Everyone loves the feel of smooth, hairless skin, so shaving has become a popular practice for both men and women. However, often times the goal of smooth, hairless skin is destroyed by the presence of unsightly razor bumps. Here are a few tips you can use to prevent or alleviate razor bumps.
Regularly Switch Out That Blade
The most common culprit for razor bumps is using a dull blade for shaving. Be sure to never reuse old shaving blades in between shaves, as that is the golden ticket to unsightly bumps. For those who have thick, curly hair, be sure to change blades every 2-3 strokes; the sharper the blade, the less likely for razor bumps.
[Related – 10 Surprising Ways To Stop Shaving Cut Bleeding]
Use Acne Medication
Razor bumps are mostly caused by ingrown hairs on shaved skin. Interestingly, you can treat such bumps by spreading a thin layer of salicylic acid-based lotion or gel on the bumps to help gets rid of them faster. Salicylic acid helps slough off dead skin cells that can accumulate on shaved skin and free the trapped ingrown hair. Be sure to use it sparingly, however, to avoid excessive dryness, irritation, or flaking of the area.
Shave Along Hair Growth
Since razor bumps are usually caused by the blade irritating the skin, be sure to never shave against hair growth, but shave along with the direction of hair growth instead. The fewer strokes you use to shave, the less chance of creating razor bumps as well (as less razor to skin contact also equal less irritation).
Be sure to exfoliate the area to be shaved with a gentle scrub prior to shaving. This can make sure to remove excess dead skin cells and decrease the risk for ingrown hair bumps, which makes up most of razor bumps. After shaving an area, be sure to exfoliate with a soft washcloth (no more scrubs!) one day after to further remove potentially clogging dead skin cells. If the area shaved is red and inflamed, avoid all scrubs or abrasion to the area at all costs.
[Related – Ingrown Hairs: Causes, Treatments And Prevention]
Steam Prior To Shaving
One of the reasons shaving is done during or immediately after showers is because the hot steam from the shower can soften hairs. While most armpit hair is on the fine side, pubic hair in the bikini area or arm hair can be coarse and thick. By softening the hairs, it will be easier for the blade to cut through the hair and lessen the stress on the skin, hence avoiding razor bumps.
Use An Electric Shaver
Although electric shavers do not give a shave as close as that of a razor blade, it helps to dramatically decrease the chance of razor bumps. Electric shavers may be used in the shaving process prior to a blade to aid in the process of getting the closest shave possible. If the results of an electric razor satisfy you, then it would be even better – no risk of razor bumps.
Use A Lotion With AHA
An aftershave or lotion containing alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) can help prevent razor bumps by sloughing off dead skin cells that can potentially cause ingrown hairs. However, be sure to stay out of the sun when using a product with AHA, as it can cause skin to become more sensitive to the sun.
Use Thick Shaving Gel
A thick, foamy shaving gel would provide a lubricating buffer zone between the skin and the shaving blade, thus minimizing the chances of razor bumps post shaving. Try using foaming shaving gel in place of soap and water. As for the ladies, try using shaving gels designed for men, as they are designed to be thicker and foamier to soften rough, thick beards. If the masculine scent turns you off, try using an unscented version; they tend to be less costly than women’s shaving gels as well.
[Related – The Proper Way To Shave: Men’s Grooming Basics]
Be sure to ventilate the shaved area at all times and wear breathable clothing when possible (ex: do not wear tight underwear after shaving the bikini area or tight jeans after shaving legs). Tight, unventilated clothing only leads to bacteria growth and friction along the freshly shaven, sensitive skin, which can all lead to unsightly razor bumps.
Trim Hair Prior To Shaving
If the area to be shaved has hair that exceeds 1 inch in length, it would be wise to trim them with a pair of clippers or scissors prior to shaving to ensure the closest shave possible. If you try to get a close shave in an area with long hairs, the shaving blade may become dull before it actually gets close to the skin, thus increasing the chance for painful razor bumps.
With these tips, hopefully you will have a smoother shave in no time!