Razor bumps are those small, embarrassing red bumps that are often left behind after you shave.
For women, this can be highly frustrating when you’re trying to get bikini-ready. You spend all that time shaving so you’ll look perfectly smooth, but instead, you end up looking like you’ve been attacked by a swarm of bees!
And this is a problem that some guys can face too when shaving their face. While it’s less common, some guys are unfortunate enough to be left with a rash of razor bumps after shaving, ruining that “clean-shaven” aesthetic they were going for.
So what can you do to prevent the bumps? Read on and we’ll look at some tips and tricks that can help.
1. Leave Time
This is tip #1: make sure that you leave yourself sufficient time to recover after shaving. It’s a mistake to leave your shaving until the very last minute, thinking that you’ll end up with the smoothest looking skin that way. Quite often, razor bumps and shaving rashes of other kinds will die down and look less angry if you just give them a little while to recover. Don’t shave that morning—shave the night before!
2. Let It Grow
This won’t always be an option but whenever possible, give your hair a little time to grow back. If you shave over the top of existing razor bumps, you’ll irritate them again and potentially cause them to tear open. This will only make them look that much angrier and more obvious, and will make it harder to get rid of them.
Likewise, shaving skin that is completely bare means the razor won’t have anything to cut through, and it will rub against the skin instead.
When possible, leave a couple of days for the hair to grow out again and for the bumps to disappear.
In general, you should only really shave every other day. Better yet is to shave every third day!
3. Don’t Scratch!
This goes without saying, but try not to scratch the area that has the bumps! You’ll only risk breaking the bumps and causing them to look angrier. Worse, you might risk infecting the area as your hands carry a lot of bacteria. If necessary, cover up the area to prevent yourself from rubbing it.
4. Use Sharp Razors
A lot of people assume that duller razors will actually be less irritating for their skin. The belief is that by using a sharper razor, they’re cutting themselves with a sharper metal and thus they’re more likely to anger the skin.
The reality is that sharper razors cut through the hairs with fewer strokes and also drag less against the skin. The result? Fewer razor bumps!
When you’re not shaving, or just before shaving, consider exfoliating. This will help to clear away dead skin cells and dirt. The result is that there will be less grime to get inside the pores and thus less irritation.
6. Don’t Push!
It’s easy to get carried away when shaving and to push down on the leg or face to try to get the closest shave possible. This doesn’t actually help though; instead, it just prevents the razor from gliding the way it should while simultaneously creating more friction.
When you shave properly, your razor should feel as though it is harmlessly “gliding” over your skin. So focus on getting this motion rather than pushing and irritating your skin.
7. Shave with the Grain
Whether you’re talking about a guy shaving his beard or a woman shaving her bikini line, it’s always best to shave with the grain rather than against it. When you shave against the grain, you actually create more friction and encourage the formation of in-grown hair. This can lead to infection and swelling, and is generally an unpleasant experience!
Women will often shave against the grain when shaving between their ankle and their knee. This does result in a closer shave and if you want your legs to be silky smooth, you might decide that it’s worth a little irritation.
However, if you are someone who suffers from bad razor bumps, then shaving with the grain will reduce this effect.
And what you should definitely do is to shave with the grain if you ever have to shave over the same area twice. Sometimes we find areas of hair that were missed, and so need to re-shave those areas. Do this, but just make sure that you shave with the grain this time.
9. Shave in the Shower
Shaving in the shower will help to open up the pores and soften the skin. It also saves time—in general, it’s a smart strategy!
10. Use a Good Shaving Cream
The aim of a shaving cream is to help the blade glide even more smoothly and without friction. If you’re not using a shaving cream, then you should definitely try it as a way to avoid those bumps. At the same time, the best shaving creams will soften the hairs you’re shaving and make them easier to remove.
In addition, some shaving creams contain aloe and other moisturizing ingredients that can simultaneously soothe the skin and prevent the bumps from forming.
11. Pat the Area Dry
Always pat the area afterwards but don’t rub it with a towel. At this point, the skin is already going to be a little angry and sore and rubbing it with a towel will only exacerbate that and potentially cause an infection. A gentle pat of the towel on the affected area is preferable.
Home Remedies for Razor Bumps
The frustration that comes with getting razor bumps is something that both men and women experience. The best way to relieve the frustration, as well as eliminating the razor bumps, is by using home remedies. Here are some that will help soothe the pain and irritation.
1. Aloe Vera
A household name in the cosmetic industry, aloe vera can be used in several different ways for getting rid of razor bumps. The simplest way is to get few aloe vera leaves and then squeeze the gel out.
Apply the get on the affected area, and let it soothe the irritation.
2. Hot Compress
You can use both hot and cold compresses for razor bumps. To prepare a hot compress, soak cotton wool in hot water. After you’ve soaked the wool, press it gently against the affected area and let the heat open your pores.
3. Cold Compress
While a hot compress will open up your pores, a cold compress will provide you with instant relief from the burning sensation. A cold compress helps with inflammation and soothes the area. Get a towel, wrap some ice cubes in it, and place it on the affected area for five minutes. Cold water can also be used to prevent razor bumps from occurring. Simply splash some cold water on your skin after you are done shaving.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, apple cider vinegar takes its spot on the list of home remedies for razor bumps. Aside from helping with inflammation, the acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar will also help with any infection in the area.
To apply apple cider vinegar, dab a cotton ball in the vinegar and then apply it gently on your razor bumps. Let the cotton ball dry on the spot and then wash the spot with water. Repeat two times per day. If you have sensitive skin, make sure to dilute the vinegar with water.
The over-the-counter medicament has great anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, making it a great asset against razor bumps. To prepare the remedy, put two aspirin in one teaspoon of warm water. Let the aspirin stay in the water for five to ten minutes, and it will turn into a paste. Once you have the paste ready, rub it on the affected area and let it stay there for 10 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. Note: this treatment is not recommended for those with sensitive skin.
6. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is one of the best natural antiseptics on the market.
Simply apply it directly on the affected area, and watch the redness and irritation go away.
7. Black Tea
Double bonus here, as you can drink a cup of tea and get rid of razor bumps in the process. Warm some water, and then add the black tea bag to it.
Remove the tea bag, drink your tea, and then apply the cooled tea bag on your affected area for three minutes.
8. Lemon Juice
Another ingredient that has natural acidic acid, lemon juice will reduce redness, prevent infection, and stop bacteria from colonizing on the affected area.
For those with sensitive skin, dilute lemon juice with some water. You can apply squeezed lemon juice on your razor bumps, or rub a lemon slice on it.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is one of the strongest anti-bacterial agents you can find.
However, because it is strong, you need to dilute it with water, and then apply directly on your skin.
Raw honey has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and helps moisturize your skin while preventing infection in the area. You can use just honey or a mixture. If you like to keep things simple, apply honey on the irritated area, and let it dry for 10 minutes.
Rinse with cold water. Another option is to mix one teaspoon of honey and one tablespoon of yogurt, and then apply the mixture on the affected area. After 15 minutes, rinse the area with lukewarm water.
Consider Different Options
Finally, if you find that you are still struggling with razor bumps, you may elect to simply remove hair through other means. That might mean waxing, it might mean going for laser hair removal, or for men, it might mean using an electric razor—or growing a beard!
There are many options, but just make sure you address the cause of your razor burn and don’t continue to irritate your skin on a daily basis. Looking smooth is important, but your comfort and health are far more important!