Seventeen.com posted "How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps For Good" featuring Visha Skincare founder, Dr. Purvisha Patel's expert insights on razor bumps and the best shaving techniques and features Visha Skincare's Advanced Purifying Cleanser.
Say bye-bye to those bumps.
Removing body hair is no easy feat, from finding a great razor that'll get the job done to making sure your shave lasts long. Not to mention, shaving can sometimes result in uncomfortable red bumps — especially in your bikini area. While they may be a natural reaction to irritation, razor bumps are frustrating to deal with.
So, what causes razor bumps and how do you combat them? Seventeen spoke with board-certified dermatologist Purvisha Patel, MD and the founder of Pacific Shaving Company, CC Sofronas, to answer all your questions and concerns about razor bumps. Read on for the best tips, tricks, techniques, and skincare practices to give razor bumps the boot for good.
What causes razor bumps?
If you're trying to avoid razor bumps in the future, it's good to know what causes them in the first place. When you shave, you're removing hair from follicles on the top layer of your skin. Not all hair grows through this layer, and after shaving, it will curl and cause bumps.
"Razor bumps occur typically after shaving over hair follicles. The follicle has inflammation, irritation, and possibly micro infection within it as the hair is trying to grow back. They can be itchy, tender and can result in scarring," Dr. Patel says.
What is the difference between razor bumps and razor burn?
Upon researching razor bumps, you may hear the term "razor burn" being tossed around, too. But what's the difference between the two?
Healthline reports that razor burns are caused after you shave while razor bumps are the result of shaved hairs growing back and becoming ingrown. Razor burn occurs when you have an uncomfortable, rough shave. Pacific Shaving Company's CC Sofronas suggests shaving with a lubricant like shaving gel or natural oil as opposed to only using water.
Is there anything you can do before shaving to prevent razor bumps?
The good news is you can prevent irritation and razor bumps before you even pick up a razor. First, you're going to want to make sure the surface of your skin is clean before giving it some extra TLC. After cleaning, CC suggests exfoliating your skin.
"Exfoliating should be a part of your regular grooming routine as it helps remove any superficial dead skin. Otherwise, a lack of exfoliating can lead to ingrown hairs," CC says. You're also going to want to make sure that your blades are sharp enough for hair removal. CC shares that shaving with a dull blade will result in going over the same spot multiple times, which can cause ingrown hairs.
"Remember to rinse the blades in between shaving passes and after you've finished. Bacteria can form on the blade if it's not clean, which in turn can cause razor burn," CC added.
What are the best shaving techniques for a smooth shave?
Believe it or not, there are plenty of factors that affect the result of your shave, including speed, direction, and when you decide to do it. The number one tip is to take your time — when you rush or shave quickly, you're more likely to nick yourself.
The direction you hold the razor plays a massive part in getting a close shave. To avoid irritation, CC and Dr. Patel both suggest shaving with the grain as opposed to against the grain.
"Shaving against the grain may offer a closer shave, but it will lead to more ingrown hairs," CC says. "Therefore, it's beneficial to shave with the grain. However, hair growth varies in direction all over our body as does hair density."
Hair grows in one direction on the legs, two different directions on the bikini line, and three different directions on the armpits. According to CC, it can be sparse on the lower leg and thick in the bikini. When it comes to the best ingredients for the job, Dr. Patel suggests using products that kill any potential bacteria or fungus on the skin.
"Alpha hydroxy acids found in fruit can help loosen the top layer of the skin and smooth the pores and decrease the debris," Dr. Patel says.
"When you’re ready to shave, do so at the end of the shower. That way, your skin and hair are hydrated and soft," CC suggests.
According to Dr. Patel, the best practice is to shave in lukewarm water as hot water opens hair follicles and creates a closer shave than anticipated — a.k.a where shave burn can happen.
Is there a post-shave care regimen for preventing and treating bumps?
Last but certainly not least, you're going to want to apply some soothing products after your shave to not only ensure that it lasts, but help keep skin smooth. Just like you apply skincare products to your face, your legs (or any other shaved areas) deserve the same kind of attention.
"After shaving, dry the area well and make sure to moisturize and soothe it. It's best if products contain tea tree oil or aloe," Dr. Patel says. Moisturizing the shaved area with gentle ingredients is the key to locking in moisture and avoiding irritation.
Post-shave regimens can even come down to the clothes you wear. Heavier, thick clothes may irritate skin and affect how your moisturizer settles in.
"I recommend wearing clothes that are lightweight, non-restricting, and of a breathable material such as cotton," CC Sofronas says. "This will allow your skin to breathe and may reduce ingrown hairs and any irritation it may feel from the contact of your clothing."
In case you need a quick checklist, or just need a recap of everything CC and Dr. Patel went through, I've got you covered:
- Check the sharpness your blades
- Clean and exfoliate the surface of your skin
- Shave toward the end of your shower in lukewarm water
- Shave with the grain, not against it
- Dry your skin and apply moisturizer
- Wear lightweight, breathable clothes
By picking up these tips and tricks by shaving and skincare experts, you should experience a close, smooth shave in no time.