Boils after shaving
A shave can always cause tiny injuries to the skin and hair follicles. When the skin barrier is destroyed in this way, bacteria on the surface of the skin can invade and establish themselves in the hair follicles. There they trigger an encapsulated inflammatory reaction with pus formation, which is then referred to as a boil. This is shown by a reddened and painful swelling. Correct shaving technique and disinfection after shaving can prevent boils from developing. A boil usually heals on its own. Only in rare cases does the inflammatory reaction spread so that treatment by a doctor may be necessary. In the case of active inflammation or irritated skin, a new shave or intimate shave should be avoided.
The cause of a boil after a shave or an intimate shave is an inflammation of the hair roots with bacteria (usually Staphylococcus aureus). These are naturally located on the surface of the skin and can penetrate the hair roots due to the small, mostly invisible injuries caused by a shave. There they multiply and trigger a defensive reaction in the body. An encapsulated inflammation develops, in which there is pus. This consists, among other things, of killed bacteria and immune cells.
An incorrect shaving technique, for example against the direction of hair growth or the use of blades that are no longer sharp enough, is the cause of such inflammation after a shave. Other possible causes that explain why some people develop boils more often than others can be obesity, illnesses that impair the immune system, and inadequate personal hygiene.
You can find more about causes on our website Causes of Boils
There are a few things to watch out for in order to prevent boils from developing as best you can. When shaving, care should be taken to always shave along the direction of growth and to keep the skin under tension. In addition, only sharp blades should be used. Disposable razors should only be used once, and the blade must be changed regularly for multiple shaves. In addition, the observance of hygiene measures is necessary to prevent inflammation of the skin such as a boil after an intimate shave. In addition to regular body care, this also includes changing underwear every day and washing them at high temperatures in order to kill bacteria that have settled there. You can also prevent boils by disinfecting the respective skin area after shaving, for example with an aftershave. Nevertheless, despite all of the above preventive measures, inflammation in the form of a boil can occur in some cases. To prevent possible worsening of the inflammation, you should not shave again until the skin has completely healed.
The diagnosis of a boil after a shave or an intimate shave is usually easy to make. The mere description that a painful lump developed on the skin a few hours or a day after shaving suggests a boil as the cause. A look at the affected area of the body is ultimately decisive for the diagnosis. If the shaved skin shows a limited, crimson and possibly bulging lump, it is usually a boil. If the swelling is very large, it can be difficult to distinguish it from the carbuncle. This is an inflammation of several hair roots that has melted together. Additional measures such as a blood test in the laboratory are usually not required to diagnose a boil after a shave.
The main symptom of a boil after a shave is usually pain. In the genital area in particular, these can be very uncomfortable and, depending on the location, cause severe discomfort, especially when walking or sitting. As is typical for inflammation, the character of the pain is usually throbbing and dull. Further symptoms are one or more very red nodules, whereby the surrounding skin is also red.
Due to the inflammation of the hair follicle, which is responsible for a boil after shaving, a yellowish or white pustule can also appear, in which, if you look closely, you may even see the hair root.
As a rule, with a boil after a shave there are no symptoms beyond the symptoms mentioned. Only in very rare cases and under certain circumstances can a harmless boil turn into a serious skin infection. Possible symptoms can then be fever, chills and fatigue, as well as significant swelling and reddening of the skin region causing the problem. In such a case, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Risk factors for these serious courses are, for example, being very overweight and diabetes.
A small boil after a shave or intimate shave does not always require treatment. It is often sufficient to clean the affected skin area regularly and to avoid another shave or other skin irritation until the boil has healed. However, you can also support the healing process by applying warm, moist compresses to the inflamed area or by applying a so-called pulling ointment.
If you have a large boil with a thick boil, you may even need to see a doctor. This makes a small prick or incision under sterile conditions to open the pus cavity. Then the area must be thoroughly disinfected and protected with a bandage. As a rule, an appointment is made for a follow-up examination. If the inflammation is particularly large after a shave, the doctor will even initiate therapy with an antibiotic. This is either applied topically as an ointment to the boil or even taken in the form of tablets.
You can find more about treatment on our website Boil treatment
Usually a boil after a shave or intimate shave is short-lived. If you wash the affected skin regularly and otherwise leave it alone, the boil will usually heal within a few days. However, if you press, scratch, or shave the inflamed area again before the skin has healed completely, the inflammation can last for several weeks. It can take longer for a boil to heal after a shave, especially if there is a weak immune system due to an illness or in overweight people.
Also read the article: The duration of a boil.