Razor bumps occur when you use products or shaving techniques that are not ideal for your hair. Basically, they are small bumps on the skin that look like pimples. These “pimples” can spoil a clean shave and can be sore at times. Over time, razor bumps can metamorphose into permanent scar tissue.
Who Are Prone to Razor Bumps?
Men are more susceptible to razor bumps than women. There are two reasons for this: 1. most men shave daily; 2. the skin on the face is one of the most sensitive parts of the body. Razor bumps are triggered by irritation, which can also cause soreness or reddened skin.
When it comes to genetics, only 20 percent of Caucasians develop razor bumps as compared to 60 to 80 percent of black men. This is mainly attributed to the tightly-curled facial hair of black men, which is more likely to curl around and burrow back into the skin. In fact, research has shown that curly facial hair is about 50 times more likely to cause razor bumps than straight hair. To avoid the risk of developing keloid scarring (which occurs when you do not treat your razor bumps), it is important to learn how to avoid razor bumps in the first place:
How to Avoid Razor Bumps
1. Do not shave against the grain
While this method delivers a quicker close shave, it is usually followed by razor bumps. When you shave against the grain, some hairs are cut beneath the skin and continue growing, ultimately creating razor bumps.
2. Shave More frequently
If you tend to develop razor bumps every time you shave, it is advisable to reduce the time between your shaves to no more than 24 hours. Shaving daily is useful unless you have extremely sensitive skin.
3. Avoid Certain Multi-blade cartridge razors
These razors can hang onto the hairs and potentially cause inflammation. The blades on certain cartridges are placed too close together that they can trap coarse hairs in between. Once this happens, the hairs can be yanked out and lead to swelling and irritation.
4. Do Not Use Excessive Pressure
Most plastic disposable razors out there are usually very lightweight and sometimes require applying more pressure while shaving. As a result, you may end up cutting the hairs beneath the skin. When the razor is moved away, the skin pops back up but the hair starts growing into the skin. Look for razors that are weighted correctly so that they do not require too much pressure.
5. Avoid Certain Electric Trimmers
Some electric trimmers can leave irritation and razor bumps too. If you have coarse or curly hair, your electric trimmer can leave a sharp jagged end that may start curling and burrowing into the skin… leading to razor bumps. This is worsened by the fact that hairs are not always softened before shaving. What’s more, failure to clean properly can take a toll on your skin by opening the way for bacteria.
6. Do not skip the preparation stage
Ignoring to prepare your hair and skin before the shave is also disadvantageous. A general rule of thumb is to wash your hair and skin with hot shower, which will then open the pores and soften your skin. Apply priming oil to further soften the skin and hair, as well as provide additional protection to your skin.
7. Change your blades more often
Reusing blades can make them dull and dirty, further worsening the problem. Replace your blades much more often, especially if you have a coarse/thick beard.