If you have ever turned to a razor to help you remove unwanted hair, you must have faced razor bumps occasionally.
You must have hoped and prayed really hard every time you shaved just so you wouldn’t have to suffer from the red, small, prickly bumps that seem to sprout faster than dandelion across your otherwise perfect skin.
It seems more like a necessary evil if you choose to sport a clean shave or want to wear your favorite dress on a day out. However, with a little care, you can work to get these little nuisances out of your way the next time you shave.
What Are Razor Bumps?
Razor bumps are caused when new strands of hair grows inward, curls and punctures and enter the skin. The hair curls back into itself and becomes inbred hair which in turn forms irritating bumps.
Razor bumps, if not treated early, can sometimes worsen and fill up with puss and cause skin discoloration. These bumps can also be itchy and leave scars in case not treated properly.
Also, if taken too lightly, razor bumps might cause an infection from staph bacteria and result in Barber’s rash disorder. It is said that the chances of razor bumps are more in case of people with curly hair.
In order to identify razor bumps, look for small pink or red pimple-like bumps on your skin. You might also see hair growth and might see puss resulting in whitehead kind of appearance.
What Causes Razor Bumps?
There are different causes that contribute to razor bumps:
- If you tug and pull the hair in the process of shaving or waxing, the chances of inbred hair and subsequent razor bumps are high.
- Applying too much pressure: If you apply too much pressure while shaving, this could also be one of the reasons for razor bumps.
- Shaving too close to the skin: If you shave too close to the skin, this would result in cutting hair beneath the skin. This in turn would cause new hair to curl in and cause razor bumps.
Getting Rid of Razor Bumps
One way to avoid razor bumps is to stop them from forming.
In order to do this, you have use a needle or tweezer to help release the ingrown hair.
Please note we do not recommend this method as it can lead to infection (however some people just can’t help themselves from doing it!)
Ensure that you sterilize the tweezer and needle being used to avoid infection. As a first step, you insert the needle into the top of the bump burst. If there is infection, you will find pus and blood releasing at this stage. Once this has been cleaned, use a tweezer and try to get that hair out. Do not pluck the hair as this could cause another ingrowth as well.
If you are not a masochist and this process sounds too painful for you, some of the more common methods to avoid razor bumps:
a. Exfoliate Your Skin
You can try exfoliating your skin with a loofah or cleansing sponge. If the ingrown hair are on the surface skin, it might so happen that the exfoliating will remove the top layer of dead skin cells and help the hair to release.
b. Salicylic or Glycolic acid
As the idea is to remove the top skin layer in order to help release the ingrown hair, you can try applying salicylic or glycolic acid which will help speed up the process. However, the recommendation is that you consult a doctor before you choose either of these products for treating razor bumps.
c. Avoid Shaving the Infected Area Repeatedly
Though it goes without saying, try to refrain from shaving for a fewdays, until you recover completely and the razor bumps die down.
d. Apply an Anti-razor Bump Cream
- SHAVING / WAXING / HAIR REMOVAL - Use after...
- INGROWN HAIR - Tend Skin effectively reduces...
- RAZOR BUMPS - Tend Skin effectively reduces razor...
In case you are prone to getting severe razor bumps, a good idea would be to consult a dermatologist and get an anti-razor bump cream. These are generally over-the-counter creams. However, in case of sensitive skin, it would be better to consult a doctor before you make the purchase.
Causes of Razor Burns
There are multiple reasons that might cause razor burns, but here are few of the more commonly known reasons:
1. Using a Razor with a Blunt Blade
This is one of the prominent reasons you end up with razor burns. So the next time you’re going to shave, be smart and get a smart, I mean, sharp bladed razor.
2. Sensitive Skin
In case of sensitive skin, my heartfelt condolences. You would have fallen prey to razor burns more times than can be counted. If so, always use soap or shaving cream that have been specially manufactured for super sensitive skin.
3. Skipping Shaving Cream or Soap
Of course, I did mention being wary of using any soap or shaving cream but that doesn’t mean that you should stay away from them altogether. Shaving cream or soap lathers and helps razor to glide across the skin easily. If you don’t use or skimp on shaving cream or soap when shaving, be prepared to look like you walked through a forest infested with giant mosquitos.
4. Applying Too Much Pressure when Shaving
If you apply too much pressure while shaving, this could also cause razor burns. As the skin is comparatively thin and sensitive around the face and neck area, increased pressure will cause razor burns easily.
5. Not Following a Proper Shaving Technique
Trying to practice your samurai moves when shaving is not a good idea. You need to follow a fool proof shaving method to ensure you don’t end up with bruised facial skin. Kissed-by-vampire look is so passé, by the way.
How to Control Razor Burns
If you have suffered razor burns already, then poor you, let’s tell you how you can soothe you skin and minimize the effect of razor burns.
1. Cold Compress
Applying cold compress on the affected areas help to bring down the inflammation and itching. All you need are ice cubes and cloth, and you have your cold compress ready. You can apply the cold compress to the affected areas for a few minutes a couple of times during a day. It will help to get your skin soothed and help alleviate the itching.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
If you have honey and apple cider vinegar, these might help to minimize razor burns as well. You will have to apply a light mask of honey and leave it on for 5 minutes to allow it a chance to moisturize your skin. Once time’s up, wash the honey off, pat your skin dry and splash apple cider vinegar over the affected areas. Allow it to dry naturally. Apple cider has anti-inflammatory properties and will help to soothe and cool your skin.
3. Black Tea Bags
If you are a tea drinker, you might have a stash of tea bags available at hand. In case you didn’t know, those little black tea bags you dunk and throw are powerhouse sources of tannic acid which has anti-inflammatory properties.
You don’t even need to go fancy and can go grab a box of normal tea bags to be used the next time you suffer razor burns. All you need to do is dip the tea bag in some warm water to moisten it and rub it on the affected areas. Repeat this a couple of times during the day and you will find instant relief. Please ensure to use warm water as cold water doesn’t allow tannic acid to release and work to its full effect.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is every homemaker’s go-to item thanks to it being a multi-utility item. In case you get razor burns, all you need a solution using baking soda and little water. Apply this solution on the affected areas using a cotton ball and hold it in place. Wash off after a few minutes. Apply, Rinse, Repeat.
5. Coconut Oil
The next time you get razor burns and your fingers are begging to itch the skin, hold yourself. C’mon, a little control never killed anyone! Instead, ask your fingers to play nice and reach for that can of coconut oil. Apply a thin layer of coconut oil on the affected areas and watch this antiseptic, moisturizing oil work its magic on those mean rashes.
6. Tea Tree Oil
Yet another oil known for its antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil helps to bring down razor burn’s effects as well. All you need to do is mix 3 to 4 drops of tea tree oil in 2 tablespoons of water or one tablespoon of olive oil and apply it to the affected area with a cotton ball. Be careful not to use undiluted tea tree oil because it can be quite strong. We are trying to bring down the redness, not go for the steamed lobster look, remember?
Tips To Avoid Razor Bumps and Razor Burns
Now that we have discussed how to soothe your skin in case you did get razor burns, let’s see how we can avoid this plague to shaving humankind altogether.
1. Always Attempt to Soften your Hair Before Shaving
It is easier to shave if your hair is soft. The best way to achieve this would be to shave after a shower as the shower will help soften your hair. If you can manage a warm shower or a little steam, even better because this will help to open the pores and allow for easier hair removal.
2. No Time for Shower, No Worries
If you are rushing out and need to get a quick shave done, no worries. We have you covered. All you need is a little conditioner if you are shaving facial hair. Apply the conditioner and run it through your beard and wait for a few minutes. You will realize that your beard is softer and can be easily shaved off.
Women, fret not. All you need is a shaving gel or shaving cream that will have to be applied and left on for a few minutes. When you buy a shaving gel or cream, make sure that it suits your skin, especially so if you have sensitive skin.
4. Shaving in Short Strokes
Always shave in short and quick strokes so that you don’t allow the blade to be in touch with your skin for prolonged periods. When you shave in short strokes, you don’t need to apply a lot of pressure and you will working on one small area at a time. Time consuming? Yes. Razor burns-sans-skin? Yes, yes, yes.
4. Men, Use that Shaving Brush
Yes, yes…you look like the epitome of manhood when you apply shaving cream with bare hands, erm, fingers, I mean. Think again! You are setting yourself up for some major razor burns and bumps when you refuse to use a shaving brush to apply the shaving cream/gel uniformly across your face or neck.
That shaving brush, it’s there for a reason, use it.
5. Clean the Razor Blade After Every Stroke
Ensure to clean your razor blade after each stroke. Yes, it is time consuming but no, I’m not being obsessive. Here’s why: every time you use the blade, there would be hair and shaving cream getting settled into the shaving blade. In case you don’t clean the blade, the next time you use the blade, it is not going to give you a smooth glide thanks to all the deposits in the gaps. Instead, this blade is going to drag across your skin and leave you with razor burns.
6. Shave in the Direction the Hair Grows
For once, don’t try to be different and go with the flow. Or rather, shave along the direction the hair grows in. This means that you will need to spend more time shaving than when you shave in the opposite direction. But if it helps, you will be left with clean skin that doesn’t look like it just got into a wrestling match with your razor.
7. Wash with Cold Water
Since we have already established that using cold water soothes razor burns, do not hesitate to splash cold water as soon as you are done shaving. Just as steam or hot water open up your skin pores, cold water helps them to close and avoid any considerable damage to the skin.
8. Apply a Suitable Moisturizer
Shaving removes unwanted hair and the top most skin along with it. This means that your skin is open to attack without the protection of top layer. Applying a moisturizer will help to lock some moisture and help your skin to stay soft and smooth.
A good idea would be to look for a gel based moisturizer which wont feel too heavy on the skin. If you are allergic to most of the moisturizing lotions, you can opt to apply aloe vera gel. The only thing you need to ensure is that it is washed off after a few minutes as it can get a little sticky.
9. Clean and Dry Your Razor After Every Use
Ensure that you clean your razor and blade thoroughly after each shave and dry it. This will ensure that your razor’s blade will remain sharp and allow for easy shaving.
10. Exfoliate Your Skin
You need to ensure that you exfoliate your skin before shaving to remove any dead skin cells from the skin surface. This will ensure that your skin is even and will allow for a smoother shaving. You can use a loofah, sponge or cleanser brush for this.
Treating Razor Burns
In case you do face razor burns, ensure that you use cotton fabric rather than synthetic fabric so that there wouldn’t be a lot of surface friction. You can also use a variety of masks that will help to minimize the razor burns’ impact.
1. Cucumber and Milk Mask
Make a cucumber and milk mask using 1/3 cup of milk and 1 cup of cold cucumber puree. Refrigerate and apply on the affected area frequently. Ensure that you keep the mixture in fridge when not using it. You can apply this mask two or three times a day to help soothe your skin.
2. Sour Cream
Who knew sour cream made for not just a nice dip. You can mix a few spoonful’s of sour cream along with 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoons if apple cider and refrigerate. You can apply this mix to the razor burn areas and it will produce instant relief.
3. Oatmeal Mix
You can make a paste out of equal amounts of oatmeal and yoghurt with a dash of honey. Using this paste on the affected areas will help soothe your skin and reduce redness and inflammation.
The final thing to keep in mind is that time is the best healer for broken heart and broken skin. In case you suffer razor burns, do not go back to shaving with a vengeance. Allow your skin to heal and get back to normal before you shave again.
- Men, the stubble look is in vogue off late any which ways.
- Women, use those leggings and sleeved t-shirts for a few days.
Razor is like that friend you cannot get on the wrong side of. All you need to do is find ways around her to make sure that you live to tale the tale of your voyage with the razor.