Razor bumps most often occur when the skin is not moisturized enough prior to shaving. Those with naturally coarse or curly hair tend to suffer from razor bumps more than those with fine hair, as the hair shaft is cut off at an angle and then irritates the surrounding skin as it curls. Using a blunt razor can also contribute to razor bumps as well as shaving too often. A dirty razor blade that introduces bacteria into the skin also can be the culprit for razor bumps.
Razor bumps frequently lead to ingrown hairs and sometimes even infection if not treated properly. People with particularly sensitive skin can have it further irritated by lotions or creams meant to soothe after the onset of razor bumps. Frequent razor bumps can lead to acne by clogging the pores and scarring if razor bumps are not treated promptly or if theyre allowed to become infected.
Men experience razor bumps on their facial and neck areas since they shave frequently, although women are likely to experience problems in the underarm and bikini areas.
The following steps may reduce your chance of suffering from razor bumps:
- Make sure to get your hair very wet before shaving, ideally after taking a bath or shower. If you dont shower first, wet your hair for at least two minutes with warm, soapy water. It is easier and better to cut wet hair than dry hair, and is more likely to cut evenly (and not at an angle).
- Use a good shaving cream to reduce friction and irritation. Really work the shaving cream into your skin for at least two minutes, and save areas that tend to develop bumps for last when youre shaving, so that the shaving cream has longer to soften the hair.
- Shave with the grain, not against it.
- Dont go over the same area more than twice.
- Dont stretch out your skin while shaving; let is stay neutral and relaxed. Stretching your skin while you shave increases the chance that the hair will snap back to below skin level.
- Replace your blade regularly. Shaving with a dull blade increases the chances of hair tearing unevenly.
- Use a single-blade razor instead of a double- or triple-blade razor. The lift and cut effect of multi-blade razors is something people with razor bumps generally try to avoid.
- Clipping hairs with a small pair of facial scissors is an option for women with few unwanted hairs.
Some people who suffer from razor bumps might prefer using a depilatory (like veet) instead of a razor. Depilatories work by dissolving the hair so it can be washed off. The chemicals used in depilatories are strong, and may cause irritation.
DEALING WITH RAZOR BUMPS
- Use a mild exfoliant* that contains salicylic acid daily. This will remove old, dead surface skin that otherwise could clog up your pores and limit oxygen to the affected areas. Do not scrub razor-burned skin.
- Use aloe vera or tea tree oil creams and sprays. They will speed up your recovery and soothe that raw feeling that accompanies razor burn.
- Shave carefully until it heals, switch to a razor with a single-blade or wire guard for a while. The shave won’t be close, but you won’t be slicing your skin up before it can heal either.
- Carefully lift the ingrown end out with tweezers. I sometimes also use a sterilised needle to gentle rise the hair out if its too deeply ingrown. Resist the urge to pull the hair out!
- Use products that contain Azulen and Allantoin as they will keep you comfortable and stop the itching, redness and swelling.
- Do not use any products containing alcohol – it will dry out your skin and increase irritation.
- Do not scrub or scratch razor burned skin. It will increase irritation and the risk of infection.
- Do not apply colognes or perfumes to razor burned skin.
- Do not pluck your ingrown hair out. Just lift them out of the skin otherwise the ingrown hair will only re-grow deeper and increase the problem.
*Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skins outermost surface
Have you suffered from razor bumps before? Please share how you dealt with them in the comment form below.