What are razor bumps?

Razor bumps are small irritated bumps on top of the skin as a result of an extremely close shave.

shavingYou see, when you shave, you tend to sharpen the end of the hair making it more likely to penetrate the skin and become ingrown as the hair grows. Those with curly hair are more likely to get razor bumps than those with straight hair because it grows out and then curl back toward the skin rather than growing directly out of the skin. The body fights the hair when it pierces through the skin (growing) as if it were an infection. That will result in a razor bump. Razor bumps can cause scarring in addition to irritations and pimples so careful treatment is your best bet of prevention.

How are razor bumps treated?

The best way to keep razor bump at bay is to stop shaving. Use a clean needle to release the enclosed hair shaft if you cannot stop shaving. This will usually halt razor bumps from developing, depending on how severe it is.

When you start shaving again, the razor bumps usually return.

If you have extreme razor bumps, treating it with home remedies will not make it go away. Medicated creams such as hydrocortisone, antibiotics, and a combination of an antibiotic gel and a topical steroid or retinoid (Tazorac or Retin-A) are used for severe cases. Oral antibiotics can be effective in the right person. Eflornithine cream can also be prescribed to reduce hair growth; however, it takes many weeks to see an effect and must be used indefinitely.

Do shaving alternatives stop the development of razor bumps?

If you stop shaving, razor bumps will usually go away on their own. You can use hair removing products rather than shaving to prevent the bumps. Realize though that these products can also cause skin irritation and should only be used only once or twice a week. If left on for too long, it will cause skin redness and soreness.

You can also prevent razor bumps and irritation on your skin by having your hair removed permanently through laser hair removal surgery. This will allow you to not have to shave ever again. Multiple treatments may be necessary to permanently remove the hair.

Prevent razor bumps

Following these shaving instructions can help prevent razor bumps from forming:

  • Help soften up the hair shaft and opening up the pores by taking a hot shower before shaving
  • Always use a shaving gel
  • Avoid stretching the skin when shaving and do not shave on the opposite direction that your beard grows. Use very few razor strokes as possible and when done, rinse with cold water.
  • Use an electric razor if it can be adjusted to a higher setting.
  • After shaving, press a cold wet cloth against your face for 5 minutes.
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