Razor Bumps: The Ultimate Guide of Treatment, Causes And Prevention

When blades come into contact with hair and skin, pesky razor bumps can make a forced entry. One that will leave you itching for days. 

Razor bumps aren’t limited to a certain area. Razor bumps can occur from shaving your head, legs, chest, or anywhere else there are hair follicles. Razor bumps can occur in both men as well as women. 

Razor bumps and their annoying sequels can last from a few hours up to several days depending on how severe they are. Bear in mind that the more sensitive your skin is, the more it’s susceptible to razor bumps.

What exactly are razor bumps? What are their symptoms exactly? What are their symptoms? How can we prevent them from happening? We’re about to address all these questions and more in this comprehensive guide about razor bumps, so stick around. 

What are Razor Bumps?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a medical condition in which the hair grows back into the skin instead of separating from it. What is the result? The result? 

As mentioned previously, this condition is common in both men and women. It’s also worth noting that not all cases of pseudofolliculitis barbae are considered serious. 

It’s vital to be mindful of the difference between chronic razor bumps from other skin conditions and allergic reactions such as rashes so that you can go about treating your condition correctly, which is why we’ll be covering the symptoms of razor bumps very shortly. 

Other names of Razor Bumps

  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae
  • Pseudofolliculitis pubis 
  • Folliculitis barbae traumatica
  • Barber’s itch
  • Ingrown hairs 
  • Shave bumps

What are the symptoms of Razor Bumps and how can they be treated?

Shave bumps are usually caused by shaving areas that have hair follicles, the most prominent being the beard area. groinLegs, underarm, and thighs. 

Razor bumps, like many skin conditions, are characterized by red bumps on the epidermis. Other symptoms include skin darkening and pus-filled lesions, papules, and itching. 

It’s also worth mentioning that razor shaving isn’t the only hair removal method that can result in bumps. Bumps can be created by waxing and plucking. You can also get them by using chemical hair removal products such as a depilatory cream. 

Diagnosis for Razor Bumps

It can be difficult to diagnose pseudofolliculitis by yourself, as other conditions present with similar symptoms. Pseudofolliculitis barbae can be confused with tinea barbae because both conditions cause an itching sensation. 

The notable difference between pseudofolliculitis and tinea is that the latter is a fungal infection, whereas the former isn’t. Is this a difference in medication? Certainly! You can treat tinea barbae with topical and oral antifungal medication. However, the average case of pseudofolliculitis barbae is easily treated with home remedies. 

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae can also mistakenly be called psychosis barbae. This is a different type of bacterial infection that requires a different treatment than pseudofolliculitis.

Physical examination is recommended to diagnose shave bumps accurately. Magnification, also known as dermatoscopy, may be required. A swab may also be taken, but it’s not a necessity in most cases. 

Razor Bumps and STD

Differentiating between razor bumps and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) isn’t difficult, as there are plenty of telltale signs that you can rely on. First, consider whether your bumps feel tender to the touch. Razor bumps are often responsible for sensitive bumps that are only mildly painful. Genital herpes can be triggered by fever, body aches, headaches, or fever. 

Next, consider the texture of the bumps. If the bumps are smooth and painless, it’s likely just a harmless skin tag. However, if the bumps are jagged or rough, you’re probably dealing with a genital wart. 

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Another aspect that’s important to consider when it comes to texture is whether the bumps are opened or closed. Closed bumps are often the result of shaving, pimples, rashes, or other skin conditions. You should have your bumps examined for herpes if they are open and scabbed. 

Razor Burns and Razor Bumps

Wait, razor bumps are different from razor burns. Yes. Confusing the two is understandable since both terms are used interchangeably, but they’re two different conditions.

The main difference between these two conditions is that razor burn occurs immediately after shaving, while razor bumps are caused by shaved skin growing back in.

It’s challenging to differentiate between razor bumps or razor burns because of how similar the aftereffects are, as both tend to result in inflammation, tenderness, and a red rash. 

If you have curly hair and you’re experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms, you’re likely to be dealing with shave bumps because your hair is curling back into the skin. 

Who is most likely to develop razor bumps?

There’s no exception to who can develop razor bumps upon removing hair. The condition is more common in African-American men. To be more precise, 45-85% of African-American males experience shave bumps. (Check My article on the best electric shavers for black men)

People with sensitive skin or curly hair are more susceptible to razor bumps than others. Once again, shave bumps aren’t limited to males; females can develop them as well. 

Why Do Razor Bumps Occur?

Razor bumps result from hair not growing out of its follicles. This is especially true for curly hair. Dr. Cynthia Abbott, one of the most illustrious dermatologists in Atlanta Georgia, explains everything by stating that rather than growing out of the follicle, the hair curls back inside the pore, as it’s met with resistance from dead skin cells. 

How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps!

There are many ways to get rid of razor bumps. These include DIY remedies and professional-grade treatments. These paragraphs will help you to understand some of the most effective treatment options. 

Home Remedies

  • Tea Tree Oil – The first home remedy you should try if you’re struggling with razor burns is tea tree oil, as it serves as an anti-inflammatory and doubles as an antimicrobial. You can add it to coconut oil or sweet almond oils. You should add 1-3 drops of tea extract to every teaspoon of carrier oils. Click here to Learn more
  • Aloe Vera – According to a study In 2007, studies have shown that aloe vera can heal burns of the first and second degree. The itching sensation caused by razor bumps can be relieved by applying a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the skin. Pure aloe gel can be bought at your local pharmacy. 
  • Tweezing – Like we already established, shave bumps are typically a result of curly hair growing back into the skin rather than out of it. The best way to get rid of a shave bump is to tweeze out the stuck hair. This method is ideal if you’re dealing with one or two bumps. Before you try to tweeze the hair, make sure it is visible clearly. 
  • Coconut Oil – One of the most versatile oils out there is coconut oil, as it can be utilized in various applications, including the treatment of burns. Coconut oil is great to use on the skin as it has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. This 2008 study This book does a wonderful job of explaining the benefits of coconut oils as a natural skin treatment remedy. 
  • Witch Hazel – Featuring outstanding anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, witch hazel is among the best natural remedies for soothing skin irritation and burns. If you’re going to use witch hazel, make sure to apply a slight portion of it on a cotton pad rather than directly on the skin. Click here to Find out more about the properties and uses of witch hazel. 
  • Exfoliating Scrub – Another optimal way of eliminating razor bumps is exfoliation. How do you do it? How come? If you don’t like using unnatural products, mix olive oil and sugar to create your scrub. 
  • Skin brushing – Skin brushing is a lot similar to skin exfoliation, as it helps loosen and remove dead skin cells. This helps eliminate the resistance that’s blocking ingrown hair from protruding outwards. For this purpose, you should use a stiff, firm brush. 
  • Warm washcloth – Applying a warm washcloth over your skin is another excellent way to exfoliate and shed dead skin cells. The warmth of the cloth helps to unclog pores and allows trapped hairs to come out of the skin. Mix 10-15 drops of tea tree oil in a bowl with warm water before soaking the washcloth.
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Treatment Options

If you’re experiencing a somewhat severe case of razor bumps where the bumps look inflamed and refuse to subside using homemade remedies, you ought to try a topical steroid cream. 

It’s best to use a hydrocortisone cream: a topical steroid that aids in reducing inflammation and irritation. You can find numerous low-strength formulas that don’t require a prescription.

You must use hydrocortisone creams as directed by your dermatologist or the manufacturer. Low-strength creams should be applied only once or twice daily. 

If you’ve been using a hydrocortisone cream for 2-3 days without any notable improvement, it’s highly recommended that you discontinue using the cream and refer it to your dermatologist.

Other than over-the-counter steroids creams, professional treatment options include prescription antibacterial creams and warm compressed green tea bags. Sometimes it’s necessary to resort to extraction or sterile incision, so be sure to refer to your dermatologist before using any professional-grade treatment approach. 

How to Prevent Razor Bumps from Occurring

Now that you’re aware of the different methods that you can use to get rid of razor bumps, let’s look at the precautionary measures that you ought to adopt to prevent the potential emergence of razor bumps. 

  • Use an Electric Razor – Electric razors are better than manual razors in the sense that they force the hairs up before cutting them by rolling up the skin, which means that you don’t have to go over the same area as often as you would if you were to use a manual razor. This reduces the chance of getting razor bumps. 
  • Retinoid Products – The regular use of a retinol product prevents the emergence of ace and it helps reduce dark spots and wrinkles. Retinoids can also increase cell turnover, reduce oil production, and keep pores clear. 
  • Proper Preparation – If you’re going to shave using a manual razor, be sure to prepare first by lathering up with a high-quality, non-irritating shaving gel/cream and warming up the area you’re about to shave with a warm washcloth to soften the hair. Experts recommend exfoliating before shaving.
  • Try Other Hair Removal Methods – If your experiences with razor shaving are typically negative, you ought to try different hair removal methods such as waxing, epilation, and laser. 
  • Avoid shaving too close – Shaving too close to the skin promotes ingrown hairs and razor bumps, so be sure to avoid it. 
  • Don’t Shave Against the Grain – Shaving against the grain also promotes irritation and razor bumps, so make sure to shave with the grain. Keep in mind that shaving with the grain can make it necessary to perform multiple passes with the blade. 
  • Non-irritating Shaving Cream – There are plenty of cheap shaving creams available on the market that contain harsh components that are irritating to the skin. Be sure to invest in a shaving cream that’s completely or mostly natural. 
  • Don’t Pull the Skin While Shaving – Avoid pulling at the skin while shaving because it’s going to cause razor burn/bumps. Pulling at the skin can irritate you by causing the hair to snap back into your skin. 
  • Don’t Shave Too Often – If you’re struggling with razor burns/bumps, you should reduce the frequency at which you shave. 
  • Use a fresh razor – Razor blades tend to get duller with use, and so using an old razor will increase the chances of cutting yourself and getting razor bumps. Make sure you change your razor regularly.
  • To Clear Your Pores, Exfoliate – Exfoliating is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin looking healthy. You can exfoliate using a retinoid, glycolic acid or salicylic acid, or any other method.
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Razor bumps can be caused by other hair removal methods

The development of razor bumps isn’t limited to razor shaving. Razor bumps can also be caused by other hair removal methods, such as waxing and plucking or the use of chemical products. 

Razor shaving is the most popular hair removal method. It can cause skin irritation and develop bumps. Does this mean that you should stop using a razor to shave? No. You can still shave using razor blades, but you’ll have to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of developing after-shave razor bumps. 

How to Remove Your Hair Naturally

We’ve already established that a razor bump is a result of hair getting stuck inside the follicle, so it makes sense that to eliminate the bump, you have to get rid of the hair that’s inside of it. Of course, this isn’t the only way to go about getting rid of razor bumps, but it comes in handy when dealing with one or two bumps. 

  • First, ensure that the hair is visible. If it isn’t, let it grow out of the bump until you can remove it without irritation or friction. 
  • Assuming that the hair is visible, you will want to grab a small tweezer. Use hot water and soap to disinfect the tweezer. 
  • After that, apply pressure to the skin so that the hair protrudes as far as you can. Be gentle so that you don’t cause any complications. 
  • If the razor bump isn’t breaking open and allowing for optimal protrusion, get a physical scrub and apply it gently on the skin until the hair shaft protrudes properly.
  • Next, grab the tweezers to begin to remove the hair. To make it easier, pluck upwards instead of outwards. You should also try to get as close as you can to the root of your hair. 
  • To disinfect the area after you have removed the hair, use an alcohol-free aftershave. Consider using a moisturizing moisturizer. Before you shave again, make sure everything is properly healed. 

When should I see a dermatologist?

If you’re confident that what you’re experiencing is shave bumps, there’s no need to hurry to see your dermatologist right away. After using the following treatments, give it time to heal. 

If the case persists and refuses to subside or if you’re unable to tweeze an ingrown hair that just won’t protrude, then it’s time to visit your dermatologist. 

You should avoid trying to pluck ingrown hair with your tweezers. If you can’t remove the visible hair in one or two attempts, cease trying. Just wait for the hair to protrude even more so that it’s easier to pluck it. And as stated formerly, if the hair isn’t visible, to begin with, Do NOT You can try to pluck it. 

There are many ways dermatologists can eliminate shave bumps. These include safe extractions and prescription remedies. So, if you’re incapable of dealing with shave bumps, a dermatologist can help. 

In conclusion

Razor bumps are not only unpleasant to look at but can also be irritating. However, with some skincare and simple adjustments, they can be easily treated. If none of these methods have helped you with your razor bumps, we recommend that you consult a dermatologist. 

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