Shaving-related woes always rank at the top of the list of the most common skincare complaints for men, and it’s not hard to see why. Taking a rough, probably-dull razor to our skin every day is just unnatural. That’s why we’re uber-pumped that the freshly shaven face is finally optional. But unless you’re going for the Mountain Man look — no shame, you do you — you probably still have to break out the razor on occasion. And we all know what that means!
Razor bumps and ingrown hairs. They’re basically a guarantee for a big chunk of the population. In fact, up to 60 percent of African American men and people with curly hair are regularly plagued by these annoying bumps. But the truth is that even though we all get them from time to time doesn’t mean there’s not a good way to keep them at bay. In this guide, we’re going over everything you need to prevent and treat the dreaded shaving-related fallout.
Why We Get Razor Bumps and Ingrown Hairs
First: the why. Razor bumps (Pseudofolliculitis barbae) pop up when freshly-shaven hairs curl back in on themselves, causing irritation and painful ingrown hairs. Even though the hair is your own, your body treats it as a foreign object and handles it accordingly — by totally freaking out. That’s because the hair brings with it plenty of bacteria and toxins that the skin sees as an attack on your system. The result is an inflammatory response that causes pain, redness, bumps and inflammation.
How do you know if it’s an ingrown hair and not just razor burn or general irritation? Inspect. Ingrown hairs and razor bumps look a lot like acne. They may look like small, solid red bumps or become pus-filled like a whitehead. They can be quite painful or itchy and often appear red. Sometimes, especially in the case of intense ingrown hairs, you’ll actually be able to see the hair embedded into the bump.
How to Prevent Razor Bumps
In addition to having some high-quality razor burn cream on hand, you’ll also want to make sure you’re shaving in a way that lessens irritation and prevents bumps.
Shave Like the Pros — Have you ever noticed that when you get a straight razor shave at the barber shop, you don’t get bumps? That’s because barbers know how to get rid of the hair without wreaking havoc on the skin.
- Use warm (not hot) water to soften the skin and rinse with cold water.
- Use either an electric razor or a fresh handheld razor with a new blade to avoid drying out skin and causing irritation.
- Shave with the grain (in the direction the hair is growing) and don’t press down too hard, as that will only worsen irritation.
- Give it a break and don’t shave every day.
Use the Right Products — The right shaving products can prevent irritation and help your skin properly heal. Use a high-quality lathering shaving cream and follow up with Soothing Razor Bump Cream to eliminate the bacteria that leads to razor bumps and discomfort.
How to Remove Ingrown Hairs
Even if you follow the shaving playbook to a T, you might still occasionally get razor bumps and an ingrown hair or two. So you need to know how to safely — and painlessly — remove ingrown hairs so the skin can properly heal. Here’s how to do it:
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove bacteria in the area.
- Create a compress with a washcloth dampened with warm water and press it to the skin for 30 seconds to a minute to help soften and relax the skin.
- Gently pull out the hair using a pair of sterile tweezers. Avoid plucking it out of the skin completely until the skin surrounding it has healed.
- Wash and exfoliate regularly, preferably with an activated charcoal face scrub, to keep the hair from re-growing back into the skin.
- Help the skin heal by using Soothing Razor Bump Cream.
- Pluck the hair out completely once the skin has fully healed. Warming the area with a warm compress beforehand will make this as painless as possible.
Master Your Plan of Attack
Ingrown hairs and razor bumps suck. There’s no other way to put it. But since they happen to pretty much all guys, it’s not something you should stress too much about. Just hone your plan of attack so you know how to address them the next time they show up to ruin your day. The Black Wolf team is here to help you get healthy, clear skin without complication.