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Pseudofolliculitis barbae or razor bumps are an aftereffect of improper shaving routine. It can affect women and men after clearing away hair in certain body parts, like the face, pubic area, armpits and head with a blade. If you notice red bumps on your legs days after shaving, these are likely caused by the lack of skin prepping. Fortunately, they’re not a health threat — self-care and medications can treat them. Find out how to get rid of razor bumps and learn tips to prevent them.
What Causes Razor Bumps?
When you shave with a razor, the blade is pressed very close to the skin, and you unintentionally scrape the topmost layer, along with the hairs. As a result, it creates micro-injuries. The body responds by repairing these tiny injuries for days to form a new skin layer, but simultaneously, the hair roots regrow. Since the new skin now films the skin’s surface, covering the pores, the new hairs can’t grow out and up. Instead, they curl and go inward and this leads to unpleasant bumps.
These skin problems resolve on their own but can last for several days. Treating the area can accelerate the healing process and eliminate bumps quickly. While waiting, it’s best to avoid worsening the problem by re-shaving the same area.
How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps Fast?
Natural remedies and medications make an effective treatment duo to vanish razor bumps. Natural methods may be enough for some people, while meds may be necessary for worse cases to avoid scarring. Here are treatment options and after-shave care practices to eliminate and prevent razor bumps.
1. Take a Break From Shaving
The easiest method is to stop shaving, especially with sensitive skin. These red tell-tale bumps should resolve within 2 or 3 weeks after shaving. As it’s easier to maintain hygiene in some body areas without hair, shifting to other shaving methods may be better for your skin. Ask your dermatologist’s recommendation about waxing, laser or electric hair removal options.
2. Exfoliate the Area
Scrubs exfoliate the dead skin cells and unclog the pores, trapping the ingrown hair. One thing to consider when picking a body or facial scrub is the ingredients. Choose natural and chemical-free brands that won’t exacerbate the problem. Scrub the area gently. You may also ask your dermatologist for homemade scrub recipes.
3. Use Mild Chemical Peels
Like exfoliators, chemical peels remove the skin’s surface to give space for the hair follicles to grow properly. You can grab salicylic, glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids at your nearest drugstores or ask your dermatologist for supplies. All are effective in managing razor bumps. Applying glycolic acid daily can improve the affected area.
4. Dry-Brush the Area
A dry brush is a natural and chemical-free method to treat ingrown hair. It gives you a softer skin, plus it treats razor bumps effectively. You must do it as part of your after-shaving care. With a similar effect as exfoliators, it frees the confined hairs to allow them to grow properly.
5. Use a Warm Towel
The steam from the towel can help open up pores, soften the shaved area and encourage proper hair growth. It’s beneficial for men after shaving their beard to soothe the treated area and reduce skin irritation. You can also couple it with dry brushing for a more effective result.
6. Moisturize the Area
After shaving, apply a gentle lotion or balm to hydrate the area and help healing. Moisturizing minimizes skin itch and dryness. As it softens the outer skin layer, it becomes easier for hair roots to break free from the skin and grow upward, preventing ingrown hairs. Like other skincare products, choose gentle ingredients or ask your skin doctor for non-irritating recommendations suited for your skin type.
7. Consider Medications
Some cases of razor bumps can get inflamed. You can treat it naturally, but moderate to severe cases require medications. Common topical solutions include retinoids, corticosteroids, benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics, either alone or in combination with other treatments. Some of these options may have side effects or adverse reactions, so check which is the best solution with your doctor.
Prepping the Skin Appropriately for Shaving
How to get rid of razor bumps after shaving? The key lies in priming the skin. If you want to remove the hair on your face, legs or pubic area, follow this pre-shave regime.
1. Soften the area by washing it. The best time to shave is after a bath as your body is soft and clean, without oil, dirt and dead skin cells that can clog the pores.
2. Remember to apply a shaving cream or gel. Use an aloe vera gel or alternatives like coconut oil, hair conditioner or body lotion if you don’t have it.
3. Shave in a similar direction as the hair grows to prevent razor burns or bumps. For instance, front leg hair naturally grows downward. Position the blade from the top and slide it down in the same direction.
4. Rinse the newly shaved area after each razor swipe.
5. Dry your razor and store it properly in a dry area. The blade can get blunt with frequent use, so replace it after five to seven times to avoid skin irritation.
6. Moisturize your skin. Use a gentle lotion or balm to hydrate the shaven area.
How Long Does It Take for Razor Bumps to Go Away?
The bumps improve after 12 long weeks of not shaving. If a clean-shaven face is a requirement at work, prep the skin and treat bumps appropriately. Changing your routine can also help. For instance, use electric hair clippers instead of a razor. A study cites using them to shave the beard and scalp can reduce the bumps, as they have a guard you can adjust so you don’t shave too close to the skin. Leave behind 1 mm of hair on the skin to skip ingrown hair.
Have a Pre-shave Care Routine to Prevent Razor Bumps
Bumps and burns can form if you improperly use the razor or you don’t have a proper pre-shave routine. Before you use any blade to remove hair, ensure the skin is soft by washing it. Use a gel or cream and hydrate the skin after shaving.
If you have these bumps, consider using natural remedies such as an exfoliating product or acid peels. If you see pustules developing, visit your doctor for a prescription. Shaving is a vital hygiene component for many people, and you can do it without suffering from skin problems.
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