Shaving bumps or razor bumps are those pimple-like bumps you get after shaving. Most of the time, they are caused by improper shaving technique. In some cases, shaving bumps can happen when you fail to prep your skin properly.
But how exactly do razor bumps develop?
After you shave and your hair grows back, they can curl on themselves and start digging their way back into your skin. This irritates the skin, triggering an inflammatory response and small, red bumps appear.
Now, the problem with shaving bumps doesn’t end with those bumps. They are actually itchy and can ruin your clean-shaven look. Worse, they have the potential to become permanent scars.
Types of Shaving Bumps
Believe it or not, shaving bumps can be classified into two types.
- Extra-follicular shaving bump is where the hair curls back on itself, without exiting the skin.
- Transfollicular shaving bumps, on the other hand, happen when the hair exits the skin and re-enters it.
These two types of shaving bumps can happen to anyone and any part of your body as long as you’re shaving them. However, if you have tightly curled and spiral hair, you’re more prone to developing them.
How to Prevent Shaving Bumps
The only way to avoid permanent scarring and the uncomfortable itch of having shaving bumps are to avoid them from happening in the first place. Here’s how you can do that:
Exfoliation is an essential step in any skincare routine. However, for shaving, this is a step you can’t afford to skip.
By exfoliating, you’ll be able to remove dead skin cells. This will help ensure that you get a smoother skin to work with. When there are fewer bumps and thickened areas, the less likely you’ll irritate your skin.
Take note that you don’t have to scrub too hard on your skin to achieve that. Being harsh can only cause irritation even before you begin shaving.
Soak Your Skin
The best time to shave is while you’re in the shower. Use warm water to open up your hair follicles and soften its shaft. It’s best if you can shower the rest of your body first or shampoo your hair before you shave. This way, your skin will have enough time to soak.
For extra prevention, try to use a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide. This will get rid of any bacteria on your skin and minimize the appearance of bumps.
Find the Right Shaving Equipment
If you have been shaving with the same razor for the past couple of months, it’s high time you get a new pair. Using a dull and old razor doesn’t only put you at risk of shaving bumps but infections, too.
Now, the rule on when one should change his razor varies. For some, nicking and rusting are signs that you need a new pair. For others, razors should be replaced after 5 to 10 shaves. You can follow either of the two rules but make sure that the blades you’ll be using are clean. Don’t shave with rusty and dirty blades.
Shave with the Grain
Most people shave against the grain. It’s a great method in cutting the hair really close to the skin. However, if you’ve been getting a lot of razor bumps shaving that way, try shaving with the grain.
Shaving against the hair trims the hair really short and leaves the hair with a pointed tip. These things make it easier for the hair to get embedded into the skin. When you shave with the grain, there are fewer chances for your hair to start tunneling in.
Pat Dry Your Skin
After shaving, let cold water run over the shaved area. This will help tighten up the pores. Once you’re done with that, pat your skin dry. Do not rub it vigorously as that can only irritate your skin and dislodge dead skin cells into your open pores.
Apart from the way you dry your skin, you should also check the towel you are using. Make sure that it’s fresh and clean to avoid introducing bacteria into your skin.
Don’t Forget to Moisturize
Moisturizing is an important step in your shaving routine because it will help restore your skin’s lost moisture. It will also help re-establish your skin’s balance.
However, because your skin is extra sensitive because of shaving, try to avoid moisturizers or lotions that contain menthol, peppermint or alcohol. Instead, stick with products formulated with coconut oil, aloe, and witch hazel. Lotions with glycolic acid and salicylic acid are great options, too.
Shaving is something you shouldn’t rush. If you’re too quick with your razor, you might end up missing some areas on your skin or worse, cutting and nicking yourself. Take your time to really work on it.
How to Prevent Shaving Bumps
If you already have shaving bumps, it’s best not to run your razor over them again. Instead, do these remedies and wait for them to heal before shaving the affected area.
Apply it directly to your shaving bumps. It has antibacterial properties that can also reduce irritation and redness.
Apply a warm compress on your razor bumps to open up your pores and free trapped hair. You can use a towel dipped in warm water for this remedy.
Tea Tree Oil
Similar to witch hazel, tea tree oil also has antibacterial properties. Dilute it with water before applying on the affected areas.
When applied to razor burns, it can help prevent infection, reduce redness, and fight bacteria.
Apple Cider Vinegar
If your razor bumps are starting to get itchy, apply ACV using a piece of cotton ball. Wait for a few seconds or until the vinegar dries up before rinsing off and patting the skin dry.
Applying honey on your razor bumps might not sound like the best idea. However, with its antiseptic properties, honey actually makes an effective remedy to those pimple-like spots. Just apply it on the affected areas and let it sit for about 5 minutes. After such time, you can rinse off and dry your skin.