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ow To Prevent and Treat Razor Bumps

How To Prevent and Treat Razor Bumps

If shaving is part of your daily grooming routine, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced post-shaving irritation at one time or another. Though certain hair types and skin types are more prone to developing shaving-related blemishes, razor bumps and razor burn can affect anybody who shaves their body or face. Aside from being unsightly, these irritations can be itchy, uncomfortable, or even painful.

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to keep razor bumps and burns to a minimum. Ahead, we’ll provide an overview of what causes razor burn and bumps, the difference between these two types of irritations, and how to treat razor burn quickly and efficiently. We’ll also provide recommendations on the best shaving products from Kiehl’s to add to your face and body hair-removal routines. Read on for six expert tips to help you achieve a close, comfortable shave every time you break out the razor.

What Are Razor Bumps?

Razor bumps (or pseudofolliculitis barbae, as they’re known clinically) are small, inflamed bumps that can develop on the skin after hair removal processes, like waxing or shaving. When the hair begins to grow back, it can curl into and puncture the skin. This is known as an ingrown hair. Sometimes, the ingrown hair will resolve on its own. If it doesn’t, however, the follicle can become irritated. The resulting inflammation—which typically appears as a raised red or brown bump—is known as a razor bump.

Most razor bumps aren’t cause for concern, but if bacteria enter the irritated follicle, you can develop an infection. If this happens, the razor bump may look more like an acne blemish. It may also be painful, swollen, or itchy. Research indicates razor bumps are most prevalent among those with dark skin tones and thick, curly hair, though they can affect anyone.I

What Is Razor Burn?

Razor burn is a blanket term for any mild rash-like irritation that appears after shaving. When you shave, the razor removes not only hair but also dead skin cells and oils from the skin’s surface. Using excessive pressure while shaving can scrape off too much skin, leading to irritated skin or an angry-looking rash.

Those with sensitive skin may be more prone to razor burn. Additional factors that can cause or worsen razor burn include using harsh skincare products after shaving, using a dull razor, or dry-shaving, which increases friction between your skin and the razor.

How To Prevent Razor Burn and Bumps

There are several things you can do to help minimize the risk of developing razor burn and razor bumps. Using a clean, sharp razor is vital, as is shaving in the direction of hair growth (as opposed to against the grain). But there are some other techniques that can help prevent razor bumps and burn that you may not be familiar with. Ahead, we’ve compiled six expert tips that’ll help you get a clean shave with minimal irritation. Keep reading for your complete guide to preventing (and treating) razor bumps and other shaving-related irritations.

TIP #1:

Start With a Clean Canvas

Cleansing your skin thoroughly before shaving is crucial if you want to get a close, comfortable shave. Throughout the day, oil, sweat, and other impurities accumulate on your skin. If these aren’t removed before shaving, it’ll be harder to get a clean shave. They can also make you use too much pressure while shaving, which can result in razor burn. A clean surface helps reduce the risk of developing infected razor bumps, which can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and permanent scarring, particularly for those with darker skin tones.

Before shaving, lather up with a mild cleanser, such as Body Fuel Wash. This multi-purpose cleanser for men gently removes dirt, oil, and other impurities from the skin’s surface. The energizing formula contains caffeine and menthol to help energize the skin for a fresh, invigorated feel. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used as a two-in-one to cleanse the body and hair.

If you’re shaving your face, reach for a facial cleanser, instead, as it’s better suited for caring for delicate facial skin. Find the right cleanser for your needs in our article How To Find The Best Face Wash For Men.

TIP #2:

Always Exfoliate Before Shaving

Exfoliating can help remove any stubborn dead skin cells or oil stuck on the skin’s surface that would otherwise clog up your razor and impede your shave. The right formula can also help soften hair, allowing for a more comfortable shave.

We recommend prepping your facial skin with Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub. This efficient face scrub for men is formulated with crushed apricot kernels, caffeine, and vitamin E. The energizing formula helps slough off dead skin cells and oil to alleviate rough, textured skin. When used prior to shaving, it helps soften tough facial hair to enable a closer, cleaner shave.

For the rest of your body, try “Ultimate Man” Body Scrub Soap. This men’s bar soap contains oat bran, oat kernel meal, and pumice to thoroughly exfoliate and soften the skin. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used daily to cleanse the skin and soften rough areas, like the elbows and knees.

TIP #3:

Prep With Shaving Oil or Cream

Dry shaving may be convenient, but it’s almost guaranteed to result in razor burn. To prevent cuts, nicks, and other irritations, reach for a shaving oil or cream, such as Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream Blue Eagle. This ultra-mild shaving cream contains emollient sesame oil and soothing aloe vera to help prepare skin for a smooth, comfortable shave. It’s unscented and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin prone to razor burn. The slippery formula will help ensure your razor glides smoothly over your skin to minimize friction and irritation.

TIP #4:

Use a Sharp, Clean Razor

Changing your razor out every week or so may seem unnecessary, but there’s a good reason experts recommend it. A clean, sharp razor needs very little pressure to remove hair effectively. A dull or clogged razor, on the other hand, often requires a bit more pressure to get the job done. This can increase your risk of accidentally cutting yourself or developing post-shave irritation. As such, experts recommend replacing your blade often (between every five to seven uses is ideal).II

Once you’re ready to shave, pull skin taut and shave in the direction of hair growth to help prevent razor bumps and burns. For best results, rinse the blade between each swipe of your razor to minimize buildup and ensure a close, comfortable shave.

TIP #5:

Soothe Skin With an Aftershave Lotion

Nothing is 100% preventable: Even with a perfect technique, you may still occasionally notice the odd razor bump. Incorporating an exfoliating aftershave into your post-hair removal routine, however, can help soothe irritated skin and keep ingrowns (and therefore, razor bumps) to a minimum.

We recommend using Ultimate Razor Burn and Bump Relief to treat your skin every time you shave. This effective aftershave lotion is formulated with aloe vera and willow herb extract to instantly calm and soothe just-shaved skin. It also contains gentle lipo-hydroxy acid, a version of salicylic acid that helps exfoliate the skin over time to prevent ingrown hairs and razor bumps. The ultra-gentle formula is suitable for all skin types and can be used on sensitive areas. Apply a small amount to just-shaved areas for a hydrated, sting-free finish.

TIP #6:

Don’t Forget to Moisturize

To keep your skin looking its best, hydration is key. Proper hydration helps keep the skin barrier strong and better able to protect itself against stressors, like harsh products or friction. Therefore, incorporating a facial moisturizer into your daily routine may help reduce the risk of post-shaving irritation, like razor burn.

We recommend finishing your shaving routine with a gentle, lightweight moisturizer, like Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment For Men. This top-rated facial lotion contains antioxidant vitamin E and vitamin C, plus caffeine and chestnut extract. Together, these potent ingredients help revitalize and invigorate dull, tired skin. The lightweight formula is suitable for all skin types and can be used daily to promote an energized, healthy appearance.


Next: Our Head-to-Toe Men's Grooming Guide

I.Ogunbiyi, Adebola. “Pseudofolliculitis barbae; current treatment options.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 12 241-247. 16 Apr. 2019, doi:10.2147/CCID.S149250
II.“Hair removal: How to shave.” American Academy of Dermatology. 2020.

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