I underwent numerous challenges when I started grooming myself. Unsure of which practices to apply, the last 7 years have seen me practice different self-care techniques. While I would rather stick to one routine, every once in a while, I am forced to step out of my comfort zone in a bid to discover more convenient solutions on how to get rid of razor bumps.
Razor Bumps vs. Razor Burn
Razor burns and razor bumps are two types of skin irritation brought about by shaving. You can avoid experiencing both of them by following the right shaving techniques.
A razor burn comes about when the surface skin cells are removed. Removal can occur when you use a razor to go over a certain area many times or by pressing the razor too hard against the skin. This is also known as skinning yourself.
Hair bumps occur when a person has an ingrown hair, which occurs when you shave too closely to the skin surface. People with curly hair are more likely to experience razor bumps when shaving compared to those with straight hair. It’s the reason women use depilatories around their bikini regions. This prevents the occurrences of red bumps after shaving as the whole hair follicle is pulled out.
Things to consider when shaving
Shaving in the direction of hair growth—downward, with the grain—assists in preventing shaving bumps.
Using a cartridge razor containing a swivel head or using a lighter touch when shaving can assist in preventing burns.
Wet shaves make it easier for the razor to easily glide across the skin surface. Individuals prone to bumps or burns should consider having a wet shave after taking a shower or a bath.
Apply shaving oil to the surface to act as your base, then follow it up with shaving soap, and then use the shaving technique explained earlier. I have prepared a really useful guide on how to properly shave.
If you are wondering how to get rid of razor burn, it’s fairly straight forward. You can remedy a razor burn using a cream-based shaving balm (alcohol-free). Bumps, on the other hand, tend to disappear on their own after several days.
Considering that bumps are mere pimples, you can also use an acne cream to get rid of them.
How to Prevent Razor Bumps
You can do several things to help stop the formation of razor bumps. If the measures described below doesn’t work for you, consider consulting a doctor as soon as possible.
Common prevention tips include the following:
Study Your Hair Growth Pattern
If you are one of those people who suffer from sensitive skin, the first thing to do before shaving is to study the hair growth pattern. To avoid irritation, you should ensure that you only shave in the direction of your hair growth.
Also, exercise some patience, take your time to shave slowly, and use steady strokes. Research and experiment with different shaving techniques for different parts of your body to prevent your chances of developing bumps and rashes.
Shave Less Often
Where possible, the right shaving approach would involve shaving less frequently or every other day. This is an approach that will help to minimize the risks of cutting your body hair too close to the skin. In the process, you get to reduce your chances of developing ingrown hairs and it gives your skin a break.
Keep Your Razor Sharp
Using a sharp razor blade assists in protecting your skin from bumps, razor bumps, and unwanted nicks. Learn to replace the old blade with a new one as soon as it starts feeling rough when placed on your skin surface. The same applies when the blade starts to pull at the body hair. It is especially important to sharpen your straight razor. If you would like to learn the skill of shaving with a straight razor I have created this handy guide on how to use a straight razor.
Use an Electric Razor
When you shave too close to your skin, you end-up cutting it very short. Doing so increases your chances of developing ingrown hairs as the growth process begins.
To minimize the risks of cutting the hair too short, opt to use an electric razor with its settings adjusted to low as a way of ensuring that the hair left behind will be slightly longer. It’s the simplest way to prevent the hair from turning back and growing into the skin. If you would like to experience the closest shave you can easily achieve that with some of the best foil shavers. These are specially designed for close and safe shaves. A hair razor is also a great choice if you are cutting large areas of hair and you are trying to avoid damage to the skin.
Consider a Retinoid Product
A retinoid product takes several weeks before it can achieve its full results. As such, this isn’t a quick fix. On the other hand, it can assist in preventing acne as well as razor bumps.
Retinoid products are available in the form of OTC (over the counter) cleansers, serums, and creams. It’s also possible to get access to potent retinoid products with a prescription.
Tazarotene (Tazorac), Adapalene (Differin), and Tretinoin (Retin-A) are some of the common prescription retinoids.
Before plucking or shaving, you can reduce your risk of getting the razor bumps by taking time to prepare the skin. Some of the steps that can help with this include:
- Use alcohol to clean the razor before and after use to keep it bacteria-free
- Use skin cleansing products containing glycolic acid or salicylic acid to get rid of excess skin cells and clear the pores
- Use a new, sharp razor
- Only shave when your skin is wet, either when showering or immediately after taking a shower. Alternatively, place a wet (preferably warm) towel on the area for at least five minutes before you can start shaving.
- Avoid skincare products that contain irritating ingredients. Such products can cause inflammation to worsen.
- Use a shaving gel or cream that is appropriate for your particular skin type. If you have dry skin, go for a shaving cream containing a moisturizer.
Don’t Cut Hair Too Closely
Some people tend to pull the skin taut to enable them to get a closer shave. What they don’t realize is that as soon as the skin is released, it automatically goes above the hair shaft that has just been cut.
The result is that hair will start to grow beneath the skin surface, leading to the formation of bumps. It’s particularly common among people who have curly, coarse, or thick hair.
Change Shaving Techniques
You may wish to use depilatories or hair removal creams known to dissolve hair in a bid to reduce your chances of getting a razor bump.
However, you need to understand that hair removal creams often come up with chemicals that can easily irritate your skin. It’s recommended that you stay away from these products if your skin is sensitive, inflamed, or reddish looking.
Laser hair removal is another popular option. It’s a technique often performed by dermatologists and other professionals in the haircare industry. According to the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology), laser hair removal requires several treatments for results to become visible.
After the treatment, the hair that will grow back will be finer and lighter.
- Do not repeatedly shave the same area. You also need to make sure that you don’t pull your skin taut when shaving.
- Shave while your hair is wet and use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel. Hydrating and softening your hair will make it easier for the razor to cleanly cut it without having to use too much force. This will cause less irritation and will also get rid of irregularly cut hairs which may turn into ingrown hairs.
Use Proper Post-Shaving Technique
Post-shaving care should start a day after shaving your hair. You will need to use a Buf- Puf (you can make inquiries from your female friends about it), a washcloth, or a soft bristle brush to gently massage the shaved area.
The purpose is to loosen and eliminate the dead hairs and skin present on the surface. It also ensures that the hairs will not start growing into the skin.
The size of razor bumps tends to range from small to large. When it comes to their appearance, they can appear as a white, pus-filled bump or take on a reddish color.
While there is nothing you can do to swiftly get rid of them, there are several treatment options at your disposal that will assist in removing them fast, and ensuring that the skin gets to heal well.
Available treatment options include:
Avoid Shaving Until All Bumps have Healed
You should allow your hair enough time to grow so that the skin also gets time to settle. It’s recommended that you avoid shaving for between three to four weeks until the lesions on your skin go off.
Additionally, consider reducing the number of times that you brush the hair to allow it enough time to grow longer. This will also include cutting down on your shaving frequency to reduce its chances of re-entering the skin.
The Hot Towel Method
Applying a wet or warm washcloth or towel to the skin assists in softening it and drawing out all the ingrown hairs. The hot towel method works well when used together with other treatment options discussed here.
Similarly, you could also choose to steam the area that you want to treat in a sauna or hot shower.
Tea Tree Oil + Carrier Oil
Another option is to use a home remedy to treat your razor bump. One home remedy that is highly recommended involves the use of tea tree oil and carrier oil.
There’s, however, a need for you to perform a small patch test on the skin before using tea tree oil to treat the bump. The purpose of this patch test is to ensure that you will not experience any allergic reaction.
If it turns out okay, make sure to spread a thin layer of this remedy over the surface that has the razor bump. Allow it to sit for fifteen to twenty minutes before rinsing it off with cool water.
Witch Hazel is a renowned natural anti-inflammatory and astringent, thanks to its tannin content. It’s mainly used as a natural home remedy to treat minor skin irritation, relieve pain, and soothe burns.
Use a cotton pad to apply it to the razor bump as needed.
Aloe Vera is commonly known for its soothing and healing properties. According to a systematic review conducted in 2007, there is evidence to support the theory that aloe vera can assist in healing first and second-degree burns.
If looking to treat a razor burn or bump, you should scoop a thin layer of pure aloe vera gel and gently apply it to the affected region. The gel is readily available in many pharmacies. You can also harvest it from the leaves of the aloe plant.
Slowly exfoliate the affected skin region. Exfoliation helps to get rid of dead skin cells that could be clogging your pores. You could use a do-it-yourself paste prepared using olive oil and sugar or opt to purchase a mild exfoliator from your local pharmacy.
Scoop the paste or exfoliator using your fingers and gently rub it in the affected region for at least five minutes. Use warm water and a washcloth to rinse off the exfoliator agent.
Razor Bump Reduction Product
There exist several OTC (over the counter) products that you can use to treat razor bumps and burns. Good examples include aftershave lotion for both men and women. You can also consider using baby products, e.g., diaper rash creams and baby oil to soothe skin irritation.
Products that contain hydrocortisone will assist in reducing redness and swelling. Salicylic acid is a product that is often used to treat acne, and which can also help to treat razor bumps.
If you happen to have both razor burns and razor bumps, consider using products that contain glycolic acid. The acid is capable of reducing skin lesions by up to sixty percent. This is a product that will allow you to resume your daily shaving routine in no time.
Individuals can also look for specially formulated razor bump creams that are known to assist in preventing ingrown hairs.
This is an herbal remedy prepared using flowers from the calendula plant. The remedy is used to promote wound-healing, heal rashes, and reduce inflammation. Apply a small amount of calendula cream on the affected region at least once or twice a day to assist in soothing razor bumps and razor burns.
It’s a topical steroid that is often used to assist in reducing inflammation and skin irritation. Low-strength hydrocortisone formulas can be purchased over the counter without the need for a prescription.
Make sure to follow the directions provided by the doctor or manufacturer. You will need to apply it once or twice a day. Discontinue use if you the inflammation becomes worse or if you start to experience any side effects.
See a Dermatologist
Pay close attention to your razor bumps and razor burns. If no improvement is noticed within 2-3 days, then visit a dermatologist. Both bumps and burns can lead to an infection that will require the use of oral and topical medications to treat.
Severe bumps and burns can also lead to skin darkening and scarring. A dermatologist can assist in treating the razor bumps or razor burns and also providing a recommendation on products that you should consider using to prevent aggravating the condition.
Razor bumps on your face, neck, groin area of legs should clear up in no time, provided that you don’t irritate the affected region any further. You also need to make sure that you treat your skin using the treatment options discussed above. Additionally, refrain from shaving until the inflammation has gone down to prevent worsening the condition.
The aforementioned tips will assist you on how to get rid of razor bumps and to soothe the affected region as the skin continues to heal. Visit a dermatologist if you develop an infection or if the bumps do not go away on their own.