You must have tried numerous skin care products to get rid of those painful razor bumps and burns. I’m guessing none of them produced desired results, did they? What if I tell you that the solution to post-shaving skin problems is present in your kitchen right now?
I’m talking about that tub of coconut oil you use for baking and cooking. The benefits of coconut oil go much beyond that. When you apply this deeply moisturizing oil onto your skin, it soothes the razor burns and kills the pimple-inducing bacteria.
It is the only remedy that has ever worked on my razor rashes and bumps. Wondering how something as simple as coconut oil can have such massive skin soothing properties? Hang on! I’ll explain that in a moment.
But before that, you should understand how razor burns and bumps occur in the first place. Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, both are not the same.
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Razor Bumps: An Overview
Razor bumps, medically known as Pseudofolliculitis barbae, are red or dark bumps you notice on a freshly shaved area. It mostly occurs on the neck, cheek, armpits, legs and pubic area. In the initial stage, these bumps appear small. But if you leave them untreated for a long time, these small bumps can transform into big, round, pus-filled pimples.
That’s not even the scariest part. Razor bumps make your skin prone to a severe bacterial infection. This can lead to extreme skin irritation, inflammation and leave your skin permanently scarred.
Razor bumps are a result of bad shaving technique. It mostly occurs when the razor blade cuts too close to the hair follicles. This makes the hair beneath the skin surface grow back into your skin a curved shape.
When the sharp ends of these hairs poke your skin, your body triggers “foreign body inflammatory reaction”. It is basically your body’s immune response to foreign objects. Razor bumps are the byproducts of this reaction.
Razor Burns: Why Does It Happen?
Razor burns are more common than razor bumps and relatively less harmful. The key symptoms of razor burns are rashes, redness, acute inflammation, and itching. Generally, it goes away automatically within a few minutes after shaving.
However, in some cases, razor burn can be longer lasting. Scratching the inflamed area too much can cause pus-filled blisters as well.
High blade friction against your skin is the main cause of razor burns. This might be due to:
- The use of dull blades.
- Multiple re-strokes.
- Pressing the blade too hard against the skin.
- Dry shaving.
Razor burn can be easily avoided by using a good-quality razor, improving shaving technique and moisturizing the skin.
Coconut Oil Treatment for Razor Bumps and Burns: How Does It Work?
Coconut oil is derived by processing dry coconut flesh or raw coconut. The method of extracting oil by pressing raw coconut flesh is called wet processing. This process is used for producing virgin coconut oil, the ideal oil for skin care.
The texture of coconut oil is semi-solid in room temperature. You can easily turn it into pure liquid by warming it up. The best part about this oil is that it doesn’t go rancid quickly. Therefore, one small tub can last for a long time.
Virgin coconut oil shields our skin against razor bumps, burns, rashes, and irritation in mainly 3 ways:
It Fights Bacteria and Fungi
The skin healing properties of coconut oil comes from medium-chain fatty acids. 65% of coconut oil’s total composition is made up of these medium-chain fatty acids. Most of this (almost 50%) is lauric acid. This particular group of fatty acids has stellar antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
The antimicrobial properties of lauric acid prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. These microorganisms are associated with razor bumps, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and many other skin conditions. According to a recent study, lauric acid was found to be the most potent bacteria killer among 30 other types of fatty acids. This says a lot, doesn’t it?
Coconut oil also contains a tiny amount of (7%) capric acid. It is also antimicrobial in nature and can kill certain bacteria and fungi species.
It Soothes the Burning Skin
Organic coconut oil is rich in antioxidants. It not only prevents the growth of free radicals but also decomposes them. By doing so, it neutralizes the reactive atoms and reduces oxidative stress. This, in turn, heals the inflammation caused by microbial infection and razor burns.
It Hydrates the Skin
As I mentioned previously in the article, dry skin is one of the primary causes of razor burns. Dragging a sharp blade against dry, flaky skin increases friction. The high content of Vit-E and saturated fat in this oil locks the moisture into our skin.
According to a two-week study, coconut oil is just as good as mineral oil for hydrating skin. By moisturizing, it protects your skin against itchy rashes. In the same way, it slowly heals razor bump scars and improves the overall condition of your skin.
Ways to Use Coconut Oil to Keep Razor Burns and Bumps Away
You can get rid of shaving rash and bumps with coconut oil in many ways. To get the maximum benefit out of it, include coconut oil in both pre-shave and post-shaving ritual. For a long-term solution, you should also exfoliate your skin using coconut oil scrub once a week.
Here’s how to do it:
Shaving with Coconut Oil
Both men and women can replace their chemical loaded shaving cream with coconut oil for shaving. It is rich in fatty acids and therefore, will generously lubricate your skin.
It won’t even clog the blades, unlike shaving creams. By softening your hair, it prevents the growth of ingrown hair that causes razor bumps. Also, you don’t have to worry about hair tugging or pulling.
Plus, you will only need a tablespoon to get a close and smooth shave. For wider areas like legs, you may need two tablespoons per leg. That’s it!
To shave, coat the shaving area with the required amount of oil and start shaving with the grain. For me, it worked like a charm. My face felt smooth and there was no sign of irritation or bumps.
Coconut Oil As Aftershave
Pure coconut oil will moisturize your skin without chemical additives or alcohol. The antimicrobial properties of lauric acid also work as a disinfectant. Moreover, it has a very soothing aroma too.
On the other hand, most store-bought aftershaves are loaded with alcohol and synthetic fragrances. While alcohol kills all the germs and bacteria, it also dries out the skin. If you have sensitive skin, the artificial fragrance of these aftershaves can trigger skin irritation.
To use coconut oil as aftershave, simply take one small dollop of it in your palms. Rub your hands together to warm it up. Then gently massage your shaved area with it.
Coconut Oil for Exfoliation
You can use this scrub to wash away dead skin cells. Exfoliating once a week will keep your skin soft, smooth and irritation-free for years.
We will add white sugar in the scrub formula to give it a gritty texture. It also contains organic honey. As you may know, honey is full of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It eases inflammation and fights bacteria to prevent acne and razor bump breakouts.
To make the scrub, you need to:
Step 1: Mix 1 tablespoon of organic honey with 3 tablespoons of white or brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil.
Step 2: Mix well and scrub your skin with it for a minute.
Step 3: Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse with warm water.
The Downside of Coconut Oil: Possible Side Effects
Scientists haven’t found any harmful content in coconut oil so far. But we all have different skin. It might react differently to certain elements.
If you have an extremely oily skin, you should speak to your dermatologist before applying coconut oil. Since it’s full of saturated fat, it can potentially clog your pores. This creates the risk of blackheads, whiteheads and acne breakouts.
You will never know how your skin reacts to something unless you try it yourself. If you are afraid of clogging your pores, do a patch test in a small area of skin. If it doesn’t cause any problem, then go ahead.
Wrapping up the Story of Coconutty Goodness
Coconut is perhaps the most useful plant on Earth. Humans use almost every part of this tree. The oil extracted from raw coconut genuinely has amazing benefits for our skin and body. There are many other solutions for razor-related skin problems in the market. So what makes coconut oil a better alternative? The fact that its effects last longer, that too without any side effects. Add to that, it is inexpensive and doesn’t contain any additives. Just pure natural goodness. What else can you ask for?