People of all ethnicities can get razor bumps from shaving. But men seem to get them more frequently than women for various reasons. Black men occur in up to 80% of all men who get razor bumps. As a consequence, when shaving, men must be especially cautious to avoid ingrown hairs.
What are razor bumps?
After a good, clean shave, your skin feels smooth and soft — until the red bumps occur. Razor bumps aren’t just a nuisance. They will inflict permanent harm if not treated.
Symptoms of razor bumps
While the main symptom is raised, red bumps, others may include:
- Skin discoloration
- Small papules (solid, rounded bumps)
- Pimples (pus-filled, blister-like lesions)
Razor bumps can occur anywhere you’ve shaved as waxing, plucking, and chemical depilatory hair removal can contribute to the condition in some cases.
Razor bumps are most likely to occur in the areas listed below:
- The face (especially the chin, neck, and lower cheeks)
Why are men more likely than women to get razor bumps?
Men tend to get razor bumps more often than women because thick and curly hair is more likely to become ingrown when shaved. When a hair is cut under the skin’s surface, a razor bump forms. Your hair then pulls back and starts to develop back into the skin. Additionally, curly hair is much more likely to develop razor bumps because it gradually turns back towards the skin during development.
Here are several other reasons why men are more vulnerable to razor bumps than women:
- Men have more pores, and their sebaceous glands are more active than women because their sebaceous glands and pores are both larger than those of women.
- As a result, it has a lower pH than female skin and is more prone to razor bumps, impurities, and acne.
- Regular shaving makes male skin to be more stressed than female skin.
- Men who shave subject their skin to 16,000 shaves on average over their lifetime. Consequently, skin becomes more sensitive and responds more quickly.
- Shaving daily stresses the skin and can irritate as it extracts the top layer of skin cells, exposing immature skin particularly vulnerable to external factors.
- Shaving-related skin problems affect up to 40% of men. Razor bumps are more common in younger and fair-skinned men. Moreover, shaving with a blunt razor or insufficient lubrication can result in nicks and cuts, razor burn, and razor bumps.
Treatment of Razor Bumps
Razor bumps can vary in size from small to huge, and they may be pus-filled bumps that are red or white.
While nothing will make them go away immediately, there are a few things you can do to help them go away faster and cause your skin to heal. Follow these strategies:
1. Use salicylic acid
Salicylic acid works to eliminate razor bumps and exfoliate dead skin cells. This helps the ingrown hair to grow from the pore. Moreover, it also helps to reduce the appearance of the bump.
According to one study, salicylic acid can also help cure acne. So, it may be a good option for those who have both acne and razor bumps.
You can find salicylic acid in a variety of products, including cleansers, toners, and lotions and these products are available in supermarkets and online.
2. Try glycolic acid
Glycolic acid, like salicylic acid, helps in skin peeling by removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. Glycolic acid is known as alpha-hydroxy acid.
Razor bumps form as excess skin cells clog pores, trapping hair inside. Therefore, glycolic acid can help get those cells out of the way, allowing the hair to reach the surface.
In addition, a glycolic acid product can help shaving bumps clear up quicker and give the skin a cleaner look by speeding up its natural sloughing process.
You can purchase Glycolic acid-containing products online.
If the ingrown hair is visible, you can remove it with sterile, pointed tweezers.
Removing the trapped hair may help to remove the razor bump quickly. So before tweezing, you should sanitize the tweezers with alcohol and cleanse your face and hands with soap and water.
If the hair is not visible on the skin’s surface, using tweezers may increase the risk. they may cause more irritation and infection by damaging the skin.
You should avoid picking or squeezing the bumps because they can worsen or cause scarring.
4. Use scrubs with caution
A mechanical or physical scrub may sometimes remove dead skin cells that clog pores and hold hairs trapped inside. Hence, sugar, salt, ground-up fruit pits, or tiny beads may be used in these types of skincare scrubs.
Importantly, by physically sloughing off dead skin cells, scrubs will remove particles and free ingrown hairs.
Some people, including those with sensitive or inflamed skin, may have a skin reaction to scrubs’ rough texture. Therefore, you should use scrubs with caution if the skin is red, irritated, or sensitive.
Skin scrubs are commonly available in drugstores and on the internet.
5. Gently brush the skin
Using a soft brush in the places where a person shaves is another method for removing dead skin cells and debris that clogs the pores. Thus, some people use a soft toothbrush or a skincare brush.
A brush can help guide the hair out of the clogged pore, keeping it from being stuck underneath.
Additionally, brushing the area every day can help remove current razor bumps and the prevention of new ones.
Special skin brushes are available in several drug stores and online.
6. Use a warm washcloth
Applying a warm, wet washcloth to the skin may help soften the skin and pull ingrown hairs out, especially when paired with one of the other treatments mentioned above.
A person may want to steam the area in a hot shower or sauna.
How to Prevent Razor Bumps
The good thing is that in many situations, you can keep the razor bumps from occurring. Techniques for prevention include the following:
● Avoid shaving too close to the skin.
● Shave against the grain rather than in the direction of hair growth.
● Wash with non-irritating shaving cream.
● Using an electric razor.
● When shaving, avoid pulling the skin.
● Reduce the amount of shaving
● Replace the razor daily.
● Use retinoids, glycolic or salicylic acids, or benzoyl peroxides and exfoliate to help clear the follicle opening.
You can avoid many severe complications from razor bumps if you treat them early. However, if the bumps are not treated, there is a chance of scarring. This may include keloid scarring, which is defined by hard, raised bumps. Additionally, abscesses may develop in rare cases, requiring surgical intervention.
The Bottom Line
Razor bumps do not usually cause major health issues. But their existence may be bothersome and affect a person’s confidence.
If home remedies do not work, consult a doctor or dermatologist for other treatments, such as prescription skin cream or laser hair removal.