Remember that final scene from “Da Vinci Code” when Tom Hanks shaved and blood dripped on his sink? In the real world, blood that drips from careless shaving won’t be your treasure map to uncovering the world’s greatest find. Instead, it’s a sign that you’ll spend the day with pseudofolliculitis barbae, more commonly known as razor bumps.
Razor bumps are bothersome especially for people who like to maintain soft, smooth skin. There are instances when razor bumps are mistaken for bad acne (Tips on how to prevent acne) because it looks like red, bumpy patches. It’s a known fact that people with curly or kinky hair are more prone to razor bumps. This is due to the way razor bumps form from a freshly shaven hair that was cut at an angle by the blade. This means the hair fragment is sharp and pricks the skin once it grows back and curls.
The skin reacts to the irritation of the sharp stubble that’s growing back. The skin reacts to this irritation just like any infection it incurs by swelling up. This, in turn, causes the visible redness called razor bumps or razor burn. It’s actually a natural shaving phenomenon. It’s part of life. However, it may become what others call a “barber’s rash,” which is bigger but definitely not better. This happens when staph bacteria penetrates the razor bump. You must be surprised that these innocent looking razor bumps can turn into monsters. Before any other mutations take place, it’s best to get rid of them as early as possible. Know the drill for how you can prevent the onset of razor bumps every time you shave. (Learn how to prevent razor burn )
Listen to your skin. Your skin can actually give you clues on how often should you shave. If you’re the type of person who constantly gets razor bumps every time you shave, it’s best that you shave at intervals. Give your skin at least three days rest after ever shave and throw those blades away. It’s best if you use electric razors or beard trimmers. These devices have two benefits: first, it assures you that your facial hair won’t be out of control; second, it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your skin, compared with traditional razors, so you won’t have bumps at the end of the day.
Soften Your Hair
Don’t just get your razor and shave away. You must get into the habit of softening your hair first before you flick those blades over your skin. Warm water softens the hair, making it possible for your razor to create a more even shave. There are many ways to execute this softening method. You can take a shower before you shave away or soak a wash cloth in warm water and put it across the area that you’re going to shave. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes then start doing your ritual. The washcloth method feels great, which is why many people use this technique. Also, many people prefer to shave first before they shower. It’s easier to stop any bleeding from shaving before the shower rather than after.
Be Gentle on Your Face
The reaction to razor bumps that many men have is the same as the reaction to any pimple or blemish on the face. There is much desire to remove the spots, so they tend to touch them, pick them or squeeze them in a subconscious effort to get rid of them. Never do this because it only makes matters worse. One of the ways to get rid of razor bumps is to stop rubbing your face. The fact that there are razor bumps is already an indication that your skin is quite sensitive. Instead of aggravating the irritation by touching it with your bare hands, it’s best that you use an antiseptic. There are anti-microbial treatments that are available over-the-counter to specially prevent razor bumps or other skin infections. These treatments also help numb the affected areas and clean the irritation or wound. Buy one of these so that if you happen to incur some cuts, nicks or scrapes from shaving, any infection can be stopped at once. There are also aftershave lotions that contain tea tree oil, alcohol or iodine which also prevent razor bumps from any infection.
Here are some tips for selecting razor bump treatment products:
- A cosmetic company from California called Baxter is known to manufacture the popular Razor Bump Relief. This product is known for its use of salicylic acid blended with hazel (and some trade secret substances), which can dissolve skin above the shafts of ingrown hairs. This prevents razor bumps because the removal of skin on the shafts allows hair to grow normally without it pricking and irritating you.
- You can also buy depilatories, chemicals that dislodge and dissolve hair. A popular brand name under this category is Vaniqa, originally designed to solve the plight of mustached women, but is also popularly used by men.
- Creams never go away when it comes to beauty regimen. A special cream for razor bumps is hydrocortisone cream, which actually suppresses any inflammation and prevents the razor bump from becoming a cluster of barber’s rash.
- A popular men’s skin care line called Living Nature is popular for its gentle shaving creams and aftershave lotions. Its products are fragrance-free and are noted for being 100% organic. One of their best-sellers is the Soothing Plant After Shave Gel, which is a natural way of getting rid of razor bumps.
- The Dickinson Brand offers razor bump treatments that contain witch hazel. Witch hazel is shrubs or small trees found in North America, Japan and China. It is regarded as a plant medicine that is used for treating insect bites and bruises. Cosmetic products with witch hazel are great for razor bumps.
- There are many vegan hygiene products these days. One of the pioneers is Men’s Stock Northwoods, which is known for its special aftershave balm. Its popular balm helps reduce the swelling of razor bumps and is a great preventive measure when applied after every shave.
Bikini Area Bumps
There are instances when razor bumps show up along women’s bikini areas. This is a major no-no for women, particularly those who shaved to strut some stuff at the beach.
Here are a few tips on how you can prevent having razor bumps while you shave the bikini area.
- Don’t over-use your blades. When you’re dealing with very sensitive bikini areas, please use a new razor every time you shave.
- A warm shower is necessary to often up your hair. The softer the hair, the easier it will be to maneuver with a blade, and the less likely you’ll scrape yourself or shave your hair unevenly causing those red razor bumps.
- Always start with the bikini area first before the less sensitive areas such as the legs. The blade must be at its sharpest on the most sensitive bikini areas.
- Buy some shave gel before you consider shaving your bikini line yourself. Products like Bikini Zone are shave gels for this kind of task. Allow the gel to sit first (for a few minutes) before you start shaving away.
- Shaving treatments must be used after you shave your bikini line. Find products that have lidocaine, which many regard as the best “after shave” lotion for this type of shaving.
- Better wear gentler clothes after shaving your bikini line, meaning you should avoid tight items that may cause friction.
- In case bumps appear out of the blue, use a product called Neosporin or any equivalent to make sure it heals faster. If you can’t find one, an infant’s anti-diaper rash ointment is enough to do the trick.
The best trick of the trade is to always keep the infected area free of germs. If you’re the type who always deals with razor bumps, it’s best to trade your beauty soap for germicidal soaps. The same rules for any other irritation apply: the sooner you start, the quicker they disappear. Never ignore your razor bump and simply continue shaving. Remember, when you’re dealing with infected hair shafts that are often disturbed by blades, more permanent acne may take their place.
If you’re having issues with razor bumps, you may also be interested in learning how to shave.