Who doesn’t love freshly exfoliated skin? Hint: this girl (points thumbs at self). While I’m…
If you’ve ever continuously shaved any part of your body, it’s likely you will have experienced razor bumps at one point or another. According to Purvisha Patel, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, “Razor bumps typically occur after shaving over hair follicles.” Talking to Well+Good, she explained, “The follicle then has inflammation, irritation, and possibly a micro-infection within it as the hair tries to grow back.”
Given that razor bumps are extremely common, there are many different methods you can try to make them disappear. “Using products that soothe the inflammation and kill any potential bacteria or fungus on the skin helps razor bumps go away,” advises Patel. Essentially, you’ll want to opt for calming products like diluted tea tree oil or aloe vera.
If the bumps are stubborn, New York-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., recommends that you try retinol. “Retinol exfoliates the top layer of the skin, which will be effective in loosening the skin over the ingrown hair (if there is one),” she told Well+Good.
Preventing razor bumps might be easier than getting rid of them
However, the best thing to do when it comes to razor bumps is to prevent them in the first place, starting with exfoliation. “Exfoliating the area before shaving will smooth skin texture and buff away dirt that may be clogging your pores and causing flareups,” advises Dr. Engelman. Next, make sure the area is sufficiently hydrated. “I believe it’s important to soak and grease — AKA use an in-shower oil and immediately follow with lotion,” she continued. “The glycerin in lotion helps to bind water molecules, which not only gives a supple feeling but softens the skin barrier.” In other words, preparation is vital to preventing razor bumps.
When it’s time to start shaving, there are a few common mistakes that you should take great pains to avoid. Patel stresses the importance of always using a super sharp, clean razor for best results. Engelman adds that shaving in the same direction your hair grows is best practice and will significantly reduce your risk of razor bumps. “If you shave in many different directions, you increase the chances of razor bumps, irritation, and even ingrown hairs because of the angle the hair was shaved off,” she explained.
So, it’s important to try to prevent razor bumps from happening, but if you wind up with some bumps here or there, slap some diluted tea tree oil or aloe vera on them to see if that does the trick.