Are you tired of getting bumpy and itchy skin every single time after shaving? Guess what? You are not alone. There are many who are scared of clean shaving to avoid nasty razor bumps and burn. But that’s not a practical solution, is it?
Instead of avoiding razor, you can create a protective barrier against razor-related injuries on your skin. Applying organic tea tree essential oil can do the trick most of the times.
After all, it is a natural astringent, and antiseptic and antibiotic. Its healing action is unbelievably powerful. If traditional antibiotics are not working for you at all, tea tree oil treatment may work as it can kill almost all kinds of skin bacteria and germs.
Before I get down to explain how tea tree oil heals razor bumps and burns, here’s a quick overview of these two common razor-induced skin conditions.
The Science behind Razor Bumps and Burns- An Overview
Razor bumps are red or dark bumps appearing on freshly shaved areas. It can occur anywhere, from neck, face, underarms to legs and pubic region. Although both men and women can get razor bumps, it is more common in men. According to the latest data, 60% African-American male with curly hair gets razor bump.
If the bumps appear on face and neck, it is medically known as Pseudofolliculitis barbae. Bumps on the pubic area are called Pseudofolliculitis pubis.
Here’s how Dr.Cynthia, a medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatologist with Dermatology Affiliates in Atlanta explains the cause of razor bumps:
She says “Instead of growing straight out of the follicle, hairs meet resistance from dead skin at more steeply angled pore openings and the hair curls back around inside the pore,”. “This causes inflamed, painful, red bumps.”, she adds.
The bottom line is, ingrown hairs are the main culprits of razor bumps. Shaving the hair follicles with a razor makes the pointy ends of your hair strands stiff and sharp. When these sharp ingrown hairs poke your skin, it triggers a cluster of red, dark or skin-colored bumps.
You might also experience severe itching, inflammation, skin tenderness and even swelling in the affected area. Keeping the bumps untreated for a long time can worsen the condition. The bumps can transform into pus-filled lesions, leaving you with permanent scars or skin damage.
Razor burn or razor rash is another common skin discomfort. However, it is not as serious as razor bumps and usually a few minutes in most cases. Dry shaving with a dull blade or shaving too aggressively is the key cause of this.
How Exactly Does Tea Tree Oil Work on Razor Bumps and Burns?
Tea tree oil has been used for treating skin ailments since ages. From minor skin conditions like cuts, itching, and rashes to serious conditions like seborrheic psoriasis, its skin benefits are endless.
Several studies claim that it can reduce skin inflammation, acne, redness, rashes, itching and infection caused by bacteria. It is its antiseptic and antimicrobial nature that makes it such an effective treatment for razor-related skin conditions.
The main bacteria-fighting components in tea tree oil are terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole. These insecticidal properties of these two compounds are almost as potent as prescription antibiotics. Terpinen-4-ol promotes the activity of white blood cells in our body. This, in turn, makes our skin more immune to bacteria, germs, and fungi.
For best results, choose a tea tree oil that contains 10-40% of terpinen.
Tea tree oil lessens the symptoms of razor rashes and bumps in mainly 3 ways:
Adding 10 drops of tea tree oil directly on to your skin or mixing it with your regular body lotion keeps your skin well-hydrated. A moisturized skin has lesser chances of developing ingrown hair or razor rashes.
It Decreases the Size of Bumps
Its natural astringent properties have a wide range of skin benefits. It shrinks the skin pores, thus preventing dirt and contaminants from entering deep into your skin. Applying it topically every day for a week can reduce the size of your pimple-like bumps, eventually making them disappear. It also fades the redness and scars caused by razor bumps.
It Calms Down the Burning Sensation
Shaving an already affected skin with an old and dull blade can exacerbate the problem. It can trigger more bumps and pus-filled blisters. Scratching the bumps can lead to permanent scars. The presence of terpinen-4-ol enables tea tree oil to prevent the spread of infection. It also gives you instant relief from the unbearable itching.
Methods to Use Tea Tree Oil to Heal Razor Bumps and Burns
You should never use raw tea tree oil on your skin. It is very strong and can trigger skin irritation and allergies. Always dilute tea tree oil with water or carrier oil before topical application on the affected area. Also, do not apply it on open wounds.
You can use any of the following carrier oil to dilute tea tree oil:
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
- Jojoba oil
- Olive oil
How to Use:
Step 1: Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with 12 drops of carrier oil or water. You can also mix two parts of aloe vera cream with one part of tea tree oil.
Step 2: Soak a cotton boil into the solution and apply it onto the affected area. Wait till it is absorbed by your skin completely.
Step 3: Apply a second coat of this mixture and let it dry.
Step 4: Apply a Vit-E enriched moisturizer afterwards.
Step 5 (Optional): Apply a pea-sized amount of hydrocortisone cream to the itchy area once a day, in addition to the tea tree oil treatment.
P.S: According to Cynthia G. Olsen, the author of Australian Tea Tree Oil First Aid, you can enhance the potency of your regular moisturizer by adding 10 drops of pure tea tree oil in it.
Common Mistakes to Avoid to Prevent the Further Spread of Infection:
- Resist the temptation to scratch the bumpy, red area.
- Do not shave until the bumps and rashes go away.
- Gently wash the affected surface with cool water and a mild soap. Pat dry with a soft washcloth, do not rub it aggressively.
Swapping Blades: The Only Permanent Solution for Razor Bumps and Burns
While a few drops of soothing tea tree oil can give you temporary relief from the bumps and burns, this is no permanent solution. As long as you keep shaving with an unsuitable razor blade, rashes and bumps will keep popping up.
Using a dull double-edge cartridge razor that uses the lift and cut technology can promote the growth of painful ingrown hair. This kind of razor blades cut too close to the skin surface.
If you still wish to continue using double edge razor/safety razor, make sure to change the blades after three to four shaves. Also, your razor handle should be slightly hefty. A heavier handle is better as it will minimize the pressure on your skin. This, in turn, will dramatically reduce the chances of razor bumps and rashes.
Electric razors are your safest bet if you have sensitive skin. If you want a really close-cut shave, go for a foil-based shaver instead of a rotary shaving head. Also, make sure that your device has multiple length settings. Choose the highest length to minimize the number of strokes.
Most importantly, invest in a good shaving cream and pre-shave oil to reduce friction. Lubricating your skin will allow the blades to glide smoothly along your skin contours. Less friction=less skin irritation.
Helpful Tips to Prevent Ingrown Hair and Razor Burns Right from the Beginning
Tea tree oil can only reduce the symptoms of razor bumps, rashes, and burns. It is a quick fix, not a long-term solution. If your shaving techniques are wrong and you’re not using the right shaving equipment, you can’t get rid of this problem.
Here are a few easy shaving hacks everyone should follow to prevent ingrown hair and painful razor burns:
- Frequently change your razor blades, ideally after two to three shaves. Never use a disposable blade after 5 shaves.
- Try not to shave every day.
- Take a hot shower, rinse your face with warm water before shaving.
- Use a thick coat of shaving gel to lubricate the skin. If you have super-sensitive skin, use a pre-shave oil instead of foam, gel or soap.
- Always shave in the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the grain increases the risk of skin irritation and bumps.
- Pat dry the shaved area with a towel and apply a generous amount of moisturizer after every shave.
The Bottom Line
Tea tree essential oil, unlike prescription drugs for treating razor burns and bumps, are free of side-effects. Some studies also claim that its germ-fighting abilities are more powerful than that of traditional antibiotics.
That being said, you should also pay attention to your shaving equipment, especially the razor blades to avoid razor-related problems altogether. That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!