Razor bumps are among the peskiest, itchiest, and sometimes most painful things we can experience while shaving. Razor bumps do not discriminate. These inflamed bumps can appear on skin anywhere you shave, including on the face, legs, armpits, and bikini area.
In this Article:
What Are Razor Bumps?
Razor bumps, also sometimes referred to scientifically as pseudofolliculitis barbae or colloquially as barber’s itch, can appear even after shaves that you think are nice, close, and smooth.
These annoying bumps under your skin can cause itching, burning, and can even darken the skin where they appear, leaving a lasting effect on your skin. However, if you know how best to prevent razor bumps when they happen and how to get rid of razor bumps after they appear, you can do well in mitigating these uncomfortable symptoms.
Razor bumps occur when coarse or curly hair gets stuck underneath the skin's surface, inside the hair follicle. This occurs when dead skin covers a pore's opening, and the hair cannot penetrate it to grow out of the skin.
This causes the hair to curl back around inside of the pore rather than growing straight out. In turn, this pattern of growth creates inflamed, red, itchy, or painful bumps on the skin.
These annoying razor bumps can affect anyone who removes hair from their skin, but it is especially common among people with curly, thick, or coarse hair.
How to Prevent Razor Bumps
The best possible option for individuals who participate in hair removal is to prevent razor bumps altogether. However, this can only be possible if you read up on the best and proper ways to prevent hairs from getting blocked under the follicle.
Some of the best advice has to do with the way you shave. Getting your technique right is the best way to prevent these razor bumps from cropping up.
- Avoid Shaving Too Close
- Use a Shaving Gel or Cream
- Shave with the Growth Direction of your Hair
- Avoid Pulling On your Skin While Shaving
- Replace Razor Blades Frequently
- Exfoliate Your Skin
- Reduce Shave Frequency
Avoid Shaving Too Close
Avoid getting too close of a shave. Allowing just a bit of growth to peek out of the follicle can keep the pores clear for future growth, reducing complications with ingrown hairs.
Use a Shaving Gel or Cream
Either try shaving dry—which works best on the face—or use non-irritating, non-drying shaving gel or cream before taking a razor to your skin. This will ensure a smooth glide across your skin’s surface and will prevent the possibility of nicking your skin.
Shave with the Growth Direction of your Hair
When you physically shave, try to shave with the growth of your hair. That is, do not shave “against the grain.” Shaving against the grain increases the likelihood of irritating your skin.
Avoid Pulling On your Skin While Shaving
You should also avoid pulling on your skin while shaving and instead allow your skin to lay still.
Replace Razor Blades Frequently
Aside from the techniques you use to shave, you can also think more critically about the tools you’re using to shave if you want to prevent razor bumps from occurring.
Typically, if you use a regular stick razor, you should make sure you’re replacing the blades frequently to prevent them from getting dull.
Not only will sharper blades get you a smoother shave, but they will also reduce the likelihood that you will cut your skin in the shaving process.
If you’re open to changing up your razor, consider getting an electric razor. Electric razors may seem scary at first, but they can help reduce the probability of razor bumps.
Exfoliate Your Skin
You may also want to consider incorporating an exfoliant to slough off dead skin from the area you’re shaving and thus prevent dead skin from blocking hair follicles. These exfoliants could be physical scrubs or chemical exfoliants, like glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
Reduce Shave Frequency
Additionally, waiting longer between shaves can help reduce your potential for razor bumps. Reducing your shave frequency can also help you keep your blades sharper for smoother shaves.
How to Treat Razor Bumps
If you cannot adequately prevent razor bumps, they may still pop up from time to time. If this happens, do not fret. There are very rarely any complications associated with razor bumps. Though they may be painful, hot, or itchy, it’s unlikely that they will progress beyond minor discomfort.
There is some risk of keloid scarring, which involves the bumps getting hard and raised. There also is a slight possibility of abscesses forming, which could require surgical interventions to treat. However, the vast majority of the time, razor bumps can be treated at home effectively.
Ways for Threating Razor Bumps
- Aloe Vera
- Tea Tree Oil
- Apply Moisturizer
- Use an Aftershave
- Use a Cortisone Cream
- Consult With A Doctor
If you want to treat razor bumps at home, you can use materials you may already have in your house. Aloe vera can be applied to the bumps to cool, soothe, and reduce inflammation from the area. If repeated a few times per day, aloe vera can provide a lot of comfort in the face of pesky symptoms.
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Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and antiseptic product that can gently clear away dead skin cells that clog up your pores and block hair growth from the follicle. Mix tea tree oil with warm water and apply it to your razor bumps daily to help them heal quickly.
You can also use warm tea bag compresses to help open up the pores and clear the hair pathway to grow out of the follicle cleanly.
Moisturizers allow your skin to heal and regenerate correctly by sealing hydration and smoothing out your skin. Apply a moisturizer regularly throughout the day to treat razor bumps.
Use an Aftershave
Aftershaves provide instant after-shave relief by moisturizing, hydrating, and refreshing the skin—aftershave products reduce redness, inflammation, and dryness.
Use a Cortisone Cream
Cortisone creams are widely used to treat skin conditions including eczema, dermatitis, rash, itching, and redness. Many cortisone creams can be purchased without a doctor's prescription. Please check with the pharmacist to choose the right one for you.
Consult With A Doctor
A doctor may prescribe an anti-bacterial cream or an over-the-counter steroid to increase skin cell turnover and cut down on the time it takes to heal your razor bumps.
Whether you’re no stranger to razor bumps or you’ve never had one and want to reduce the probability that you ever have to deal with them, using the advice above can help you get a clean and pain-free shave on any part of your body.
Making sure you take frequent shave breaks and using a gentle shave gel like the L3vel3 Shaving Gel are among the best tips for preventing bumps.
Additionally, the products to use after shaving can make all the difference in your skin health. Opting for a non-irritating, moisturizing aftershave like the L3vel3 After Shave Cologne will keep you smelling fresh and will keep your skin supple, hydrated, and, of course, bump-free.