Tips on dealing with razor bumps

Men who shave often find themselves facing razor bumps.

“Many people suffer from razor bumps because shaving irritates sensitive skin and hair follicles,” said Jia-Yen Chi, M.D., a specialist in dermatology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

Razor bumps are small irritated bumps on the skin that occur after shaving when strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin getting trapped inside the follicle.

The disorder is common in African-Americans or people with curly hair. Hair follicle infection, known as folliculitis, sometimes complicates razor bumps.

“If you must shave, use an electric razor if you can and shave after you shower to soften the skin hairs,” Chi said. “If using a non-electric razor, I recommend a disposable razor with only two blades and a softening strip that is thrown away each day to limit dulling and the spread of infection.”

Chi recommends applying a moisturizing shaving gel, shaving in the direction of the hair growth and moisturizing after shaving. “Try not to stretch the skin,” he said. “Use the fewest razor strokes as possible and rinse with warm water followed by a gentle soap to remove excess debris and oils.”

Hair removal products can be used instead of shaving, but these products may irritate the skin. Laser hair removal may be an expensive but more permanent option.

“Consult a dermatologist regarding laser hair removal, a technique that can be more complicated in patients with darker complexions,” Chi said. “If you are susceptible to razor bumps, the only way to completely eliminate them is to stop shaving. However, this is often not practical.”

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