Whether you shave your face, your pubic area or, yes, your legs (hello, swimmers, lifters and cyclists), you’ve likely experienced razor bumps a time or two. And there’s no doubt about it. They hurt.
There are a few causes for razor bumps, which means there are ways to avoid them. Read on to learn what causes razor burn and how you can prevent it.
WHAT CAUSES RAZOR BUMPS?
Razor bumps are nothing short of a nuisance. And in most cases, they’re actually very painful and ugly. Red bumps on your skin make you more sensitive to soap, lotion and aftershave, and you just want them gone.
But before we go over how to prevent razor bumps, let’s look at what causes them to begin with. There are a few causes.
SHAVING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
The first cause of razor bumps, also called razor burn, is shaving in the wrong direction. When you shave against the direction of your hair growth, your razor will actually pull your hair before cutting it. That causes not only razor bumps but also some really nasty and painful ingrown hairs.
SHAVING WITH A DULL BLADE
The second reason you’re going to get razor bumps is that you’ve shaved with a dull blade. Dull blades require you to push down harder on your skin to shave. That means that, once again, you’re cutting your hairs below skin level.
NOT ENOUGH MOISTURE
A third reason you’ve got razor bumps is that you didn’t moisturizer the right way. It’s absolutely essential that you use a shaving cream, lotion or other moisturizing product when you shave.
DEAD SKIN BUILD UP
Finally, skin that isn’t well exfoliated is more prone to the build-up of dead skin and oils. These are two of the culprits of razor bumps in the first place – particularly for men of color. Explore more in our in-depth guide about how exfoliation helps the skin.
A lot of men use soap to shave. And while it’s not inherently wrong, you really do have better options. Soap can get trapped between your blades, and it can be very drying for the skin. So, in that sense, shaving with soap can cause razor bumps, too.
HOW TO PREVENT RAZOR BUMPS?
Now you know how you get razor bumps. How do you get rid of the dang things? There are a few steps you can take to make sure your razor bumps go away, never to return!
- First, shave the right way. Enough said. Shave your hair in the direction it grows, not “against the grain.”
- Secondly, don’t shave too frequently. Consider shaving every other day instead of every day. That’ll give your skin a chance to heal between shaves. It’ll also allow your hair to grow back a bit so that you’re not cutting it too short.
- Shaving your genital or pubic area? Consider waxing. There are actually a couple reasons you should do this. First, when you wax your hair will grow back thinner. That means fewer shaves in the future. Secondly, your hair will grow back more slowly. Waxing pulls out hair at the roots, and you won’t need as much maintenance “down there. Not about to wax, but want a more permanent solution? Try laser hair removal. It can be expensive, but it’s a great long-term hair removal solution.
Finally, use the right products! Make sure you have good, sharp razors and quality shaving creams. Follow your shave with a moisturizing product for soft, smooth skin.
GOT RAZOR BUMPS? HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO TREAT THEM
It happens to the best of us. We’re shaving while we travel and forgot to bring the shave cream. Or we’re just in a hurry and shave a bit too close. When you do get razor bumps, there are simple steps you can take to fix them. Here’s how to get rid of razor bumps.
ALOE VERA FOR RAZOR BUMPS
Aloe is one of the best, natural options to get rid of razor bumps. It’s been used for, literally, centuries to help calm inflammation and treat skin concerns like razor bumps as well as even burns, like sunburn. You’ve got to be careful, though. Many products that claim to be pure aloe are actually a combination of aloe and alcohol. What’s the big deal? You try pouring alcohol on your razor burn and see what happens. Not only is it painful but it is also irritating and may potentially make the situation worse.
ALOE VERA PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION
Aubrey Organics Pure Aloe Vera $7.26
Aubrey Pure Aloe Vera is an alcohol-free product, that is also cruelty-free and organic. All that’s in the bottle is aloe and a few, naturally sourced thickeners to ensure the formula maintains its consistency.
WITCH HAZEL FOR RAZOR BURNS
Witch Hazel is another of those natural miracle razor bump option for men. Witch hazel has a very mild scent, is cooling and is used for a world of skin maladies including acne, ingrown hairs and insect bites. When it comes to treating razor bumps in specific, witch hazel’s natural antiseptic properties make it perfect to soothe inflammation and redness. Witch Hazel will also help remove the dead skin cells from your face, preventing blocked hair follicles and ingrown hairs.
Thayers Witch Hazel Cucumber Face Toner $12.26
Thayers Witch Hazel Cucumber Toner is not only alcohol-free but it also has a few other great ingredients on top of the star one, Witch Hazel. The formula includes the likes of Aloe Vera, which as we mentioned above, is great for soothing inflammation and cucumber extract, known for its antioxidant properties that help improve the health of your skin in general.
COCONUT OIL FOR RAZOR BUMPS
Since coconut oil is one of the most nourishing oils out there it makes for a great overnight spot treatment for razor bumps in order to help the irritated skin heal. This all-natural option helps calm the skin, soothing the pain all while helping lock in moisture.
COCONUT OIL PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIOn
Jason Organic Virgin Coconut Oil $8
Jason Organic Coconut Oil is exactly what it claims to be. It’s organic, vegan and natural coconut oil. You won’t find any known skin irritants like phthalates, parabens, sulfates or petroleum in the jar. Just coconut oil. Possibly one of the best razor bump creams for men there are.
WARM COMPRESS FOR RAZOR BURNS
Are you dreading the idea of putting any sort of skincare product on your face at all? You can always try a warm compress. If you’re at home and have a few minutes, pop one of these warm compresses in the microwave. Then, apply it to your face. Warm compresses work by opening your pores, allowing the trapped hair to become free. They may also be effective in helping to kill any bacteria which may have entered your skin.
WARM COMPRESS PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION
Terran Round Gel Packs with Cloth Backing $14
We love these compresses as an option for razor bumps because they’re perfectly sized and also microwave safe. Plus they are a cost-effective option as there are five of them.
GREEN TEA FOR RAZOR BUMPS
Yup, you heard right. Green tea can actually minimize the damage from razor bumps and in some cases they can actually get rid of them entirely. Green tea has been used in facial treatments for centuries. There are natural chemicals in green tea called catechins. Catechins have anti-inflammatory properties that are super-soothing for your skin aka they’re super-awesome for getting rid of razor bumps.
Green tea’s not just good for your face, either. Although it may seem weird you can actually use green tea wherever you get razor bumps. Just brew a cup of tea, then cool it in the fridge. When it’s room temperature or cooler, use a soft cloth to apply the green tea to your face, pubic area or wherever you have razor burn.
GREEN TEA PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION
Bigelow Green Tea Bags $4.11
Bigelow’s Green Tea is made from non-GMO leaves and is individually packaged in order to protect their high nutrient value.
SKIP SHAVING FOR A FEW DAYS
If you’ve got the dreaded razor bumps, it’s probably best to skip shaving for a few days. Give your skin a chance to heal and your hair a chance to grow back a bit.
In the meantime, be sure to apply a soothing moisturizer and one of the products on our list. You’ll be razor bump free before you know it!
Razor burn hurts. It doesn’t matter where it is, or what you shave, you want to avoid razor burn at all costs. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent razor burn and a few ways to alleviate the pain should you get it. Try one of these natural remedies for bump-free, pain-free skin.