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How Can I Prevent Razor Bumps?
When it comes to razor bumps, it would be true to say that "prevention is better than a cure." Although there is no cure for razor bumps, they can be controlled through various methods. The best way to control razor bumps is to minimize the ability for hair to re-enter back into the skin. The key to achieving this is to reduce the sharpness of the hair tip and leave the hair tip at the appropriate length after shaving (not too short).
The obvious answer for how to avoid getting razor bumps is to simply not shave. However, if you're not one who wants to go that route, then there are some tips to help prevent razor bumps and razor burn. These tips include:
Don't be in a hurry. If you are in a hurry, skip shaving if you can and do it later when you won't be so rushed.
- Prepare the skin. A hot shower is a good way to do this. You can also use warm water to wet your face thoroughly, or use a hot towel and press it on the area you will be shaving for several minutes. Warming this area up will help open up the pores, making it easier to shave.
- Exfoliate (remove the upper layers of dead skin). Using a sponge or loofah can help exfoliate your skin. Exfoliating helps manage ingrown hairs. Try to exfoliate your skin every day with a gentle facial scrub that contains glycolic and salicylic acid. You can even use some of the homemade scrubs, such as 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of liquid soap for exfoliation.
- Use a toothbrush. Not for your teeth this time, but for your face. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush or a face-brush in a circular motion on the beard area will help dislodge any hair tips that are beginning to pierce in the skin. Doing this twice a day (before shaving and at bedtime) will help to minimize your risk for razor bumps.
- Soften up the hair. You can help soften the hair by applying shaving cream, gel, or lotion and carefully rub it into the area you are going shave. Shaving creams also help to lubricate the skin, which makes it easier for the razor to move across your skin. Try to use only a non-acnegenic shaving cream, which is specially designed for sensitive skin and contains numerous lubricating agents.
- Use a sharp, clean razor. The sharper the blade, the less likely you will be to develop razor bumps. This may mean you have to switch blades often, particularly if you shave frequently. If your blade has rust, throw it away! That means it's way past time for a new one. Cleaning and removing any excess hair from the blade will help extend the life of the blade. Avoid using a double or triple blade razor, as they can cut the hair too short and increase the risk for ingrown hairs.
- Shave in one direction. Using short strokes, shave in one continuous direction to avoid inflammation. If you shave in the opposite direction or use long strokes, it can cause ingrown hairs, skin irritation, and razor burns.
- Do not use too much pressure. Pushing the razor too firm against the skin or shaving in the same spot for multiple strokes will cause irritation. Try to use light pressure and do not stretch the skin.
- Wash off razor. After each stroke, make sure to wash the razor off in warm water and tap off any remaining hair. This helps remove trapped hair and reduce friction. If there is hair trapped on the blade, it will not sit evenly on the skin.
- Use an aftershave. Because shaving opens up your pores, it can increase the chance of oil, bacteria, and dirt to clog your pores and cause inflammation. After you are done shaving, wash your face with cold water to help close up the pores, and apply an after-shave cream or lotion to moisturize the skin. Using an after-shave product that contains salicylic acid will remain on your skin all day and provide added protection. Try to find products that have hydrating ingredients, such as aloe, witch hazel, or tea tree extract. Tea tree is a natural antiseptic, antifungal oil. Avoid products that contain alcohol.
Another way to prevent razor bumps is to use an electric razor. These won't cut the hair too close to the skin, so you can prevent razor bumps and razor burn.
In addition, there are laser hair removal procedures that can be done to remove unwanted hair in those who have problems with razor bumps. During this procedure, the laser selectively targets the pigment in the hair follicle, destroys it, and leaves the skin intact.