Razor Bumps - how to keep them at bay

Razor Bumps - how to keep them at bay

Have you run your hands down your cheeks, chin or neck and found bumps all over? Well, those are razor bumps. They are  ingrown hairs that make an appearance after a shave or other hair removal process - plucking or  waxing. This condition in medical terms is called ‘pseudofolliculitis barbae’- quite a mouthful right? 

Well, razor bumps are nothing to fret about, and are quite common. In rare cases, they cause pain, itching or some amount of swelling, resembling tiny boils. We are here to explain how these razor bumps come about, what you can do to prevent them from appearing, and how to get rid of them.  Another fact that not many are aware of is that razor bumps can develop on any part of the body, anywhere you shave/remove hair. This includes the face, neck, head, underarms, pubic region and legs.  

What causes razor bumps?

Typically when you shave your face and neck region, you remove the hair above the skin and some amount of the top layer of the skin as well. When the hair grows back, some of it curls up and grows inwards, which is what causes the bumps, the redness, itching and so on. While razor bumps are quite common among those with curly hair, they have been known to occur on others as well. Breath easy, you did not do anything wrong.

How to prevent these razor bumps?

  1. Good shaving routine -
    Having a good shaving technique will help reduce the risk of razor bumps. Always shave in or just after the shower, when your pores are open and the skin is moisturised, and the hairs are soft. It also helps to use a gentle exfoliating cleanser before the shave to prep the skin and remove any dead skin cells.  

  2. Shaving gels - Be generous with a shaving gel and always apply it along the hair growth direction. This will give you a close shave and fewer ingrown hair.

  3. Good quality razor - Always use a good quality razor, and make sure the blades are in good condition as well. If you feel resistance when shaving, change the blade or razor. 

  4. Electric razors- Dermatologists recommend electric razors if razor bumps are a chronic problem. While you might not achieve a very close shave, it helps keep your skin in good health. 

  5. Creams and lotions - Switch to gentle shaving creams and hair removing lotions if you have noticed razor bumps. These are ideal for certain areas of the body, and will give good results. Leave them on the region for a few minutes and wipe with a warm towel.

  6. After shave balm - if you have sensitive skin, time to do away with the shave balm you have been using and pick up the one meant for sensitive skin type. It will minimise risk of inflammation and curb ingrowth of hairs.

  7. On the spot treatment- salicylic acid gel when applied on skin helps exfoliate, and clean dead skin cells while helping the ingrown hair to make its way out thereby reducing chances of razor bumps.Quite a few lotions, toners and cleansers contain salicylic acid gel.

Now that you are armed with all this information, time to revisit your shaving routine. Also, if you do find a razor bump pop up, splash some cold water immediately to help shrink the poor and ease the pain.  

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