Who doesn’t like a well-groomed and clean look? A good shave leaves you feeling clean and fresh, but the biggest drawback of shaving are razor bumps, or the pseudofolliculitis barbae, the medical term for the irritated bumps that tend to appear after shaving. Shaving is not the only culprit behind the painful pimple-like bumps that can also lead to scarring, it can be caused by waxing and plucking of hair as well. It can occur at any place where hair has been shaved, waxed, or plucked. But the common places where these are likely to occur are the face, underarms, groin, and legs.
Causes and Symptoms of razor bumps
After you shave, the new hair grows out from the follicle. At times, the new hair instead of growing straight out meets resistance from the new skin cells and curls back inside the pore and starts growing into the skin. As it gets trapped and starts to grow inside it causes irritation, pain, and results in the formation of a bump.
Though razor bump is a common problem which anyone who removes hair can face, it is seen that men with curly hair are more likely to face this problem than others. Men with curly hair are even prone to get razor bumps on the neck after they get their hair shaved. Razor bumps are not very difficult to identify – they are swollen painful spots like pimples sometimes with a white head of puss on top of them in areas where you have removed hair.
Though razor bumps are usually innocuous, not treating them correctly might lead to infection and more pain and eventually force you to take a trip to the doctor. Do give this article a thorough read because it is going to be the ultimate help you need to treat your razor bumps, so they might not lead you to more pain and suffering.
How to get rid of razor bumps?
If you get razor bumps, try to keep them clean, and don’t shave over the affected area till the bumps heal completely. Razor bumps though painful and irritating are usually harmless and could easily be treated and cured at home using natural substances and also chemical skincare products. Here is a list of remedies to treat razor bumps at home:
7 Razor bump treatments that can be done at home
1. Releasing the hair
If the hair is visible near the surface of the skin you can use a sterilized needle to release the hair and pull it out using a sterilized tweezer. Releasing the trapped hair could help the bump to heal quickly. Take precautions while using tweezers, picking or squeezing the bump could make it worse and leave a scar. You should avoid attempting to use needles and tweezers if the hair is not visible. You would worsen the bump by piercing and injuring the skin causing even more irritation and might lead to infection.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to moisturize the skin and soothe the irritation, itching, and inflammation caused by the bumps.
The process to use aloe is very simple, all you need to do is remove the aloe gel from its leaves and apply it directly to the affected area. Let it dry and leave it for about half an hour and then wash the area with water or better clean it with a warm towel. Repeat the process a few times a day and it will definitely provide you much relief.
3. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil which is widely known for its antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, can prove to be a very good razor bumps treatment and soothe inflammation and itching.
The procedure is rather easy, you need to mix around 10 drops of tea tree oil in warm water and soak a towel with that water and apply it to the affected area for around half an hour. Repeating this process a few times a day opens up the pores, loosens the ingrown hair, and reduces the bump and inflammation.
Gentle exfoliation or scrubbing can help to remove the dead skin cells and dirt which have clogged up the pores. You can either use scrubs bought from stores or prepare your do-it-yourself exfoliator using sugar and olive oil. But be a little cautious while scrubbing and don’t be too harsh on your skin as it can lead to redness and inflammation. The process again is very simple, all you need to do is rub the exfoliator over the affected area for a few minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
5. Salicylic acid or Glycolic Acid
The use of skincare products with salicylic acid or glycolic acid in them can help the bumps heal faster and provide you relief from the pain. These acids have exfoliating properties and help clear old dead cells from the surface of the skin. Razor bumps occur when the hair gets trapped inside because of the pores being blocked by excess skin cells.
These acids help to reopen the pores by clearing the dead cells allowing the ingrown hair to make its way back to the surface. Several skin care products containing these acids can be found online.
6. Brush the skin
Using a soft brush on the affected area that you have shaved to clear away the dead skin cells is another way to unclog the pores and release the hair. Brushing the area may help in the healing of the razor bumps as it helps to guide the trapped hair out of the blocked pores.
7. Warm washcloth
Applying a washcloth soaked in warm saltwater solution on the affected area can help to a great extent to soothe the razor bumps. Applying a warm, wet washcloth softens the skin and draws the hair growing beneath the skin out. This method can prove to be more effective when coupled with the other techniques mentioned above.
What if home remedies fail?
Razor bumps can easily be treated if you follow the above-listed techniques, but in case these home remedies fail to comfort you can go for over-the-counter antibiotic creams to speed up healing. Over-the-counter creams with hydrocortisone and tretinoin can reduce the swelling and itching and speed up the recovery.
If in case your razor bumps have worsened and developed into a secondary infection, don’t delay paying a visit to a doctor or a dermatologist and use the prescribed antibiotic and antifungal creams to cure the problem.
Prevention is better than cure
Razor bumps though usually innocuous are irritating and painful, and their appearance brings an extra burden of treating and curing them in your already busy life. Here are a few ways of how you can stay clear of getting razor bumps and save yourself from spending your time on curing them, because prevention is always better than cure.
1. Shave less often
The easiest way to avoid razor bumps is to not shave frequently. This reduces the risk of hair being too short to grow out of the skin. If you are prone to getting razor bumps, shaving less often will give time to your skin to heal from previous bumps and prevent the formation of new bumps.
2. Use an electric shaver
Razors cut your hair too short and very close to the skin, this increases the chances of ingrown hair leading to razor bumps. Try using electric shavers on a low setting to keep the hair slightly longer than when cut with a razor. This makes it less likely for hair to grow back into the skin. Using electric shavers can help you prevent razor bumps on your neck and face.
3. Prepare properly before shaving
We understand that electric shavers can’t completely replace razors. When you do decide to shave using razors, prepare properly, take time to soften your skin and hair using warm water before you shave. Exfoliation can help to a great extent to avoid razor bumps, scrub your skin properly to get rid of all the dirt and dead skin cells.
Do you remember when was the last time you changed your razor blade? You don’t? Then it’s high time you get yourself a new and sharp blade. Shaving with a sharp blade reduces the chances of getting razor bumps. Use a thick shaving gel as it will keep the hair as close to upright as possible and prevent curling of hair inside your skin after you are done shaving. Never stretch your skin while shaving, and shave with light gentle strokes in the direction of the hair growth and not against the grain.
4. Use of depilatory creams
You can opt for depilatory creams or hair removal creams to avoid razor bumps on the legs and nether areas. Hair removal creams dissolve the hair and reduce the risk of razor bumps. However, they come with their own set of problems, if you have sensitive skin, they can cause irritation, redness, inflammation, and sometimes swelling.
If you shave regularly, you are aware of the problems that razor bumps accompany, this article is your one-stop solution for all the tips related to prevention, curing, and treatment of razor bumps.