blessed with curly hair can sometimes have its drawbacks and for those
with a black heritage that can mean the dreaded razor bumps.
The process of blade shaving can cut curly hair at an angle, making it
sharp. The hair then sometimes curls back toward the skin and can puncture
the skin and become ingrown. This leads to red bumps and skin irritation,
which can be very painful for some men. The technical name for razor
bumps is pseudofolliculitis barbae (often abbreviated PFB).
Some men prefer to grow a beard rather than going through the pain and
misery of razor bumps but women don't have that option and yes women
do suffer from razor bumps too. We've put together some useful tips to
help reduce your chances of them deveoping.
Lower Your Chances
Make sure to get your hair very wet before shaving, ideally after taking
a bath or shower. If you don't shower first, wet your hair for at least
two minutes with warm, soapy water. Wet hair cuts better and easier than
dry hair, and is more likely to cut evenly (and not at an angle).
Use a good shaving cream to reduce friction and irritation. Really work
the shaving cream into your scalp for at least two minutes, and save
areas that tend to develope bumps for last when you're shaving, so that
the shaving cream has longer to soften the hair.
Shave with the grain, not against it.
Don't go over the same area more than twice.
Don't stretch out your skin while shaving;
let is stay neutral and relaxed. Stretching your skin while you shave
increases the chance that the hair will 'snap back' to below skin level.
Replace your blade regularly. Shaving with a dull blade increases the
chances of hair tearing unevenly.
Use a single-blade razor instead of a double- or triple-blade razor.
The 'lift and cut' effect of multi-blade razors is something people with
PFB generally try to avoid.
It's Never Too Late
If you already have razor bumps then the following might help:
If hairs become ingrown, lift them up with an alcohol-cleaned needle
(don't tweeze or pluck) just before shaving.
Sometimes using a rough washcloth before shaving can help to loosen hairs
about to grow inward.
Before anything else, let your hair grow out for a while and give your
skin a rest before shaving again (a minimum of three days).
Bumps can get infected fairly easily, so tend to them immediately. Using
antiseptic will probably help, especially if there's a cut.