How to Treat and Prevent Razor Bumps

Written by Ifeanyi Paschal

Looking good boosts people’s self-esteem, helps them make good first impressions, gives them an edge over others in the Romance Department, and gets them favors. As part of self-grooming, adult males often shave their beard area. So, if you regularly shave off your beards, chances are you may experience razor bumps. Also known as shave bumps or pseudofolliculitis barbae, razor bumps are skin irritations or discomfort around the beard area. It occurs when you cut off a hair follicle at the point it extends beyond the skin’s outermost layer. As a result, it curls back to the skin and becomes ingrown in the skin, causing further irritation and swelling.

According to the National Medical Association, 45 – 80% of Black males are susceptible to razor bumps. It is common among Black males due to the curvature of their hair follicles. More often than not, razor bumps have symptoms like itching, pain, red bumps, swelling, darkening of the skin, pustules, etc. Aside from the face, they could occur around the underarms, groin, legs, heads and back of the head as some Black males shave those parts of the body. If you currently experience painful razor bumps, don’t sweat it because I will walk you through how to treat razor bumps and prevent them from recurring. Now, let’s get into it.

5 Self-help Remedies for Razor Bumps

To treat your razor bumps after shaving, try the following tidbits:

  1. Try aloe vera: As you probably know, aloe vera has natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties. Now, squeeze out some aloe vera gel and apply it to the affected area. Allow your skin to absorb the gel. While at it, you must not wash that part of the body for 30 – 45 minutes. This is a potent natural remedy for razor bumps.
  2. Apply a warm towel to the infected area: Another remedy for razor bumps is to apply a warm towel around the infected part. That’s simple, right? I know, but it works! Do this the moment you feel an irritation around the beard region. You should leave the warm towel for 10 – 15 minutes so its heat can shrink and kill the harmful bacteria. Do this regularly until you eliminate the bumps.
  3. Use tea tree oil: If you didn’t get the desired result after applying the aforementioned techniques, try tea tree oil. It is an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic oil that loosens the ingrown hair and helps to reduce the inflammation of razor bumps. To get the most out of this oil, mix 10 – 15 drops of tea tree oil in warm water. Afterward, soak a clean towel in the water and apply the towel on the affected area for 30 minutes. Do it every day until you get rid of bumps. Remember, tea tree oil is an astringent liquid. Therefore, you can use cider vinegar, witch hazel, and black brewed tea in place of it.
  4. Change your razor: If you have razor bumps, your razor may be the cause. The reason is that the blade rusts over time, tearing your skin and spreading harmful bacteria.  There are two ways you can tackle this: first, find out the recommended amount of time you should use your razor; alternatively, dispose of your razor after using it 5 – 7 times. If you currently use a disposable razor, consider switching to electric razor because electric razors help to prevent accidental cutting and irritation of the skin.
  5. Use a cornstarch or baking soda mask: Years of study have shown that cornstarch and baking soda can do the magic. Yes, you read that right! That’s chiefly because, even though they are mainly used for baking, cornstarch and baking soda serve as a natural treatment for several skin ailments, including razor bumps and acne. To treat your razor bumps, mix 1 cup of lukewarm water with a tablespoon of baking soda or cornstarch. Leave the mixture for 20 – 30 minutes so it can fully dry. Next, go and take a bath. Do it every two days and watch the bumps disappear without coming back.

How to Prevent Razor Bumps

Now that you’ve rid your skin of razor bumps, you must take steps to prevent it from reappearing. Likewise, if you haven’t experienced razor bumps before, these preventive measures for keeping them at bay are also for you. Prevention, they say, is better than cure. So, do the following:

  1. No matter how much you enjoy it, don’t pull your skin while shaving.
  2. Ensure you shave slowly in the direction of hair growth and not against it.
  3. Don’t use an irritating shaving cream. If you notice that your current shaving cream irritates you, change it at the drop of a hat.
  4. Don’t put pressure on your skin while shaving.
  5. Wash your hair, scalp or face area before shaving with a razor to eliminate bacteria from spreading into small nicks/cuts.
  6. Trim your beards instead of shaving them off; you will still look handsome with just a trim.
  7. Again, replace your razor blade regularly or use an electric razor.
  8. If you are hairy, don’t dry-shave; always apply some shaving cream.
  9. Consider growing a beard. That way, you look attractive and won’t have to shave.

In truth, everyone deserves to lead a happy life, and so do you! If you shave your beard area or any other part of your body to look attractive and feel more confident, you can do that without dealing with skin irritations. The good news is, if you apply the remedies I discussed in this self-help guide, nine times out of ten, you will get the desired results. Understandably, as Black males, our skin makeup differs, so what works for Denzel may not work for Dewayne. Therefore, if the irritation persists, you should consider seeing a dermatologist. The skin specialist will give you customized treatment formulated for your skin type. However, before seeing a skin specialist, exhaust all the options in this guide first.

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About the author

Ifeanyi Paschal

Ifeanyi Paschal is an experienced researcher and versatile writer. With nearly a decade of experience in the writing industry, Paschal has coordinated and participated in several research studies and written for companies in a wide spectrum of industries, including health and wellness, tech, HRM, and business development.

As a writer with Elevate Black Health, Paschal goes the extra mile to do extensive research and craft health and wellness articles that help the global Black community deepen its understanding of relevant health challenges, find effective solutions to them, and maximize healthy living.

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