easy trick you probably haven’t thought of before: “Apply a cool compress after shaving. Wet a washcloth with cool water and put it on your legs for a few minutes. This may reduce redness and pain from razor rash by soothing your skin.” Replace your old rags with this soft Turkish cotton washcloth set (they come in a pack of four) for the most comfortable compress.


Exfoliate Your Skin To Prevent Ingrown Hairs

If you’ve ever wondered how ingrown hairs form, Dr. Factor explains: “Razor bumps can be caused by ingrown hairs. These are hairs that are growing out but curl back into the skin and penetrate it, causing inflammation, pimple-like bumps, irritation, and itching.” The best way to prevent these is to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate with an exfoliating brush like this one. “Exfoliating your skin before shaving can remove dead skin and help prevent ingrown hairs. Exfoliating can also help release ingrown hairs from being embedded,” she elaborates.


Use A Shaving Gel With Soothing Agents

If you have extra-sensitive skin, make sure the shaving gel or cream you’re using has ingredients that soothe your skin while you shave, like the oat and vitamin E found in this Aveeno shave gel. Georgia-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Clay knows that one of the secrets to non-irritated skin is to “[...]always use a moisturizing body wash or shave cream when shaving,” and these soothing ingredients will help keep even the most sensitive skin moisturized.


Treat Inflamed Areas With Hydrocortisone Cream

What happens if you screwed up your shave routine, and now you’re left with an itchy, bumpy rash? “Tips for treatment: use hydrocortisone cream twice daily for a couple days after shaving to calm inflammation,” notes Dr. Clay. She recommends CeraVe’s hydrocortisone cream, which can be used on plenty of other itchy skin conditions as well (shout out to my fellow eczema-havers who know this cream well).


Keep Razor Irritation & Scarring At Bay With A Soothing Oil

Dr. Clay also suggests a calming oil to help with inflamed, angry skin and ingrown hairs, specifically this treatment oil from Bushbalm. This oil is suitable for all skin types, and uses jojoba, grapeseed, tea tree, and copaiba oils to soothe the skin. Use some of this within two minutes of exiting the shower for the best results.


Switch To A Safety Razor For A Less Painful Shave

Board-certified dermatologist and founder of AmberNoon Dr. Erum Ilyas gives some intel about what actually causes razor burn: “The term 'razor burn' generally references an irritation in the skin after shaving. This can result from a few different triggers. A razor that offers too 'close' a shave can cut both hair and sometimes the surface of the skin as well. As the razor glides across the skin it may inadvertently shave keratin and the surface of the epidermis. This can lead the skin feeling abraded and raw similar to a superficial burn.” She suggests using a safety razor to prevent this type of burn — this is also a great eco-friendly razor option, and comes with five additional blades as replacements when yours get dull.


Pat On An After Shave For Extra Hydration Post-Shave

Dr. Ilyas notes that if you have particularly dry and flaky skin, not only should you utilize a hydrating shaving cream or gel, but also a hydrating aftershave. This aftershave comes in a cooling gel formula that soothes irritated, razor-burned skin with salicylic acid, caffiene, and other soothing, softening ingredients.


Use An Exfoliating Mitt To Prevent Irritations

To prevent irritations like follicilitis, which occurs when bacteria enters the hair follicle, Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Connecticut-based Modern Dermatology PC, says that you need to “gently exfoliate and clean the skin before shaving.” This exfoliating mitt is the perfect tool to make scrubbing your skin pre-shave easy — just add water.


Replace Your Razor Heads To Keep Your Blades In The Best Shape

One of the simplest ways to prevent any post-shave skin issues? Dr. Robinson says to “use a clean, sharp razor and shave in the direction of hair growth.” This razor comes with two extra blades, so you can easily replace them once yours is getting too dull and overused to produce a non-irritating shave. This one is especially made for pubic hair, too, with an irritation defense bar that barely touches the skin, only your hair.


Apply A Barrier Ointment To Soothe Angry Skin & Prevent Further Irritation

“Apply a barrier ointment to any irritated places that will rub against clothing or another areas of skin,” Dr. Robinson suggests. Her first pick for a barrier ointment? This Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment, which comes in an unscented, non-greasy formula that soothes dry and irritated skin. Best of all, this comes with a Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association, so it works for those with sensitive skin types.


Use The Holy Grail Aquaphor Ointment For Any Irritated Or Dry Patches

Dr. Robinson’s second pick for a barrier ointment? Aquaphor, AKA, the holy grail healing ointment you need in your medicine cabinet. This 14-ounce jar will help remedy all of your skin irritation needs with its formula that includes 41% skin protecting petrolatum. Beyone razor burn and ingrown hairs, it can even be used on your cracked lips, feet, and hands.


Decrease Abrasion With An Electric Razor

"Consider switching to an electric razor,” says Dr. Sheilagh Maguiness, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of male-oriented skincare company Stryke Club. “An electric razor will gently lift up the hair during removal, which leads less abrasion/irritation at the level of the hair follicle.” This cordless, rechargeable razor comes with three high-performance high-speed blades and an LED light that shows you even the finest hairs.


Lock In Moisture While The Skin Is Still Damp With A Hydrating Lotion

Dr. Maguiness suggests you “remember to use a moisturizer right after shaving while the skin is still wet — this will help lock in moisture and repair the skin barrier.” This moisturizing lotion from tried-and-true skincare brand Cetaphil offers lightweight hydration from an easy-to-use pump that lasts for 24 hours. It can be used as a facial moisturizer as well as a body lotion.


Make The Process Of Replacing Your Blades Simple With A Single-Blade Razor

Dr. Maguiness stresses how crucial it is to wash your razor blades and change them frequently "if you are using a straight blade razor” or any razor, that is. These straight razors come in a pack of nine, which means you can toss them and switch them out the moment they get dull. Ideal for shaving your face or intimate areas, these blades have over 114,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.


Use A Shaving Brush For Gentle Exfoliation & A Thicker Lather

If you’ve never heard of a shaving brush, you’ll probably want to snag one after hearing Dr. Debra Jaliman, NYC-based board-certified dermatologist, professor, and author, explain its purpose. “It’s best if you can prevent razor bumps to begin with. So it’s important to shave at the end of a shower when the hairs are hydrated. It also helps to use a shaving brush to lift the hairs off the skin surface,” she says. This shaving brush is made from 100% badger hair, comes with a handy stand, and can even help increase the lather of your shaving cream.


Find Disposable Razors With Lubricating Features For A Smoother Shave

Dr. Jaliman also knows the importance of a sharp razor, even recommending you to “use a disposable razor and throw it out each time.” If you’re willing to do that for the sharpest blades and smoothest shave ever, consider this 14-pack of disposable mini razors from BIC, which even have aloe vera and vitamin E to help lubricate and soothe the skin while they shave.