Having razor bump-free skin after shaving is a myth. The reality for most men is a bit bumpy. And we all just want to know how to prevent razor bumps and get rid of them for good.
If you watched Black Panther at the movies, you know it is surreal how clean the edges of King T’challa’s beard are. The way it was neatly trimmed, with nary a whisker out of place, you would think that a hi-tech razor was among the tiniest bit of marvels that Wakanda technology created.
Because let us face it, despite the crazy R&D funding razor companies spend to improve the latest multi-blade razor design in real life, around 75% of the male population in America continue to grapple with the usual issues when shaving. And, still, 60% of African American men and other men with curly hair have to deal with rugged aftershave dilemmas.
Like for instance, razor bumps.
The good thing is, you do not have to deal with razor bumps all the time. A bump-free, smooth, and clean-shaven skin is highly achievable with the proper shaving routine.
In this article:
- What Causes Razor Bumps?
- Shave Without Razor Bumps
- Razor Bumps Treatment
- Preventing Razor Bumps in the Future
What Causes Razor Bumps?
Razor bumps are the red bumps that appear on your skin after shaving.
Aside from razor burns, razor bumps get avid shavers worried after shaving, especially for men with strong curly hair. Razor bumps are a menace that curly tops deal with every day when they stand in front of the mirror for a shave.
This usually happens when they use multi-blade razors. The blades maneuver the whiskers from the skin and slice it close enough that the sharpened hairs become ingrown. And like an ingrown nail, ingrown hairs are also painful. It also looks and feels ugly.
Razor bumps, or Pseudofolliculitis Barbae, appear when the micro-abrasions on your skin heal over the excess hair from not being able to get a close shave. This hair is cut at an angle, making it sharp, penetrating the skin, which causes an irritating and burning sensation.
Razor Bumps are More Common in African American Men
African Americans have it worse. Studies have shown that around 60% to 80% of African American men will have and experience razor bumps while shaving at some point during their lives.
This dermatological condition is common among individuals with coarse, curly beard hairs. Which also happens to include those of African descent. Except, apparently, King T’Challa.
Studies have shown that the particular composition of African hair makes this condition recurring among African American men. Their hair follicle is more horizontal in the dermis than upright, so when it is shaved closely against the skin, it increases the chances of the cut end turning into the skin.
Also, when hair grows with a kink or curls, like a corkscrew, it will grow into the skin if cut at an improper angle.
Simply put, razor bumps can occur in any area where hair is removed by shaving, tweezing, or waxing. When the blade cuts the hair too close, the cut end is forced back into its follicle and left to grow inward, like a splinter.
Our skin responds to it like any foreign intruder. It creates an inflammatory response that includes redness and itchy, pimple-like spots that can sometimes be filled with pus.
In some cases, the hair emerges from the follicle and enters an adjacent follicle. As an immunological reaction, the skin produces a keloid tissue mass over the hair. This bump in the skin is why we call it a razor bump.
Shave Without Razor Bumps
We will let you in a strictly confidential tip: the secret to having smooth skin after shaving sans razor bumps lies in your shaving routine.
The problem is, that should not even be a secret but an obvious common sense knowledge. However, still, many men—and women—forget it. We have different preferences regarding our shaving techniques, whereas different routines and methods work for different people.
We understand that shaving is not a one-size-fits-all thing, but there are general shaving tips that can improve your shaving experience, such as:
Washing Your face
You need to prep your hair and skin so that it becomes pliable enough for cutting. We recommend taking a hot shower first because the hot moisture will soften your hair and open your skin pores. It would be easier on the blade when it glides through your whiskers.
Wet shaving helps lessen your chances of getting razor bumps.Unless you are using an electric razor, never shave on dry skin. The blades of your razor impose damage on your skin, no matter how small they are and no matter how close you shave. The best way to protect your skin is to wet shave.
You can use a shaving cream or soap to create shaving foam or just use a ready-made foam from a can. However, if you want to amp it up and have a more luxurious shaving experience, we suggest you get your hand on a complete wet shaving kit inclusive of organic shaving soap, scuttle mug, and brush.
To create a shaving lather from shaving soap, you will have to fill the bottom chamber of your scuttle with warm water then place the soap on top. Put a few drops of water on the soap’s surface and gently swirl your brush on it to create the lather.
Apply the lather on your beard and skin using a circular motion to coat every strand of hair and exfoliate your skin. Doing so helps rid of dead skin cells and other debris on your skin before shaving, which can irritate the micro-lesions post-shave.
Putting heavy pressure on your blade while shaving can seem logical if you want to achieve a close shave. But it is not. More often than not, gently shaving is the best way to go. You can increase the cutting of your skin off when you add too much pressure while shaving.
Also, shave slowly and in even strokes. Do not aim to shave large areas. Use small and precise strokes if you want a close shave. You can accidentally cut yourself if you are not patient and if you are in a rush.
Using the right razor
With their single, sharp blade, straight razors reduce the friction on your skin as they can shave the hair in one pass. Thus, also decreasing your chances of getting razor bumps.The culprit to having an uneven and razor-bump-prone shave is using a dull razor. Sometimes, the kind of razor you use can also affect your shaving experience. We recommend getting a single-blade razor like a straight razor if you want to prevent razor bumps.
When you use a straight razor, you can cut the hair at skin level. You can control the angle the blades are cutting from, unlike multi-blade razors and electric razors that tug at the hair, which can inflame the skin.
On some disposable cartridges, blades are so close together that they trap coarse hairs. During the shaving motion, these blades yank out the strands leading to skin irritation and swelling.
Also, refrain from reusing the blades. When you have coarse and thick hair, you must make sure that your blade is sharp. Like really sharp. Reusing blades, especially disposable ones, is not an intelligent thing to do since they’re more likely to be dull and dirty due to the disposable quality of their manufacture.
Straight razors may be high-maintenance than regular razors on grocery shelves, but they are more hygienic. Since it wears a single blade, it is easier to clean. And, you strop it every time before you shave, guaranteeing that your razor is as good as new.
Since straight razor blades are very sharp, they shave the hair in one efficient and effective motion. Razor bumps occur most when you shave over the same area more than once. The long blade covers more space per stroke, lessening opportunities for razor bumps—no need for over-shaving.
For beginners, it would be best to get yourself a beginner-friendly
straight razor kit from Naked Armor, featuring our Solomon Straight Razor, badger-friendly shaving brush, organic shaving soap, leather strop, and sharpening paste.
The Japanese steel of the Solomon Straight razor guarantees that it is incredibly sharp, hence giving you the smoothest shave ever. Plus, it has a steel hardness of 61-65 HRC, the highest hardness rating found in any straight razor to create the best face-to-shave ratio for a razor-bump-free shave.
Another most overlooked but crucial part of shaving, like having a proper shaving routine, is applying aftershave. Most men deem this an unnecessary step, but it is an important one.
Remember that the blade creates microscopic cuts on your skin when you shave, which can easily get infected with excess sebum and dirt, leading to razor bumps and burns. Aftershaves help prevent razor bumps because they have cleansing and disinfecting properties that keep the shaved area clean and free from bacteria.
You can check out our line of aftershaves, which are all made from 100% natural ingredients. Our favorite would be the Aftershave All-Purpose Balm With Hemp, which has pure hemp oil and extracts along with more than ten other essential oils and vitamins that will surely nourish and cleanse your post-shave skin.
Razor Bumps Treatment
Those who are currently under the torments of razor bumps fret not. Although there is no quick solution to your problem, there are several ways to ease your discomfort.
Here are a few ways on how you can get rid of razor bumps:
As soon as you notice the bumps, you should first apply a cold compress. You can either splash it with cold water or rub an ice cube on top of it for a few minutes. The coldness will help close the pores and calm down the skin.
If you have aloe vera at home, whether it is the actual plant or only the gel from a local drugstore, you are in luck. Aloe vera does wonders for soothing aftershave problems, like razor bumps. It is rich in antibacterial, soothing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties to help get rid of razor bumps.
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology recommends that you stop shaving for three to four weeks or until your razor bumps subside. Shaving on an active bump can cause further irritation, making it worse than it already is.
Prescription Cortisone Cream
If your razor bump will just not go away, you can consult with a dermatologist and ask for prescription cortisone cream. It can reduce swelling, itching, and redness. That is why it is famous for treating skin conditions like rashes, eczema, allergies, and razor bumps.
Pluck the hair off
If the razor bump is not giving you any discomfort, simply let the hair grow out of the skin. Once you see the hair come out, use clean and sanitized tweezers to pluck it off straight from its roots.
However, if you are experiencing too much discomfort, do not be afraid to seek professional medical help before things worsen.
Preventing Razor Bumps in the Future
Do not forget to use proper shaving techniques and invest in the right shaving gear if you want to avoid razor bumps in the future. You can check out our straight razors and other wet shaving essentials on our website. For more tips on how to achieve a smoother shaving experience, read our guide on wet shaving.