After you shave--whether it's your face or elsewhere on your body like your legs--you may notice small red bumps. These are commonly known as razor bumps. Columbia University's Health Services says razor bumps occur when the shaved hair follicle curls inward to the skin. Your body then thinks it's an intruder and your immune system attacks it, creating the irritated skin you see. Modification of how you shave, plus the application of the right skin care products, can help you soothe away the red bumps and prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Splash your skin with warm water. This softens both your hair and your skin for a cleaner, closer shave, according to Columbia University. For the best results and the least chance of irritating your skin, the university recommends shaving after you've gotten out of a hot shower or bath.
Apply a shaving gel, shaving cream or similar lubricating shaving treatment, advises the Mayo Clinic. This helps create a thin barrier between your shaving razor and your skin to help prevent the irritation and problems that can lead to razor bumps.
Wait for five to 10 minutes, recommends Ohio State University's Health Services. This lets the shaving cream or gel penetrate your hair and skin for extra softening of the hair.
Shave with a very sharp razor and drag it across your skin in the direction that your hair naturally grows. Doing otherwise may force the hair into your skin, directly causing red razor bumps.
Rinse your skin with warm water, then pat it dry with a clean, soft towel. Don't rub your freshly shaved skin with the towel, as that can cause skin irritation.
Dab on a skin care cream or serum formulated with retinol or benzoyl peroxide, according to Ohio State University. The university says these products help get rid of the redness and inflammation if preventative measures don't adequately reduce them.
The red bumps will naturally disappear on their own if you practice proper shaving principles.
Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.