If you shave on a regular basis, then the term “razor bumps” may be familiar to you. They are known by many names – shaving bumps, razor pimples, shaving pimples among them. In worst cases, these razor bumps can get infected and cluster together to look like a very bad case of acne. People with curly and thicker hair seem to be more prone to these bumps than others.
(These can be especially common in the African American population)
But what causes razor bumps?
These bumps are frequently caused by the presence of a freshly-shaven hair that has been cut to a certain angle, only to curl back due to its sharpness. When this happens, the hair penetrates the skin and the body starts treating it as a foreign body – an infection which causes red bumps to even pus-generating swell. Although razor bumps are normal, there are ways to prevent razor bumps from happening.
Here are some tips to help get rid of and prevent razor bumps:
1. Don’t shave too frequently.
Allow your skin to rest for a few days after a close shave. You can opt to use an electric razor or trimmer during these rest periods.
2. Soften the skin before shaving.
Many razor bumps are caused by a blunt angular cut. In order to prevent this, try to make it a habit to ensure that the affected area is softened with warm water or soap before proceeding with the shave.
3. Use proper shaving techniques.
Never shave when you are running late to work. Rushing through a shave will increase your chances of developing bumps. Instead, use proper shaving techniques which include:
- applying shaving cream and letting it stay for a couple of minutes before shaving
- not shaving against the hair growth
- using a good, sharp razor with features like moisture strips
- changing blades at least once a week to avoid close shave caused by dull blades
4. Take care of razor bumps.
If you happen to have razor bumps, resist the urge to pick it or squeeze it. Instead, try to use antibiotic creams and allow it to heal itself for a few days. This is also applicable if you get cuts, scrapes or nicks from shaving. Tea tree oil, iodine or other antibacterial or alcohol-based aftershave may also help prevent those razor bumps from getting further infected.
If you are getting more razor bumps than normal, you can consider other means of hair removal such as waxing or laser treatment. It would also help to see a dermatologist for proper treatment of razor bumps.