How Long to Wait to Shave After Herpes Outbreak?


Hey there! Today, we’re talking about a sensitive but important topic – shaving when you have herpes. Lots of people wonder how long they need to wait after a herpes outbreak before it’s safe to shave again.


Don’t worry, we’ll break it all down for you in this article.

We’ll cover the basics of what herpes is, what outbreaks look like, common triggers, and most importantly – how to shave safely if you have the virus.

We’ve also got tips on preventing future flare-ups and knowing when it’s time to see a doc.


How Long to Wait to Shave After Herpes Outbreak?

How Long to Wait to Shave After Herpes Outbreak


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So let’s dive in and get you the info you need to feel confident and in control of your health!

How Long to Wait to Shave After Herpes Outbreak?

First things first, let’s answer the big question – how long should you wait to shave after a herpes outbreak?


The short answer is:

  • Wait until all sores have completely healed (scabbed over and fallen off).
  • The skin should be back to its normal color (no more redness or swelling).
  • Give it an extra 2-3 days after the skin looks healed to be safe.

Typically, this whole process takes around 2-4 weeks. But don’t rush it! Shaving too soon can irritate the skin and trigger a new outbreak. Better to wait a few extra days and play it safe.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Outbreak Stage Shaving Status
Sores are present (blisters or scabs) Do not shave
The sores have healed, but the skin is still red/swollen Do not shave
The skin has returned to normal color/texture Wait 2-3 more days, then okay to shave

So now that we’ve covered the timeline, let’s back up and talk about what herpes is.


What is Herpes?

Herpes is a super common virus that can cause sores or blisters on the skin, usually near the mouth or genitals. There are two main types:

  1. HSV-1 (oral herpes): causes sores around the mouth and lips
  2. HSV-2 (genital herpes): causes sores around the genitals or anus

But here’s the thing – both types can cause sores in either area. It’s not as simple as “oral” or “genital”!

A few key things to know about herpes:

  • It’s very common – WHO estimates 67% of people under 50 have HSV-1 globally!
  • It’s spread through direct contact – kissing, oral sex, etc. The virus gets in through tiny breaks in the skin.
  • It stays dormant in the body for life, but can randomly reactivate and cause outbreaks
  • Outbreaks usually get less frequent over time, but there’s no permanent cure

So don’t panic if you get diagnosed with herpes. You’re not alone! With the right management, you can still live your best life.


What does a herpes outbreak look like?

Okay, so what does a herpes outbreak look like? Sores usually follow a pattern:

  1. Tingly/itchy phase: you might feel a burning or itching sensation before sores appear.
  2. Blister phase: small, painful blisters filled with clear fluid pop up.
  3. Crusting phase: the blisters break open, ooze, and scab over.
  4. Healing phase: scabs fall off, leaving behind red skin that slowly fades.

An outbreak can last 2-6 weeks from start to finish. The first one is usually the worst, and they get milder over time.

It’s best to wait until sores have completely scabbed over and flaked off before shaving. If the skin still looks red or irritated, give it a few more days.

What triggers herpes outbreaks?

So we know a herpes outbreak can seemingly pop up out of nowhere.


But certain things can trigger the virus to reactivate, like:

  • Friction from tight clothes or rough sex.
  • Skin irritation from shaving, waxing, or harsh products.
  • Hormonal changes during periods or pregnancy.
  • Stress and lack of sleep (the immune system needs rest!).
  • Other illnesses that weaken the immune system.

It’s important to note – shaving doesn’t cause herpes. But if you already have the virus, it can potentially trigger an outbreak by irritating the skin. The tiny nicks from the razor give the virus an opening.

Is it safe to shave if I have herpes?

Alright, so you have herpes. Is it safe to shave at all? The answer is yes, with a few precautions!

The most important thing is to never shave during an active outbreak. Wait until sores are completely gone and give the area a little extra time to recover.


Post-outbreak shaving timeline:

  • Sores have healed completely (no scabs)
  • Skin looks normal (not red/swollen)
  • Wait 2-3 more days
  • Okay to shave!

Lots of experts recommend giving it those few extra days, just to be 100% sure the skin is ready. Patience is key!

Tips for shaving safely with herpes:

When you do bust out the razor again, be extra gentle with your skin. Here are some tips:

  • Always use a clean, sharp blade (toss old, dull razors)
  • Soften the hair first with warm water and shave cream
  • Shave with the direction of hair growth, not against
  • Use short, light strokes (no pressing hard!)
  • Rinse the razor often to avoid irritation
  • Rinse skin with cool water after
  • Moisturize with a gentle, fragrance-free lotion

You can also try using an electric trimmer or hair removal cream instead of shaving. Sometimes those are easier on the skin.


The main things are keeping the area clean, avoiding friction, and giving skin lots of TLC!

What else can I do to prevent herpes outbreaks?

In addition to shaving carefully, there’s a bunch of other stuff you can do to keep herpes quiet and avoid triggering outbreaks:

  • Manage stress with things like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises.
  • Get enough sleep and stick to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
  • Take herpes medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Avoid sexual contact during outbreaks to prevent the spreading of it.
  • Use condoms and/or dental dams even between outbreaks (they reduce risk but don’t completely prevent transmission).
  • Wear loose, cotton underwear and clothes to minimize friction.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Don’t touch sores and wash your hands often to avoid spreading them to other body parts/people.

When to see a healthcare provider?

For most folks, herpes outbreaks can be managed at home. But there are times when you should check in with a doctor or healthcare provider:

Make an appointment if:

  • Sores are large, super painful, or spreading.
  • You’re getting outbreaks more often/they’re getting worse.
  • Sores aren’t showing signs of healing after 2 weeks.
  • You have other symptoms like fever, achiness, and swollen glands.
  • It hurts to pee because of sore placement.
  • You think you may have passed herpes to a partner.
  • Do you have questions or want to discuss treatment options?

Your doctor can prescribe antiviral meds to help sores heal faster and make outbreaks less frequent/severe.

They can also give guidance on relieving symptoms, handling herpes long-term, and preventing transmission.

So don’t hesitate to reach out for medical advice if you need it! You don’t have to deal with this alone.



Let’s recap the most important points about shaving and herpes:

  • If you have a herpes outbreak, do not shave the area until the sores have completely healed
  • After the sores heal, wait 2-3 extra days before shaving again to avoid irritating the skin
  • When you do shave, use a new razor, shaving cream, and be very gentle
  • Manage your overall health (diet, sleep, stress) to prevent outbreaks
  • See your doctor for meds and advice if outbreaks are severe or frequent

Living with herpes can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to control your life. With the proper precautions around shaving and self-care, you can minimize outbreaks and keep on with your day-to-day.

Remember, herpes is super common and nothing to be ashamed of! Millions of people are dealing with the same thing.

The best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge, pay attention to your body’s needs, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.


You’ve got this! Here’s to happy, healthy skin.


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