Razor bumps and ingrown hairs

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Razor bumps and ingrown hairs
Razor bumps and ingrown hairs

Most people often get red, inflamed pimples after they shave. These are called as shaving pimples or razor bumps. They not only look ugly but also cause a lot of discomfort, irritation, itching and pain. Sometimes, one can get a cluster of razor bumps in the same area. Research has found that people with coarse and curly hair are mostly vulnerable to razor bumps as compared to those who have straight hair. Black men and women are also believed to be more susceptible to shaving bumps. The scientific term used for razor bump is pseudofolliculitis barbae or PFB and they can be unpleasant and severely painful.

Ingrown hair vs. razor bumps

Cause of razor bumps

When shaved, curly hair that has been removed by shaving at an angle turns and curls back against the skin and penetrates deep beneath the surface, it punctures the skin and develops into an ingrown hair. Affected area becomes red and swells up. Razor bumps are characterized by skin irritation, discoloration, a burning sensation, inflammation and infection. The persistent inflammation and painful, red pimples are called as razor bumps. They mostly occur after facial hair, underarm hair or pubic hair is removed with sharp blades or unclean or infected razor. Razor bumps may develop into a much bigger problem known as Barber's Rash.

Ways to prevent razor bumps

It is quite painful and also frustrating to get small red bumps after facial hair is being removed with the process of shaving. You may feel embarrassed, irritated, unpleasant and uncomfortable to get infected with this common skin disease. However, do not get too concerned as there are ways to prevent this unsightly skin condition. You can minimize the chances of getting razor bumps if you follow these simple steps:

  • If you persistently suffer from razor bumps, it is advisable that you do not shave every day as shaving daily might aggravate skin irritation and cause more small red bumps to appear on the facial hair. Shaving your skin after an interval of 2 or 3 days will avoid the skin from getting swelled up. Days on which you do not want to shave off your facial hair with sharp blades, consider using electric razors or beard trimmers. In case of removing hair on the head and legs, give 2 or 3 days rest in between close shaves to avoid razor bumps and ensure that the hair on these areas do not become unmanageable.
  • Wet your face before shaving or wash it off with lukewarm water in order to make the facial hair soft. Scrubbing facing with soapy foam or a sponge will not only make the hair soft but also help to get a better shave, thereby preventing shaving pimples from appearing on the surface of the skin. Razor bumps can be avoided by softening the facial hair. As they are mostly caused by an angular cut from a razor, making the hair soft will ensure that you get a more even cut through the hair.
  • Use of a good shaving cream will help you get a better shave, reduce friction and minimize shaving-related skin irritation. Apply a thick cream and lather up well to make sure that the cream penetrates deeply into the scalp. Allow the cream to stay on the areas that are most likely to get razor bumps and shave those areas last.
  • Before shaving, do check your blade or razor. Discard an old razor before they turn blunt and cause infection. You can also use electric razors for getting a smooth and even shave. Cleaning the blades and rinse them after every stroke with cold water to wipe out the whiskers and remove dead skin. This will help in preventing razor bumps.
  • Avoid shaving against the grain of the hair and try to take short and deliberate moves to avoid inflammation, irritation and itching that leads to ingrown hair.
Treatment for razor bumps

If razor bumps have developed on your facial hair, then you can take the following treatment solutions for getting rid of the skin irritation. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind to treat razor bumps effectively:

  • If you are suffering from razor bumps, do not shave for a few days and do let your facial hair grow for a while
  • Tend to red bumps immediately as they can spread to other areas easily
  • Using an antibiotic will probably help in case you have got a cut near the red bumps
  • Use of a prescription drug known as Vaniqa can be effective in treating razor bumps. However, talk to your doctor before taking the prescription drug

With proper care and attention, razor bumps can be prevented and also treated effectively.