Sometimes we are in a rush and don’t have the time to properly shave in the morning. Razor bumps, burns, or irritations might appear when using sloppy techniques or poor skin preparation, but what many may not know is that these irritations can cause long-term problems and possible scarring. It is important to know what razor bumps are to learn how to prevent and remove them.
What Are Razor Bumps?
Razor bumps are created by the abrasive interaction between hairs and a razor. When hairs grow inward after being cut they create an irritation at the surface of the skin. They may not go away if under constant pressure from shaving. This irritation grows over time and can create a small red lump. They resemble a rash or bumps and will completely ruin the clean-shaven look and feel.
Preventing Razor Bumps
For cutting the hairs closer to the skin, some prefer to shave in the direction the hair grows in and then do a second pass going against the grain. While a clean and close shave is nice, shaving against the grain pulls the hair before slicing it. Pulling hairs before they are cut increases the risk of them growing inward. Men with curly facial hair are much more likely to experience inward grown hairs than men with straight facial hair. Some of the precautions to take especially for those with curly hair include using a sharpened blade with a quality shaving cream on a wetted surface.
Shaving with the grain can still give a close shave if done correctly, or shaving against the grain can be fine if done carefully. Staying clean and having a completely lubricated face will prevent any irritations from shaving. Saturate the hairs with warm water, preferably right after a shower when they are already wet. This will exfoliate or open up the skin so that it holds onto the hairs less tightly. A razor with multiple blades also increases the chance of irritating the skin. A single or double blade razor is much less abrasive and glides across the skin even in the direction of the hair.
Treating Razor Bumps
Some ingrown hairs can exit the skin before reentering and others will grow inward before exiting the skin. If the hair is visible outside the skin, a pair of tweezers can correct the situation. The hair should not be removed completely or the hair can grow more deeply inward next time. Instead, remove the inward grown part from the skin and then trim the bent portion so that it can grow properly, like a bonsai tree.
Hairs that never exit the skin can be treated with Neosporin, aloe vera, or a cortisone cream. Another treatment involves applying a cream that utilizes collagen peptides as a main ingredient.
Glycolic or salicylic acid pads can be used for more extreme cases. Don’t shave for a few days and avoid unnecessary poking.
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