How to soothe shaving rash

Updated April 17, 2017

Shaving should leave your skin smooth, not itchy and irritated. Shaving rash, also known as "barber's itch" and "folliculitis," occurs because shaving removes the top layer of skin, exposing your hair follicles to minor infections and inflammation. Sometimes these reddened bumps can appear like pimples and will develop a white head. Any place you shave is susceptible to razor rash, although areas where bacteria and sweat collect, such as your face and bikini line, are especially vulnerable.

Dampen a clean washcloth in hot water. Wring out excess moisture and apply it to the affected area. Repeat this step four times per day. Warm water soothes the tender skin, opens pores and helps drain any small pus-filled blisters, also called pustules, if applicable.

Wash your shaving rash with a mild, antibacterial soap twice a day and pat dry with a clean towel. Use a clean towel each time you wash your face and avoid sharing it with others. Keeping your towels in a damp bathroom or moist locker room makes them perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and future skin infections.

Limit the frequency of shaving the affected area. If you must shave, use an electric razor, which doesn't remove the top layer of skin like a hand-held razor. Apply shaving cream or gel liberally before attempting to shave hair. Shave in the same direction as your hair slants to reduce ingrown follicles and rash bumps. For instance, underarm hair and leg hair grow downward.

Apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone cream to your shaving rash after washing and drying your skin. Hydrocortisone cream helps alleviate the itching and irritation.

Wear breathable, wicking fabrics while working out. Exercising without the proper attire traps bacteria and sweat in sensitive areas, causing shaving rash.


Use skin care products designed for sensitive skin to avoid aggravating your shaving rash.


See a doctor if your rash does not heal within a few days. Continuous and severe skin irritation can indicate a serious condition.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean washcloth
  • Electric razor
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Hydrocortisone cream
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About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.