How can you prevent razor burn and razor bumps?

If you have sensitive skin and shave, you have probably wondered at one time or another how to get rid of razor bumps, also called pseudofolliculitis barbae. Some people are more susceptible to developing razor bumps and burns, like those with coarse or curly hair. If you’re experiencing skin irritation or have pimples that appear after shaving for the first time, your first step should be to reach out to a dermatologist for diagnosis.

Other than having a genetic predisposition to razor bumps, there are other factors that make an outbreak more likely. If your hair shaft or follicle is dry, you’re more likely to pull and tug the hair during shaving. This pulling can break the hair under the skin, which can cause irritation and lead to razor bumps. Learn what you can do to prevent this condition, and what razor bump treatment you can try if it happens to you.

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How to Prevent Razor Bumps

Clean the area

One of the best ways of preventing razor bumps is to wash the area with warm water and soap using a gentle scrub or shaving brush. This will remove oils and dirt that can clog pores, allowing the razor to gain proper contact with the skin to avoid tugging. Keeping your skin clean can also help you avoid getting a skin infection like folliculitis.

Keep it moist

Wet your skin and apply a shave gel or cream. It will soften the hair, making it easier to shave. Keeping the skin hydrated before, during, and after will make shaving an effortless process so that you can avoid the discomfort of razor bumps.

RELATED: How to Treat Dry, Flaky Skin on Your Face

Perfect your technique

Store your razor in a dry place; damp conditions can cause your razor to rust, leading to other skin infections. Make sure to replace razors frequently; a dull razor may cause the dragging and tugging that causes razor bumps.

Use a shaving brush to raise hair for better contact, then gently glide a good razor in the direction of hair growth. Shave often, because longer hairs can re-enter the skin’s surface.

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Use aftershave

Rinse the area with cold water to soothe the skin. Apply a balm that is fragrance-free. Don’t use any products that contain alcohol, as they can irritate the skin.

Treating Razor Bumps

While the occurrence of red bumps after shaving can be uncomfortable, treating razor bumps isn’t usually an expensive or complicated process. Tea tree oil, a natural astringent, can help with the healing process by drying out the bumps without hurting surrounding skin. Aloe vera can help to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.

Though a warm compress prior to shaving can help to reduce the need for razor bumps treatment, a cool compress can be used for treating razor bumps when they occur. Chilled cucumbers applied to the skin can also reduce swelling. If the skin becomes itchy, hydrocortisone can also provide some relief.

With these tips, you won’t have to worry about dealing with uncomfortable razor bumps. For more information on preventing razor bumps, or other skin conditions, contact the UPMC Department of Dermatology.

About Dermatology

The UPMC Department of Dermatology diagnoses, treats, and manages numerous hair, skin, and nail conditions and diseases. We care for common and uncommon conditions, and our treatments include both surgical and non-surgical options. We operate several specialty centers for various conditions. The UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center is the most comprehensive dermatologic laser facility in the region. With UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we offer a Skin Cancer Program that provides complete care from screenings, diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.