When it comes to receiving a clean shave, the outcome is not always the tidiest. One of the largest issues facing men takes place when the irritating and unattractive spread of razor bumps erupts. Usually, onlookers catch sight of an inflammatory reaction that surrounds ingrown hairs, which typically surfaces as a result of various shaving practices. While there are certain factors that increases the likelihood of developing razor bumps, a few preventive measures help lessen the risk of this unsightly condition.
What are Razor Bumps?
The culprit behind razor bumps is often the act of shaving, which is usually responsible for the persistent inflammation, known as pseudofolliculitis barbae. A breakdown of the word reveals the following meanings: “pseudo” (false), “follicle” (hair), “itis” (inflammation), and “barbae” (of the beard) . Sometimes, the condition is referred to as “PFB,” but the most common terminology is “razor bumps.”
The most widespread and well known places that razor bumps strike is on the male face, but the condition also affects other parts of the body (such as the legs) where the plucking or shaving of hair takes place. In women, those who shave their genital regions may face pseudofolliculitis pubis (PFP, for short). The concern for razor bumps is also greater when hair is curly and skin is sensitive.
The process of razor bumps begins after a shaving, when hair starts to grow back. The normal growth pattern of hair is to blossom straight out of the hair follicle, but in many cases, curly hair has a habit of curling into the skin. A “foreign-body” reaction takes place and the result is razor bumps, which can transform the skin into a red and itchy mess . In some instances, razor bumps may resemble an acne outbreak, where inflamed papules and pustules form on infected skin.
Razor bump prevention is rather important because treating the problem does not involve a simple one-day solution. Those who continuously and frequently shave only worsen their razor bumps, which is especially problematic for men who must shave their beards on a daily basis.
The Negative Effects of Razor Bumps
A collection of razor bumps on the chin or neck is often an eyesore that hampers the physical appearance of affected individuals. When the condition becomes a recurrent or constant issue, razor bump victims may develop self-esteem issues as a result. Some men feel less confident in their appearance, which sometimes affects their ability to effectively communicate within the job scene, assertively speak to the opposite sex, or cause them to shy away from sessions of picture taking with family or friends.
Medically, untreated razor bumps may lead to the dark and raised formation of keloid scars, which tend to develop on the face, neck, and back of the head. This ill-fated occurrence is known to attack men with curly beards or hair. Usually, some men will simply wait until their hair grows out into a straight pattern or undergo the tedious procedure of single-handedly plucking ingrown hairs, but many individuals are unable to follow this regimen of care. Professionals expected to maintain a high level of grooming while on the job cannot wait for hair to grow out of their follicular openings in the proper manner.
Overall, razor bumps is a condition that is common amongst men of African descent, where up to 60% of African American men and other ethnicities with curly hair face the threat of razor bumps .
How to Prevent Razor Bumps
In order to prevent razor bumps, many have considered a wide-range of prevention and treatment methods, where results vary on an individual basis. While some males find effective results through the use of shaving powders and chemical hair removal selections, others simply prevent razor bumps through the kind of shaving equipment they use. Some of the most common preventative measures associated with razor bumps include:
a) Razor Choice:
To prevent razor bumps, the appropriate choice of razor may play an important role. For starters, disposable razors often do not provide the best shaving experience. Some men are successful in avoiding bumpy skin after a shave when they use a single-blade razor or a unique wire-wrapped blade that helps avoid the irritation that comes with an extremely close shave. When using other types of razor blades, it is also recommended to change blades at least after every five shaves.
b) Aggressive Hair Removal Treatments:
Men who cannot afford to grow out their beards (such as members of the military and other professional positions) may consider permanent hair removal techniques that prevent the onset of such shaving issues. Although expensive, the use of electrolysis or laser hair removal helps lessen the risk of razor bumps. If you’re lucky, a few select insurance companies actually cover this type of procedure . There are also specialized exfoliating products aimed at reducing the risk of razor bumps.
c) Grow Out Hair:
Letting a beard grow out is an effective way to prevent the development of razor bumps. Once the hairs reach a certain length, they will not grow back into the skin. In most cases, completely avoiding a shave for three to four weeks may help.
d) Cortisone Cream:
A mild prescription of cortisone cream applied to razor-bump prone skin in the morning helps prevent further damage of PBF, which especially helps when growing out a beard.
e) Shaving Habits:
Shaving every other day instead of following a daily routine will decrease the chances of suffering an outbreak of razor bumps. When shaving, it is important to avoid going against the grain of hair growth. Stretching the skin when shaving is also discouraged.
f) Heat and Moisture:
If you absolutely prefer the use of a blade, you should first soften your facial hair with a hot, wet washcloth for five minutes before you begin the shaving process.
g) Pre-Shave Solutions:
Softening the skin before a clean shave helps reduce the threat of razor bumps. The market offers a satisfying spread of acceptable products that makes shaving much easier. Companies, such as Edge and Aveeno make popular lubricating shaving gels. Facial scrubs also help prepare the skin for a clean shave with the best products offering a decent level of pH balance and containing active antibacterial agents.
h) Prescription Products:
There are prescription products designed to prevent common shaving problems, including the medicated shaving foam called Benzashave (by Dermik).
i) Specialized Razors:
On the market, individuals may purchase a specialized razor, which is constructed to fight the development of razor bumps. An example of this includes the Aveeno PFB Bump Fighter Razor .