Picture this. You have worked on the manscaping on your face and are now ready to head out to meet the boys for (socially distanced!) drinks. But dreaded little razor bumps appear. They are a touch sore and making you look like you have acne! Sound familiar? Read on to get some shaving tips and to learn how to avoid razor bumps while perfecting your manscaping.
June is Men’s Health Month so we wanted to give you some shaving tips and information on how to avoid razor bumps.
What are razor bumps?
Razor bumps are found where the hair follicle emerges from the surface of the skin. They may be red (in those with Caucasian skin) or brown/pigmented spots (in those with skin of colour). It can be mistaken for acne because the spots feel bumpy and tender.
Why do razor bumps occur?
Razor bumps could be due to folliculitis (infection around the hair follicles) or pseudofolliculitis barbae (inflammation around the hair as it re-enters the skin). Pseudofolliculitis is more common in those with very curly, thick hair (eg. People of African, Indian and Middle Eastern skin types).
How can you prevent razor bumps?
The tips below will describe exactly how to prevent razor bumps.
1. Shave in the direction of your hair.
Shaving against the grain of the hair or shaving in many different directions increases the risk of razor bumps. So, shave in the same direction of your hair growth to avoid the pesky razor bumps
2. Don’t shave too close and don’t pull your skin
Shaving too close to the skin will increase the chance of ingrown hairs. Most men pull the skin in one direction and shave in the other which increases this risk further. Ingrown hairs are more likely if you have thick, coarse or curly hair.
3. Exfoliate regularly
Getting rid of the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin (but be gentle!) helps avoids razor bumps. Cleansers that contain salicylic acid a few times per week can achieve gentle cleansing of the skin. But beware of salicylic acid if you have sensitive skin
4. Go mad with moisturisers
Use a moisturising cream, lotion or gel. If you have dry skin, consider creams. If you have oily or pimple prone skin, choose lotions or gels. Ceramide-containing moisturisers are up there with the best kind of moisturisers for those with irritated, dry or even acne prone skin. Read more about ceramides and how they can benefit your skin here. Don’t forget to moisturise after you shave!
5. Use good quality manscaping tools
Try manscaping with clippers or an electrical shaver if possible and avoid multi-blade razors. Multiple blades will give a closer shave but will increase the risk of razor bumps.
What is the treatment for razor bumps?
1. Creams/lotions: Very weak topical corticosteroids can help relieve inflammation, but some stubborn ones might require a combination of topical vitamin A derived creams and steroids for exfoliating and anti-inflammatory effects.
2. The brown stains (called postinfammatory hyperpigmentation) seen more commonly in skin of colour as the razor bumps subside can be treated with 2% hydroquinone (found over-the-counter in Australia) or higher strengths when they are prescribed.
To all the men out there – now that you have these shaving tips and you know how to prevent razor bumps, we wish you a happy manscaping!
The information contained in this blog post is intended as a guide only and should not substitute seeking medical attention. Please see your healthcare provider for more information on suitability of products, treatments or procedures.