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The Causes of Razor Burn

The Causes of Razor Burn

Published by Tim Finney on Jul 14th 2023

Since shaving is something you have to do every day, you might as well learn to do it correctly. Many men assume they’re shaving the right way, especially if they’ve been shaving for a long time, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re starting to notice any type of razor irritation, such as redness or bumpiness, not to worry because it is usually caused by one of several different scenarios, but once you know what they are, you can easily fix it.

Man putting shaving cream on his face

What is Razor Burn?

Razor burn can be identified by a red rash that has streaks in it or a small patch of skin that is irritated and red. Razor burn can sting, itch, swell, and become very tender to the touch, none of which are pleasant. Razor burn is different from razor bumps, which cause tiny red bumps on your face, usually in the same location. Nevertheless, here are some things you can do to prevent razor burn when you shave:

1. Make Sure Your Skin is Wet 

Some people, in an effort to shave quickly, put either no water or very little water on their face first, but this is one of the main razor burn causes. Dry skin will always get irritated when the razor glides over it, which is why you always need to have a wet face before you shave, and make sure you use a shaving cream or shaving gel for less irritation. The gel or cream allows for the razor to glide over your face more easily and more smoothly.

Even if you’re in a hurry, always resist the temptation to shave your face when it’s completely dry because you need at least some moisture on the skin to avoid any type of razor irritation.

2. Don’t Use Too Many Strokes

It is very tempting to stroke the skin more than once, but it’s simply not necessary. In fact, most areas of the skin need only one stroke, possibly two, in order to get the job done, yet the average man uses roughly three times more strokes than they need. When you’re considering the main razor burn causes, keep this one in mind because it is important. Remember: one or two strokes per section of skin, and that’s it.

3. Always Use the Right Products

First of all, if you have sensitive skin, then you should be using only products made specifically for sensitive skin. This means no soap and no products that contain alcohol, sulfates, menthol, preservatives, or any type of fragrance or perfume. At Timothy’s Skincare, all of our products are made for people with sensitive skin, so you can order all of them without this concern.

4. Make Sure You Shave in the Right Direction

When you’re looking for the causes of your razor burn, this one might seem immaterial, but in fact it is crucial to shave in the direction that the hair is growing, not against it. This allows for a cleaner and more efficient shave and therefore, a lot less razor irritation that can cause a burning sensation and a lot of discomfort. Shaving in the right direction also allows the hairs to stand up better, which also results in a more comfortable shave.

5. Don’t Shave Too Fast

Even if you’re in a hurry, never shave too quickly. This inadvertently causes you to use too many strokes and ignore obvious problems, such as your face being too dry. Simply put, one of the main razor burn causes includes not paying attention to what you’re doing and therefore going way too fast to do the job properly. Always take your time when you’re shaving any part of your body!

6. Never Press Too Hard with the Blade

This one is a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by how many people do it anyway. Once again, if you’re in a hurry, it’s even easier to stroke your face with too much pressure, which in some cases can automatically cause irritation and redness. Too much pressure does not equal removing more hair from your face; it just means you’re getting too much irritation but nothing else.

7. Always Make Sure Your Razor Blade is Sharp

When it comes to the causes of razor burn, using a dull blade is a common culprit. Most experts recommend changing your razor blade every 4-5 shaves, but some people need to replace it even more often than that. Dull blades can cause a lot of razor irritation that may not be felt until after your shave is complete, which naturally is too late to prevent the irritation from occurring. A nice sharp blade means a much more efficient and comfortable shave every time.

8. Make Sure You Use a Moisturizer After You Shave

After your shave is complete, you should apply a moisturizer to the skin, which can be either lotion or even an oil. After you shave, wait just a few minutes to let the skin pores settle a little, then apply the moisturizer. Even if you finish shaving and your skin feels fine, it needs a good moisturizer to help it heal better after shaving, which is always at least a little harsh on the skin.

What to Do If You Suffer with Razor Irritation

Precision 5 Blade Razor System

If you haven’t been following the tips mentioned above, you might not be familiar with the razor burn causes and therefore, you might have red or irritated skin right now. If you’re currently suffering with any type of razor burn or irritation, you can:

  • Buy a higher-quality 5 blade razor
  • Always use short strokes
  • Place a cool washcloth over your face for about 5 minutes
  • Rinse the blade often, preferably after 1-2 strokes
  • Consider applying a light layer of moisturizer before you shave


Taking care of your skin requires knowing some of the main causes of razor burn and all types of razor irritation, but the good news is that once you get into the routine of abiding by these rules, you’ll worry less and less about any type of burning or stinging on your skin. It is actually very simple to avoid these problems so you won’t have to deal with them again.

About the Author

Tim Finney is the Founder/CEO of Timothy's Skincare. He grew up with sensitive skin and quickly learned the value of quality shave products. He started Timothy's when he noticed a lack of true sensitive skin shaving products for men. With a background in medicine, Tim decided to develop an innovative, clinically significant shaving gel and cream. He designed the products to deliver a clean, comfortable shave without irritation. Timothy’s shave cream and gel are hypo-allergenic and free of common skin irritants. Tim is an accomplished entrepreneur with years of experience in sales and marketing of medical equipment.