Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Prevent Shaving Rash


Shaving with Warm Water
You can help prevent shaving rash by taking advantage of the warm water and steam in the shower.
You can help prevent shaving rash by taking advantage of the warm water and steam in the shower.
©iStockphoto.com/InspiredFootage

When using a standard razor, there are certain methods you can use to help prevent shaving rash. First, take a shower immediately before you shave. Ideally, you'll be able to shave in the shower (or bath, if you're shaving your legs). Allow the water to make direct contact for several minutes with the area to be shaved. Take your time -- after several minutes of exposure to steam and warm water, your hairs will become quite soft. Now, when you shave them, they won't be as sharp at the ends and won't be as likely to pierce the skin should they curl back into it. Also, the skin will swell slightly after you've been in the shower for several minutes. This makes for a less-than-ideal shave under normal circumstances, since it leaves behind stubble once you've shaved and your post-shower skin has tightened back up, but this is desirable for those dealing with shaving rash.

Anyone who's gotten an "old-fashioned" shave from a barber (or seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon) knows that a barber will cover your face with a warm washcloth for several minutes before getting started. Warm water on the skin serves several purposes:

  • Warm water makes hairs stand up, which makes shaving easier.
  • Warm water relaxes the skin, giving it a looser feel. This will prevent you from shaving too close, as you would with taut skin.
  • Warm water also opens up your pores and helps keep them clean. Clogged pores will result in acne that disturbs the smooth surface of the skin, potentially blocking or redirecting hairs that otherwise would grow out normally away from the face.
  • Warm water will help prevent the tips of hairs from being sharp, as the hair will both stand up during shaving and give slightly when the razor passes over, creating a more rounded hair tip.

What, besides warm water, will improve your shave while helping to prevent shaving rash? Proper shaving techniques, as we'll learn in the next section.


More to Explore