Did you know shaving is still the most popular hair removal technique in the United States? This doesn’t mean it is always the easiest. Unfortunately, shaving can result in cuts, razor burns and irritated bumps. Razor bumps (folliculitis) are one of the most common shaving complaints.
What are razor bumps?
Razor bumps, also known as folliculitis, are generally small red bumps that develop on the skin shortly after shaving. They are the result of inflammation that surrounds the hair follicles that have been damaged by the act of shaving. As new strands of hair grow, they often curl inward and grow into the skin, resulting in inflammation. This inflammation can lead to skin irritation, pimples, and sometimes scarring.
Folliculitis can occur on any area of the skin. Common places include the neck, armpits, thighs, and bikini area.
Tips to avoid folliculitis
One of the most effective ways of preventing these annoying bumps is to avoid shaving altogether. Alternative hair removal techniques, including hair laser removal, are great options. Hair laser can reduce the coarseness and amount of hair growth, making irritation less likely. If hair laser is not an option, electrolysis can also prove effective. If you already have active bumps, avoiding repetitive shaving over the area can help. Shaving over existing irritated bumps can prolong healing time and cause more irritation.
If shaving is unavoidable, follow these tips to help minimize irritation:
- Cleanse your skin with warm water and use a gentle cleanser like Cerave or Cetaphil.
- Avoid dry shaving.
- Make sure to apply a shaving gel liberally. Aveeno shave gel is a great option.
- Make sure to use a high-quality razor. If you can use a single blade razor, that is ideal. Also make sure to have a moisture strip on both the front and back of the razor to help protect the skin.
- Rinse the area with warm water afterward. You can apply a cold washcloth after shaving to close the pores.
- Moisturize the skin when all done. Cerave or Cetaphil is a great choice.
Additionally, following a daily skincare regimen can help prevent folliculitis. Our providers can prescribe medications that can also be helpful to use before and after shaving.