Razor Burned Legs, Cyclists, and a Few Solutions

© Tamara Bellis via Unsplash
© Tamara Bellis via Unsplash

Lady parts aren’t the only sensitive skin we deal with on the bike. Anyone else have some leg/shaving issues? (Hand up!)

Now, before I start this post, I’ll say that this is mostly a female-oriented issue, but I do know a few male cyclists who shave their legs and wear compression tights a lot, so it’s certainly applicable to the gents out there as well!

Anyway. I was having some leg shaving/skin issues on my legs all through December and January, so much so that a sweaty bike ride in tights would leave my calves and thighs covered with angry red bumps that mimicked razor burn. Of course, shaving was also leaving me with razor burn and tons of tiny cuts, so I knew something had to be wrong. I went back to the basics: clean, dry, etc. but the only thing that really helped was finally stopping shaving for three weeks, and then getting my legs waxed.

Now, a month later and looking back, I’m realizing what happened. My legs were so freaking dry from a cold few months, and I was shaving them almost daily. No wonder I was having razor issues! But more than that, I was living in leggings when I wasn’t on the bike. That meant that the slightest amount of stubble—those days I simply couldn’t shave because it actually hurt too much—was making things worse, because the tiny stubble was catching on the tight leggings and dragging it in the opposite direction. No wonder I was rash-covered and miserable!

I know plenty of you out there are like me and live in leggings when not on the bike, and that’s usually fine. But if you do find yourself in a similar skin position, do yourself a favor: take a couple days away from shaving, and from wearing leggings. Go to boyfriend-cut jeans or sweats, or dresses/shorts if weather allows. That was what happened for me: the last month, I was finally able to wear shorts and dresses in slightly warmer weather, and sweats most of the time otherwise since I was at a training camp, and within a few days, my legs were feeling infinitely better.

Typically, I don’t recommend leg waxing to everyone… But if you regularly deal with serious levels of razor burn, it is really worth trying at least once. I’ve found it’s painful day-of, but frankly, I am terrible at shaving and not cutting myself, so I’ve found it works really well for more long-term, and I don’t have issues with razor burn as often when I wax my legs every couple months. It’s a trade-off, for sure, but I’ve found it’s super helpful for me.

Lastly: if rashes/razor-burn are persistent problems for you, see a dermatologist. You might have folliculitis, which is treatable but may require some more intense prescription creams or even antibiotics. Don’t let it go until you’re absolutely miserable on and off the bike!

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