History has witnessed how women have often showered all their attention on clean-shaven men. George Clooney is still the way to go! Would you want a few pimple-like razor bumps to spoil the party? I am sure, not!
Most men and women alike are acquainted with these little lumps, popularly known as barber’s itch. Men, however, are more prone to develop skin irritation as an outcome of frequent, almost daily shaving. In medical terminology, it is referred to as Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB). Small bumps that look like pimples develop on the skin, which if left untreated for long, can become a cause of grave concern. They appear mostly on facial skin, however, can spring up anywhere in the body where the skin is sensitive and has curly growth of hair.
Does this mean, you should stop shaving and become a cave dweller? Hell, no! We will help you get rid of the problem in as many ways as possible, so that next time you are at a party; you become the center of attraction.
Causes of razor bumps
Men with straight soft hair are less susceptible in developing razor bumps, while men with coarse, tough hair have 50 percent more probability of getting PFB. American Academy of Dermatology has conducted a study, only to find out that 78% men develop red skin, itching and soreness after shaving.
- Curly hair in sensitive skin tends to grow back under the skin instead of coming straight out of the follicle.
- The inward growing hair or ingrown hair leads to an inflammation of the skin making it appear red.
- You tend to get small red bumps because of frequent shaving of the ingrown hair. This makes the skin itchy and irritable. Sometimes, they take the shape of a pimple.
- Small razor bumps form clusters and cause bacterial infection. These form papular rashes and if you scratch the rashes, they become crusty.
- Some men are born with thick curly hair and consequently get adversely affected by PFB.
- Untreated PFB ends up in permanent scarring of the beard area.
Types of razor bumps
We have segregated barber’s itch or PFB into two types based on the type of growth, namely, transfollicular and extrafollicular. In the former, hair does not come out of the skin, instead curls back into the follicle, and grows inside the skin. It leads to fluid retention and irritation. On the other hand, extrafollicular hair comes out of the skin, only to re-enter it, leaving a small part of the hair exposed to the naked eye. Do not be too tempted to pluck it out with the help of a pair of tweezers. That would lead to more in-growth of the hair.
How to treat razor bumps
The unsightly lumps require proper treatment. If you leave them as it is, it jeopardizes the skin health resulting in keloid scarring. Neither can men afford to appear bearded and shabby. The metro-sexual men must follow the below process in order to look clean-shaven and classy.
- Wash the area with lukewarm water to open up the pores. Insert a sterile needle under the hair loop of the ingrown hair and release it. Do not get tempted to plucking.
- A hot compress reduces the risk of getting razor bumps. Repeated hot compresses using a Turkish face towel is a useful tool in removing the occurrence of itchy bumps.
- Use a cold compress to get relieved of the redness and itchiness of the skin.
- You may apply a cream containing hydrocortisone on the affected area. It reduces inflammation and improves the appearance of the lumps.
- Age old, homegrown treatment of applying coconut oil works wonders with bacterial infection. A little sugar added to the oil acts as an exfoliating scrub, thus providing the necessary nourishment to the skin. At the same time, it relieves the skin of its little lumps.
- Frozen cucumbers, used in all beautifying sessions, can provide soothing relief to razor bumps by keeping the skin hydrated. Crush the cucumber and mix it with milk for best results. Apply the mixture on the lumps. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Wash the area with cold water and pat dry with a soft towel.
- Aloe Vera, honey, and apple cider vinegar are known for their anti bacterial and anti-inflammatory property respectively. Applying them on the face and neck keeps the skin moist, nourished, and relieves them of the ugly razor bumps. Their inherent properties do not let further growth of any bacterial infection.
- Anti-biotic gel is usually recommended for persons who have long neglected their red itchy skin. In case of a serious complication, when none of the above mentioned method works, it is advised to visit a certified dermatologist.
How to prevent razor bumps
Now that we know ways and means to get rid of the red itchy lumps, around the face and neck, let us find out what best we can do in order to prevent it from appearing. Follow a proper shaving technique to get back your scar-free, soft, smooth skin.
- Wet the skin with lukewarm water. It will open up the pores, soften the coarse hair, and prevent formation of skin lumps.
- Apply a thick shaving gel on your face and neck. A gel is better than a foamy lather of shaving cream due to formers’ lubricating properties.
- Use a sharp razor blade for a closer shave, which prevents hair being curled inside. Opt for a single-edged razor. A multiple edged razor cuts the hair too close to the skin resulting it to grow back inwards. An adjustable electric razor will do just fine.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth and never opposite to it.
- Stroke lightly as you shave. Do not press the head of the razor too close to the skin. Close shave usually forces the hair to curl backwards.
- Wash off your face and neck, and cleanse all the gel from the applied area. Pat dry with a towel and apply an after-shave moisturizer to moisten the skin.
Avoid shaving unless all razor bumps have completely healed. Given proper care, the soreness and redness of the skin disappears within a short period. A scar-free, clean face rejuvenates your skin and adds a new dimension to your look.
With enhanced clean-shaven look, you are ready to rock!