Difference Between Razor Burn and Herpes (With Table)

Skin is a very soft and large organ of the human body. It is very sensitive and acts as a protective barrier. It saves the body from all the external factors which can cause any harm to the body. Therefore it is important to understand the various skin viral infections to cure or prevent them from happening, such as shingles, chickenpox, and many more. 

Among these are the Razor Burn and Herpes. Both of them cause itching and are very uncomfortable on the skin. Mostly they are mistaken as the same. This is not correct, therefore to treat them, it is essential to know the difference between both of them.

Razor Burn vs Herpes 

The main difference Between Razor Burn and Herpes is Razor Burn is a disease that occurs when shaving is not done with proper care (when shaving blades are very harsh to the skin), and Herpes is a disease caused by the common virus known as HSV (herpes simplex virus). Therefore razor burn is something that can be avoided by taking proper care. But in the case of herpes, it is not always possible.

Razor Burns is an infection or rashes caused by the harsh razor blades on the skin (inflation of the hair follicles). It occurs in the area where shaving is done, i.e. legs, face, arms, pubic areas, etc. it is not very dangerous unless, in some cases (pseudofolliculitis barbae ensues). It can be treated at home, no need to rush to the doctor.

Herpes is a virus infection caused by the HSV (herpes simplex virus) on the skin. It is not bounded to any particular part of the body and can occur at various parts of the body. It is a very common viral infection that can be transmitted from an infected person to another with physical touch.

Comparison Table Between Razor Burn and Herpes

Parameters of Comparison

Razor Burn



Disease caused by shaving

Disease caused by a virus



Herpes simplex virus

Where it occurs

Shaved surface

Any area of skin


Redness and itching

Tenderness and burning




What is Razor Burn?

A person who shaved a lot can experience razor burn (infection of the skin caused by razor blades). Razor burn is responsible for:

  1. A burning sensation of the infected area.
  2. Irritation.
  3. Redness on the infected area.
  4. Tinny red bumps or rashes.

All the above are the symptoms of razor burn, which can be treated by using the following:

  1. Applying something cool on the surface such as ice, aloe vera gel, or a cold, wet cloth, etc.
  2. An individual should immediately wash the area and dry it (very gently, not rubbing) and apply any moisturizer or antiseptic that does not contain alcohol (it can lead to more irritation). This will help relieve irritation.
  3. Apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil mixed with water, etc., can be used to decrease or reduce inflammation.

Preventive measures:

  1. Removal of dead skin: this can be done with regular exploitation of the skin.
  2. Using soap: soap, shaving cream, or shampoo should be used before shaving the area.
  3. Always shave in the direction of hair growth.
  4. Always keep the razor blade clean.
  5. Don’t shave very hard or fast.


  1. Shaving without apply soap or any lubricant.
  2. Ignoring the hair growth direction and shaving opposite of it.
  3. Using the same razor for a longer period.
  4. Shaving harshly and quickly.

What is Herpes?

This is the cause of the Herpes simplex virus, which is of two types:

  1. HSV-1: it causes oral herpes that infect the mouth or surrounding areas.
  2. HSV-2: it causes genital herpes that is sexually transmitted.


  1. Tingling sensation on the infected area.
  2. Itching or burning.
  3. Redness on the infected area.
  4. Fever.
  5. Fatigue or not feeling healthy.


  1. Through the infected person
  2. By having unprotected intercourse.


Treatment of herpes can be done at home by using the following:

  1. Cornstarch or aloe vera gel on the affected area.
  2. Taking medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  3. Taking a bath with salted water.
  4. Using petroleum jelly on the affected area.
  5. Wearing baggy clothes.
  6. Avoid sexual activity completely (with or without protection).
  7. Applying any lidocaine-containing lotion or moisturizer.

 Preventive Measures:

  1. Having protective intercourse always.
  2. Avoiding any sexual activity with the infected person.
  3. Washing and cleaning any part after being in contact with an infected person.

It is considered that no medication can directly lead to the termination of herpes but obviously can help with the irritation or other uncomfortable symptoms. It also increases the risk of HIV in the infected person.

Main Differences Between Razor Burn and Herpes

  1. Razor Burns is an infection caused by shaving when blades of the razor are used on dry skin, whereas herpes is an infection caused by the virus, i.e. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV).
  2. Razor Burns only occurs at the shaved surface, but Herpes can occur in several body parts, and it has nothing to do with shaving.
  3. Symptoms of Razor Burns are Redness and itching, and Symptoms of Herpes are Tenderness and burning.
  4. Razor Burn can be treated easily by using any antiseptic cream or Corticosteroids, and Herpes cannot be treated with medication, although symptoms can be cured.
  5. Herpes can also be transmitted through mucosal secretion and direct contact with an infected person, whereas Razor Burns is not transmitted with any physical contact with the infected person.


Both of them are the type of skin infection. Razor burn is a type that causes shaving, whereas it is not the same with herpes. Both of them irritate so much sometimes. Medications are not required always to heal or cure them as it automatically gets healed with time, but otherwise, if the infection is seriously causing any pain, then the doctor should be consulted as these small infections sometimes can lead to some severe disease.

Therefore it is very much clear how both are different in terms of cause and treatment. The confusion is created only in the appearance and sometimes on symptoms. After identification, treatment should be done accordingly.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673607619084
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673600046389
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4481417