Razor bumps, known as pseudofolliculitis barbae, are brought about via hairs that don’t completely come out of the follicle as they regrow after shaving, or hairs that twist around and re-enter the skin as they develop.
Razor bumps are caused by a poorly shaven hair that has been trimmed at a point, therefore rendering it all the more “sharp,” that twists back against the skin, entering the skin. Inside the skin, the body reacts to its presence (inflammation) and the area manifests as swollen, raised, red and moderately painful rashes which are filled with pus.
Wavy or curly hair is more prone to result in razor bumps than straight hair, as it develops out and afterward twists back towards the skin as opposed to developing specifically out of the skin.
Areas commonly affected are regions where beards grow, armpits and chest. The scalp also rarely gets affected
Razor bumps can result in skin hyperpigmentation (excessive darkening), scarring, keloids (abnormally large scars), and infections
Below are some of the tips to avoid razor bumps after shaving off hair:
- Always use a clean shaving device
- Avoid tweezing as much as possible
- Before shaving, apply a moisturizing gel on the area to make the hair soft and easier to remove
- The direction of shaving should move in the direction of the hairs, not against them!
- Don’t over press the shaving device tightly on the skin. This will cause shaving nearer the skin surface hence increased chances of the remaining short hair piece coiling back inside
- Avoid stretching the skin containing the hair you’re shaving.
- Shave less often, at most once a month
- Apply a hot compress on the shaved area immediately after. This can be done by soaking a small towel in hot clean water, and then gently parting it on the shaved area. Be careful not to burn yourself
- If it’s not your intention to completely shave off the hair from your area of interest, then you can use a pair of scissors. Scissors don’t cut hair close to the skin. This makes the remaining hair on the skin less likely to coil back into the skin hence causing razor bumps
- Keep the already shaved area clean by washing it using mild soap or dilute disinfectant like 70% ethanol. This eliminates bacteria which can enter the follicles (where hair grows from)
- Apply an after shave cream on the shaved area. However, this might not always help