The Simple Trick to Get Rid of Shaving Bumps
You may also want to take a look at our complete guide to irritation free shaving complete with the best products to alleviate side effects
Shaving, or razor, bumps are the most common irritation facing both men and women when shaving. They can happen anywhere on the body and can be a real pain, especially when they constantly appear on an area that requires regular shaving.
This article aims to explain how shaving bumps appear, how to get rid of them effectively and finally, how to avoid getting them in the first place.
What are shaving bumps?
Shaving or razor bumps, also known as pseudofolliculitis barbae, are unsightly little bumps that appear on the skin after shaving, caused by ingrown hairs. When the hair is cut off too close or under the skin level, hair tends to curl round and grow back into the skin, which causes the bump to appear.
At the very least these bumps are unsightly and cause minor irritation (a stinging sensation), but they can also cause scarring, skin pigmentation changes and even folliculitis (infection of the hair follicle). Shaving bumps make shaving uncomfortable and a chore, leaving the skin red raw and painful.
Ingrown hairs - other causes
While the main culprit of ingrown hairs is shaving, they can also appear after waxing or plucking. This is because with all of these methods there is a risk of cutting the hair below the follicle so that it curls up and grows back into the skin.
The treatments listed below work for ingrown hairs caused by shaving, waxing and plucking.
How to get rid of shaving bumps
The one simple trick to get rid of shaving bumps or ingrown hairs is to stop shaving. By letting the hair grow out you stop hairs growing back into the skin, whilst also avoiding the additional irritation caused by repeatedly re-shaving over the bumps .
Stopping shaving also gives your skin a chance to breathe and heal. Once your skin has healed you can start shaving again, using the tips to avoid ingrown hairs, listed below.
It is important to note that if you are prone to shaving bumps and you start shaving again, without making any changes in your shaving routine, the shaving bumps are very likely to reappear.
Alternatives to not shaving
If avoiding shaving really is not an option for you. then your first move should be to treat each bump, or ingrown hair, separately. If you can see the hair, then use tweezers to gently pull the ingrown part of the hair out of the follicle.
If you cannot see the hair, or it is growing too deep, you can remove it with a sterilised needle, being careful not to damage the skin around the follicle.
It is best not to pluck or shave these hairs until the skin has healed (you can cut them shorter, just leave them above the level of the skin so they do not curl back around again).
Lasers can also be used to effectively treat razor bumps, but you would need to seek professional advice and have the treatment carried out by a reputable and suitably qualified practitioner. This would obviously be a more costly option.
Tea tree oil and witch hazel are great for minimizing irritation and swelling caused by ingrown hairs and will help the area heal faster.
A salicylic and/or glycolic acid face wash should be used daily to keep pores clean, and to help clearing up the irritation already caused.
How to avoid shaving bumps
7 Tips when shaving
Some people are more prone to shaving bumps than others (most often people with curly hair), but you are most likely going to have at least one during your lifetime. If you are aiming to rid yourself of them once and for all and have followed our advice above, the following tips will help prevent them from returning:
- Exfoliate on a daily basis. This will ensure pores are kept clean and dead skin cells are removed before shaving
- Always shave in the shower or right after a shower when skin is damp and pores are open.
- Always use a sharp blade, and always a razor with only one blade. Multiple bladed razors end up tugging and pulling hairs as well as cutting them below the skin
- Always shave “with the grain” (in the direction the hair grows) and do not pull skin taut or push the blade down on the skin
- Change blades every 4/5 uses. Dull blades are the main cause of shaving irritations.
- Always lather up using a good shaving cream or soap, and re-lather after every pass. You want to keep your skin wet and moisturized during your shave.
- Finish with a cooling and moisturising aftershave lotion.
Avoid alcohol-based aftershaves as they will irritate your skin.
The easiest way to get rid of pesky shaving bumps and irritations is to stop shaving (indefinitely or for a while). This allows your hair to grow out and your skin to heal.
Once the irritations have cleared up, and assuming that you decide that a beard is not to your liking, you can start shaving again, following the tips listed above to help avoid a recurrence of similar problems.