Your mind simply cannot distinguish between razor burn and herpes. They are both skin issues, but the difficulty is that they appear to be similar. Should a skin specialist be consulted to compare razor burn to herpes? Actually, no. Razor burn occurs as a result of shaving, although herpes might appear whether or not you've shaved. Herpes is most frequently caused by a person's body having inadequate immunity, which can happen after multiple stressful situations.

What are Razor burn and Herpes?

You may have razor burn, a type of skin irritation, after shaving. Any portion of your body that you shave is susceptible. You can get razor burns on your face, neck, legs, armpits, or pubic region. Razor burn can result from dry shaving, shaving too quickly, or shaving with a dull blade. Usually, the skin irritation appears minutes after shaving and lasts for a few hours to a few days.

Herpes, commonly known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV), is a viral infection that can lead into excruciating blisters or ulcerations on the skin usually genital areas and around the mouth. It is commonly transmitted through  skin-to-skin contact. Although  treatment options exist, they are just aimed at  easing symptoms and duration of the disease.

How do razor burn and Herpes  look?

Razor burn

A red, inflamed area of skin or a streaky red rash are the symptoms of razor burn. Other signs of razor burn may consist of:

  • Puffiness and sensitivity.
  • Sensation of burning or stinging.
  • Itchiness.
  • Discomfort or pain.

However do not mistake Razor burn with Pseudo-folliculitis barbae, also known as razor bumps, are small, pimple-like lumps.

photo of razor burn vs herpes
Image Credit: Health Jade. A Typical photo of razor burn


For you to tell you have herpes either genital or oral herpes, the following are the typical symptoms:

  • Blisters on the genitalia or lips or around the anal region
  • Ulceration near the lips and on the genital areas 
  •  Usually, these blisters and sores hurt. 
  • One or more blisters may erupt, leak, and eventually crust over.
difference razor burn vs herpes
Image Credit: Oasis Dermatology. Picture of oral herpes simplex

 Razor burn Vs Herpes. How can one tell the differences?

A patchy red skin rash is brought on by razor burn. Small, crimson razor pimples can be caused by ingrown hairs. Your vaginal area may have razor burn or razor pimples, although most cases resolve on their own in a few days.

Near your penis or vagina, herpes simplex viruses can create lumps that resemble fluid-filled sores or blisters. They sprout up in groups. You can also experience a fever and a headache. Herpes pimples may also go on their own, although they typically return.

Frankly speaking razor burn are common and occurs only after shaving. Forget about razor burn if you have not had any shaving on the affected areas. Herpes on the other hand can appear any time whether or not you have shaved. They are painful and itchy compared to the razor burn. 

Herpes are mostly concentrate on the lips while razor burn will only appear on the areas you have shaved. the chin, the front of your neck, the side beards areas and area between the upper lip and the nose. 

Herps can occur on the penis showing blisters while razor burn appears on the pubic areas targeting the where shaving was done.

What causes razor burn and herpes 

The combination between your skin, hair, and razor blade causes razor burn. When a blade glides across your skin, it may cause minute splits in the epidermis, water loss, and inflammation. Other typical reasons for razor burn could be:

  • using an old, dull razor blade to shave.
  • shave too quickly.
  • sensitive skin, or utilizing skin-irritating cosmetics.
  • Dry shaving is shaving without the use of water, soap, shaving cream, or shaving gel
  • shaving the other way from how the hair grows.

Herpes is caused by a virus in which the herpes simplex virus type 1 infect the mouth while the herpes simples virus type 2 infects the genitalia. Herpes has been associated much with people who have lower immunity. Just stress itself can increase your chances of having the herpes infection.   Read also: 5 Reliable Male birth control methods 

What are treatment options for razor burn and herpes?

Razor burn

There are numerous ways to cure razor burns. Applying a cool washcloth or moisturizer to the affected region may provide relief from razor burn. Your skin will be soothed and repaired as a result.

Aloe vera gel might help with razor burn removal quickly. Aloe vera can help heal razor burn in an hour or less. You may have used it to treat a sunburn. Your skin is moisturized, soothed, and healed by aloe vera at the same time.

Razor burn irritation can be reduced using natural therapies like witch hazel extract, tea tree oil, or apple cider vinegar diluted in water. Taking an oatmeal bath or applying an over-the-counter (OTC) hydrocortisone cream are other options.

Apply an emollient, such as an aftershave or a moisturizing lotion, if your skin is dry and inflamed. Products with scents, alcohol, or other irritants should be avoided. Olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil are examples of natural oils that can help hydrate your skin. To speed up healing, refrain from shaving the razor burnt area.

Call your healthcare professional if over-the-counter or homemade therapies don't work within a few days to cure the problem. It's possible that you've developed a condition that needs more care, such an antibiotic.


Just like other viral infections herpes has no cure treatments exists just to reduce the course of infection. Symptomatic treatment is advised. Painkillers like ibuprofen maybe used to easy the pain.

The three main medications acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex) are frequently used to treat the symptoms of genital herpes. All of these are administered as pills. The medicine acyclovir administered intravenously (IV) may be used to treat severe instances. Remember that those drugs do not kill the virus they just reduce the duration of infection.

How to avoid razor burn and herpes?

Make sure your skin is smooth and wet before shaving to prevent razor burn. After a shower, when your skin is free of dead skin cells and extra oil that could clog your razor blade, you might wish to shave right away. Additionally, put something between your skin and the razor blade, like soap, shaving cream, or shaving gel. This will also make it easier for the blade to pass through your skin. Other advice for avoiding razor burn is as follows:

  • Use gentle, brief strokes; go slowly and avoid going over the same area more than once.
  • Clean your razor blade frequently. Rinse your razor after each few strokes to get rid of the hair and soap that have built up in the gaps between the blades.

  • After shaving, stay away from wearing tight clothing or underwear. This will lessen the risk of skin irritation.

  • After shaving, rinse your skin with cold water or pat it dry with a moist washcloth.
  • After shaving, moisturize your skin with a moisturizing lotion or gel to assist calm and repair the barriers of your skin. Products with scents or other skin irritants should be avoided.
  • To prevent the growth of bacteria, store your razor in a dry location after cleaning and drying it.
  • Razor blades should be changed frequently: Razor blades ought to constantly be clean, sharp, and un-rusted. 
  • Shave in the direction that your hair grows because shaving against the grain might cause irritation.

What can razor burn and herpes complicate to?

In both problems bacteria can take advantage of the already vulnerable skin and cause  secondary infections. Folliculitis is the common complication following razor burn that can occur on the shaved areas presenting with bigger lumps and pain increases.

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