Okay, so most of us – male or female – get razor bumps from time to time. Some get them ALL the time. Why do we get razor bumps? The answer is fairly simple. Dead skin builds up over the recently shaved (or waxed) area and the new hairs can’t get through. Cutting the hairs at an angle can also make them sharp when they grow back through the skin. This causes ingrown hairs and inflammation, which makes the red bumps. If you are constantly shaving over those bumps, you’re irritating the skin even more, which leads to more redness and more bumps. A vicious cycle. People with thick or curly hair are more likely to get them.
So, what can you do about that? Well – there’s no magic answers, but here are some tips.
- Use cruelty-free products to gently exfoliate the area. Glycolic acid is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid that you can use daily (use in the morning if you shave at night or vice versa). Salicylic acid can work too.
- Look for ingredients that soothe the skin and reduce inflammation without clogging pores. Ingredients like white willow bark (the active chemical is similar to aspirin), witch hazel, aloe and chamomile are helpful. You can try hydrocortisone too, but use it sparingly.
- Tea tree oil and other natural anti-bacterial agents are helpful too, because razor rash is often exacerbated by bacteria.
- Soften skin with warm water before shaving. Shave after or at the end of a bath/shower if you can. Or use a warm washcloth prior to shaving.
- Don’t shave every day if you can help it. But, DO shave regularly. Shaving regularly keeps the skin exfoliated.
- Use a good quality shaving cream or oil. Never use soap.
- A tip that I read about but haven’t tried yet is to rinse your razor blade with rubbing alcohol before and after every shave (to reduce bacteria). I’m definitely going to try this. Let me know if you’ve tried it!
Of course, shaving and waxing aren’t the only ways to get rid of unwanted hair. Check out Paula Begoun’s article on hair removal methods. I love Paula (AKA The Cosmetics Cop) – she tells it like it is!
When all else fails – get laser hair removal! I got rid of 90% (I just made that number up but it sounds about right) of the hair on my bikini line and I love it! No more bumps! It ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it. It also hurts – well, some lasers hurt more than others (I have tried a few), but it’s over very quickly if you’re only doing a small area. I’m a complete wuss, so if I can handle it – you can handle it. Just trust me on this. For my bikini area, it only took about a minute or two per side. I have very pale skin with dark hair though – so I’m the perfect candidate for laser hair removal. You should always go in for a consultation (which should be free) at a reputable laser hair removal or doctor’s office before purchasing. I’m not a nurse or doctor and certainly not an expert on hair removal, so don’t take my word for it – book a consultation appointment if you’re curious! You can find more info at MayoClinic.com.
What are some tips and tricks you have? Had an experience with laser hair removal? Let me know in the comments section.