Every man has experienced them at least once in their lifetime: those annoying little razor bumps that pop up after shaving, which can give you the look of a 15-year-old teenager… not in a good way!
Although they’re not uncommon, the good news is that getting rid of razor bumps fast is not that difficult. By following a few easy steps that we’re going to explain in this post you will get rid of razor bumps in no time and for good.
But first, let’s have a closer look at what those little, nasty bumps really are, what are the causes and how you can prevent them before even having to treat them.
What Are Razor Bumps
Razor bumps are ingrown hairs that develop mainly after shaving, but also after using other hair removal techniques such as waxing or plucking. They arise when strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin. As the new skin cells grow over the hair, this becomes trapped causing irritation and pimples that can last up to two weeks.
Typically found where a hair follicle emerges from the surface of the skin, razor bumps can develop on any area of the body where a person shaves or removes hair, including the face, head, legs, underarms, and pubic area.
They happen more frequently in men who have naturally coarse hair and darker skin tones. This is because hair that naturally grows into a curl has a larger risk of getting trapped into the skin than a straight hair can.
Razor bumps can sometimes be mistaken for acne. And much like acne, they can feel tender or painful when inflamed. In the worst cases, some men can develop folliculitis and/or a chronic type of razor bumps called Pseudofolliculitis Barbae. This condition occurs in up to 60 percent of African American men (and in others with curly hair), and in severe cases might require a visit to a dermatologist.
Razor bumps may also cause scarring, so they need to be handled with care.
Razor Bumps VS Razor Burns
Although the terms are used interchangeably, razor bumps are not the same thing as razor burn. A razor burn is caused after you shave and is a type of skin irritation caused by the friction of the razor.
Razor bumps, on the other hand, can develop several days after hair removal, once the hair has had time to grow into the skin and create a blockage.
In most cases, razor burn will clear up within a few days without treatment. Razor bumps may take longer to clear, and you should avoid shaving while bumps are present.
How To Get Rid Of Razor Bumps Fast
We are going to give you some tips on how to prevent razor bumps later on, but first let us get straight to the point. Razor bumps happen, no matter how many years you’ve been shaving and you can’t always avoid them. Some people are just more naturally prone to them.
Although nothing can make them go away instantly, there are several strategies that can help remove them faster and allow the skin to heal. Let’s have a look at them.
1. Help your skin peel
Cleansers, toners, and lotions containing salicylic and/or glycolic acids can help fight razor bumps by exfoliating the skin above the trapped hair and also kill bacteria trapped in the follicle.
- Salicylic acid works to alleviate razor bumps by peeling off dead skin cells and calm inflammation. It can penetrate oil glands in the skin to unclog pores thus allowing the ingrown hair to make its way out of the pore. Salicylic acid also reduces the appearance of the bump and even out the skin.
- Like salicylic acid, glycolic acid helps the skin peel by removing old cells and allow the hair to come to the surface. Because it speeds up the skin’s natural renewal process, a glycolic acid product can help razor bumps clear up more quickly and give the skin a smoother appearance.
Various products containing salicylic and glycolic acid are easily available in drug stores and online, such as this Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and these resurfacing pads with 20% Glycolic Acid.
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Another good option is this PFB Vanish Razor Bump Stopper Roll-On Shaving Gel, formulated for ingrown hairs, razor burn and bumps resulting from shaving, waxing, tweezing, electrolysis and laser hair removal. PFB Vanish contains exfoliating and moisturizing ingredients, including salicylic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid to maximize the results. Use on face, neck, underarms, legs, back and groin areas.
2. Tweeze it
Removing the trapped hair could get rid of the razor bump quickly, but only if the ingrown hair is visible! If the hair is not visible on the surface of the skin, using tweezers could actually injure the skin, causing more irritation and infection.
In the same way, do not attempt to pick or squeeze the bumps, as they could get worse or cause scarring. We know it’s tempting!
Make sure to wash your skin and hands with soap and water before tweezing, and to sterilize the tweezers with alcohol.
3. Try a topical cream
Over-the-counter creams containing benzoyl peroxide or hydrocortisone can be effective in treating razor bumps fast, like this Neutrogena Spot Treatment Gel. Its maximum strength formula contains 10% benzoyl peroxide, which is the acne medication dermatologists recommend for clearer skin without a prescription.
Avoid shaving the affected area until any sores and bumps heal while applying them. If the bumps develop signs of infection, like welts and pustules, consult your doctor as he might prescribe you an oral antibiotic.
How To Prevent Razor Bumps
Now that we talked about how to get rid of razor bumps, let’s talk about how to prevent them in the first place, so that hopefully you won’t even have to get there.
The good news is that in many cases there are things you can do and some easy remedies you can try to stop the bumps from occurring.
Here are three super easy, but very effective home remedies you can try to prevent razor bumps.
Home Remedies To Prevent Razor Bumps
- Aloe vera
The aloe vera plant is a succulent plant species that grows abundantly in tropical climates and has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant. Its juice is a gooey, thick liquid made from the flesh of the aloe vera plant leaf. It’s commonly known to treat sunburns and help heal wounds.
- Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is an essential oil that comes from steaming the leaves of the Australian tea tree. When used topically, tea tree oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties.
To prevent razor bumps after shaving, try and mix 10–15 drops of this handcraft tea tree essential oil into a bowl of warm water. Soak a washcloth in the bowl and apply the cloth over the affected area for 30 minutes. Repeat a few times a day, as needed.
This should help the pores to open up. It also helps loosen the ingrown hair, and soothe the redness and inflammation of the razor bumps.
- Exfoliating scrub
Prepare your skin before shaving by using a gentle scrub like this Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Daily Facial Scrub. Exfoliating daily will help clear away dead skin cells that may otherwise be clogging up the pores and cause ingrown hair and razor bumps.
However, if the skin is red, irritated, or sensitive, use scrubs with caution. Some people may have a skin reaction to the rough texture of scrubs, especially those with sensitive or inflamed skin.
More home remedies include:
- Apple cider vinegar, to use on your skin to calm irritation
- Witch hazel extract
- Oatmeal bath
- Coconut oil
- Sweet almond oil
If you prefer to go with an OTC option, look for a topical cream containing hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone cream is a topical steroid that’s used to reduce swelling and calm inflammation. Low-strength formulas such as Cortizone-10 Maximum Strength are available without a prescription.
Useful Tips To Prevent Razor Bumps
Once you’ve found your ideal product (or a combination of them), it’s time to look at some of the techniques you can adopt to prevent razor bumps from occurring.
Prevention techniques are mainly related to practicing good shaving habits. Let’s have a look at them in detail.
How To Prevent Razor Bumps
- Avoid shaving too closely.
Before shaving, apply a lubricant, such as soap or shaving cream.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth rather than against it.
Shave with light and short strokes.
- If you can, shave in a steamy shower to soften the hairs.
But don’t leave your razor in the shower!
- Avoid pulling skin while shaving.
This is because, once you release it, your skin goes over the hair shaft that you just cut and the hair will start growing under your skin, causing the bumps.
- If you can, reduce the frequency of shaving to give your skin time to recover.
Don’t shave too often, but do shave regularly to avoid allowing the hair to grow long enough to re-enter the skin’s surface. Every other day is a good frequency, or just a few times a week, depending on how fast your hair grows.
- Exfoliate regularly
Getting rid of dead skin cells on the surface before you shave can help you avoid hairs getting caught under your skin.
- Use an electric razor, such as this Remington F5-5800 electric shaver.
Replace it frequently and avoid leaving it in the shower as the dampness can cause it to gather bacteria and mold.
Finally, a very important step that too many men often forget: keep your skin moisturized. Use a moisturizing cream or shaving gel daily, but especially right after you shave.
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While in most cases, razor burn will clear up within a few days without treatment, razor bumps may take longer to clear. You should avoid shaving while bumps are present.
Razor bumps generally do not cause serious health problems, but their appearance can be bothersome and can affect a person’s confidence.
If the affected area appears to be infected, or doesn’t clear up within a reasonable time frame, consult your doctor. Chronically occurring razor burn or razor bumps should also be treated by a doctor, as they can develop into more serious conditions such as folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles.
If all of the above fails, you may want to look into laser hair removal. This treatment kills the hair all the way down to its root, eliminating the essential cause of ingrown hair.
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