Razor burn is the term for the red inflamed skin that appears after shaving hair from any part of your body. The main reason this happens is due to the fact you have scraped part of the skin layer away leaving it raw. Any kind of grazed skin, think of slipping and grazing your knee, feels sore and painful.
One of the problems many people encounter when shaving is lack of knowledge on precisely how to shave hair without damaging skin. Barbers are trained to perform this task and generally do a pretty good job which proves a little knowledge goes a long way. Doing it wrongly can mean big raw patches of flesh, razor burn, cuts and nicks and painful unsightly skin rash.
Although many people like to think their skin is flawlessly smooth, up close it is actually quite lumpy and almost lunar surface like. This is due to natural skin ridges, wrinkles, spots and hair growth. The act of running a bladed edge across this rather uneven landscape means that unless some care is taken damage is very easy to inflict. You can shave any part of your body without causing razor burn and here is how.
1) Irrespective of which part of your anatomy you wish to shave heat will help. A hot bath or shower will soften skin and open pores which helps make the job of a clean, sore free shave possible. Depending on the hair in question, if it is a thick patch, trim it as short and close to the skin as possible. This means less to shave and less chance of razor burn. Even for male beard shaving taking a face flannel soaked in hot water and applying it to the face for a couple of minutes prior to shaving reduces the risk of soreness.
2) Ordinary face soap tends to dry too quickly so use proper shaving soap, foam or gel as it is designed to stay moist longer and lubricate skin so the razor is able to glide over it. It may still dry in one area while shaving another so don't be afraid of applying more or wetting drying parts as required.
3) Always use a sharp razor. Many cheap disposable plastic razors are fine for one or two shaves but dull very quickly and this is the kiss of death for your skin as razor burn is inevitable. Battery or electric razors are fine but many except top quality ones fail to give a close enough shave. Because of this a lot of people will go over and over areas trying to get it totally smooth and end up irritating the skin and making it sore with razor burn.
4) Always shave with the grain. This means if you examine your hair growing anywhere on your body you will notice it grows in many different directions. Leg hair for example tends to grow downward towards your feet while a man's beard can grow downward on the face but upward on the neck. Make sure you shave in the direction the hair is growing and only apply enough pressure for the razor's blade to glide over the skin but enough to slice the hair at skin level. Digging the razor in is a sure way to injure the flesh and make it sore or cause a cut.
5) Rinsing the newly shaved area with cold water does several things. It feels refreshingly cool if you have just used hot water. Should you have caused cuts or nicks it helps shrink pores and constrict blood vessels to staunch bleeding. It also tends to be quite soothing and naturally it helps wash the area clean. Applying aftershave, skin lotion or anything else is entirely optional but hopefully first aid won't be one of them.