Ingrown hairs; or pseudofolliculitis barbae also known as razor bumps can be painful and irritating. Often mistaken for clogged pores, pimples or other skin blemishes, the red bumps are the result of hair curling back under the surface. African-American men are often affected by razor bumps. Women can be affected by ingrown hairs as well, especially when using a razor on the bikini area.
Men are particularly vulnerable to ingrown hairs, as they shave every day. Men with tight, curly hair are especially susceptible as the hair curls back under the skin.
Preventing Ingrown Hairs
Preparation of the skin before shaving can reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs developing. Begin with a hot shower, before shaving to soften the hair and open the pores. Use a thick shaving gel to further lubricate the skin.
Never pull on the skin when shaving; and shaving in the direction the hair grows. Use the least amount of strokes possible and rinse with cold water to help close the pores. After shaving apply a moisturizing lotion after shaving to keep skin soft.
Rather than shaving consider other options, when practical such as depilatories or laser hair removal to avoid the use of razors.
Home Remedies for Ingrown Hairs
Avoid the electric razor, as it is difficult to shave with the grain as the electric razor goes in multiple directions. If you prefer an electric razor, it could work but only if it can be adjusted to a higher setting.
Shaving with the grain, in the direction the hair grows will help prevent the hair from curling back under. Hair grows down on the cheeks, out from the chin, down from the jaw line and upward on the lower neck and Adam’s apple area. Training your beard, by shaving in the same pattern every day can also reduce the conditions that lead to ingrown hairs.
Shave more frequently but with a lighter touch to avoid the potential irritation and appearance of ingrown hairs.
Double and triple blades may be shaving too closely, increasing the potential for razor bumps. Switch to a single blade; or disposable blade and use a fresh blade every time you shave.
Keep the skin clean and free from bacteria which can increase irritation and redness. Use a mild antibacterial face cleanser twice a day to keep the skin especially clean.
Create a paste with cucumber (peeled and mixed in a blender) added to cold milk. Use this paste to soak cotton balls, apply to the affected area to reduce irritation, cool the pain and relieve the redness.
Witch hazel can be added after shaving to keep the skin free from bacteria and help to close pores.
Create a paste by crushing aspirin and water, apply to the ingrown hair area for 10 minutes a day for several days, this will help bring the hair to the surface; where it can be removed with tweezers.