I shaved my pubic hair at the base of my penis and most of the skin has become a crusty rash. This is now happening on my penis. I’ve never had sexual intercourse, so I’m not sure what the problem is!

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Electric shaverShaving can be really rough on delicate skin, including the skin around your genitals. This goes for both guys and girls. Although the best way to avoid shaving rashes is to not shave at all – or as an alternative, use clippers that leave a small amount of hair behind, which is less irritating on the skin – there are some things you can do to prevent irritation if you are going to shave.

First, always make sure that you wash your skin with soap beforehand. It’s best to use a gentle soap (such as Dove soap) with warm water (which helps relax the skin and hair follicles). Then, use a shaving cream. Whenever possible, shave with a new razor blade, since old razors can irritate the skin.

Shave with the grain of the hair. The easiest way to figure out which way the grain of your hair goes in a particular area is to run your fingers against the hair in all directions. Whichever way feels the smoothest is “with the grain”. Shaving “against the grain” (the opposite direction from “with the grain”, which feels the roughest when you’re running your fingers in all different directions) tugs at the skin and can cause nicks. After you shave, it’s not a bad idea to apply a non-scented, light lotion that’s listed as “non-comedogenic” (meaning, it won’t cause bumps).

As always, let your health care provider know if you develop any rashes or concerning symptoms. Definitely seek medical attention quickly if you develop redness, warmth or tenderness in the area, since these may be early signs of infection.