Razor bumps are an unfortunate part of being human. Women want smooth, hairless under arms and legs, while men are often seek a smooth, clean shaven face. Whenever the hair follicle is agitated it can become irritated and even infected. The smooth topped, red bumps that appear after shaving are caused by inflammation in the skin, while the acne-like pus bumps, which are actually a small bacterial infection.
Shaving causes micro-abrasions in the skin and strips the skin of its natural oils that protect it. This leads to inflammation and infection. Darker skin toned people experience this the most, but any ethnicity can struggle with it. The more often someone shaves, especially over already irritated skin, the more likely the bumps will appear.
With different skin types it’s not always easy to prevent razor bumps; however there are some tips to live by:
Moisten the skin with water first.
Apply a thick, non-irritating shave gel
Do not shave “against the grain” of the hair. Meaning if the hair is growing in the direction towards your feet, shave in the direction towards your feet. Not upwards.
Use a sharp, clean blade. A dirty blade is more likely to cause infection. A dull blade is more irritating.
Apply after shave to the face, or a nice creamy lotion to the legs after shaving. Keeping the skin a little damp before applying lotion, helps to hydrate and sooth the skin better than applying to dry legs.
If bumps appear, do not pick at them. This will make them worse, and spread infection.
If straight razors are still too irritating, try an electric razor. It may leave a little more stubble, but it’ll be worth it if it keeps those pesky bumps away.
If no improvement with these tips, the dermatologist can prescribe medications to clear and prevent the bumps.
Although use of shaving gel, after shave and lotion are recommended, many come in a variety of scents and colors. This can actually work against preventing the bumps as scents and colors can be irritants. It is advisable to seek out sensitive skin preparations.
Remember, for any other advice, please contact your local dermatology provider. For more information and tips on preventing razor bumps, see our Facebook and Google+ pages.