If you are one of those guys (or women) that just assumes that shaving is supposed to be a painful process that is not meant to be comfortable then read on. Razor bumps and ingrown hairs are not inevitable.
Want to know how to avoid razor bumps and actually enjoy the shaving process? You can actually shave without discomfort and irritation.
There are several things you can be doing to prevent razor burn, razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
In this article I will highlight a few ways to do this and then you can find a method that is going to work for you.
What are razor bumps?
Razor bumps are essentially ingrown hairs.
What happens is that when your hair is growing back in, it kind of gets stuck under the skin. Usually, because it doesn’t grow straight out. Then it collects bacteria and becomes infected and inflamed. Not to mention uncomfortable.
It’s bad enough getting pimples, it’s even worse when there is a hair growing in there causing pain.
It usually happens when there is an area of the face, pubic area or legs where the hair grows in a different direction than the rest of your hair.
For guys, this usually means at the bottom of their beard, around the throat area. Especially around the Adam’s Apple.
Razor bumps are very common among African men as their hair tends to be tightly curled. So when it grows out it can grow under the skin.
What can cause razor bumps?
Razor bumps and ingrown hair may seem like they just happen randomly, but they don’t. Just about all of the causes are self inflicted, even though some people are more prone than others.
When you have a lot of dead skin cells, it tends to clog up your pores. If you do a quick shave without prepping your face well, then you aren’t getting those pores cleared of the dead cells and other grime. This attracts bacteria and makes it very difficult for your facial hair to grow through.
If you’re getting razor bumps on your pubic area then your pores could be clogged there from too tight clothing.
For your hair to grow through the skin without getting stuck and ending up growing underneath, it needs to be cut bluntly. Basically this means the follicle needs to be cut straight across. This goes for any hair, whether it is on your head, face or pubic area.
To make sure the hair is being cut straight and not being torn by the razor, it needs t be very sharp.
Everytime you pick up that razor that still has the hair from last time you shaved stuck between the blades, or it even looks like it’s getting a bit rusty, you are increasing the risk of ingrown hairs forming.
Using an electric shaver can also cause many guys to have ingrown hairs as they really don’t cut the hair cleanly. They almost grind the hair down so it can be quite rough on the face. Most guys can use them, but if you are prone to getting ingrown hair then stay away from electric razors.
Shaving the wrong way is pretty much the number one reason why guys end up with razor bumps. I know that shaving is not high on the list of things you love to do, but when you take the time to shave correctly, it is a much better experience.
I’ll go into all the details about how to shave the right way to avoid razor bumps in a bit, but suffice it to say that rushing the shaving process and shaving against the grain is almost asking to get ingrown hairs.
How to stop razor bumps
We already have an article on how to get rid of razor bumps, but the best medicine is prevention as they say. So here we will instead focus on how to prevent them from forming to begin with. If you already have ingrown hairs then follow the tips in that article and then come back to hear to make sure you don’t get them again.
Tip #1- Prepare your skin to shave
Just as important as using a sharp razor is your preparation. Half the battle is already won when your face is prepared to be shaved.
Grow some stubble
The best time to shave is when you have 3 or so days of growth. Now, many guys can’t grow a beard due to their work, but I am sure that if you told your boss you need to grow a few days because you are trying to get rid of and prevent some razor bumps that they will understand.
If you have to look presentable at work, then at least make sure you outline the stubble nicely so it looks neat.
While it is growing just make sure to exfoliate so you are getting rid of the existing bumps and it will be a much smoother experience.
The reason you want the stubble is so that it can be softened easier with water and will be cut more evenly and cleanly by a very sharp razor.
I wrote a very detailed article on how to do a wet shave so you can read all about that by clicking the link, but first here is a short guide on what it is about.
A wet shave is that old fashioned shave using a shaving brush and shaving soap that you whip into a lather.
Typically you use a double edge safety razor or a traditional straight razor, but you can do a wet shave even using a multi blade cartridge razor.
The razor is still important and does make a difference, but just by doing this kind of shave you are already doing a lot to prevent razor bumps.
You’ll need a wet shave kit, or you can buy the items individually.
When you have really gotten your face saturated with water and the stubble is also soaked, then the razor will be able to cut the hair very evenly so it doesn’t get torn. Then, the brush will lift the hair away from the face so it also can cut it evenly. When your hair lies flat and you shave it, it highly increases the odds that it will end up growing under the skin and becoming a razor bump. It also very gently exfoliates the skin and opens up the pores.
How to stop razor bumps without needing any creams or medicines you just need to get your shave routine down.
If you don’t plan to do the wet shave, then at a minimum you should be exfoliating the skin.
By doing this you are clearing out your pores, getting rid of the dead skin and then exposing the under layer of skin so it can allow for the hairs to grow straight through much better.
Using an exfoliant also clears away bacteria so you’re less likely to have an ingrown hair become infected while you wait for it to pass.
It will also lift the hair that is lying flat against the skin just like using a shaving brush does.
Pre Shave Oil
Lubrication is very important to make sure that you don’t cause any irritation when shaving. Although razor burn and razor bumps are two different things, you can certainly heighten the risk of razor bump when you irritate your skin.
Using a pre shave oil, whether you plan to do a wet shave or not, will get the skin lubricated and plump so the razor can evenly cut the hair. If the blade has to struggle to pass across the skin then there is more of a chance that the hair won’t be cleanly cut.
If you have any blemishes on the skin, say already existing razor bumps, then the oil will help you avoid cutting yourself or causing even further discomfort.
One thing to keep in mind though is that many pre shave oils don’t work well with cartridge razors as they tend to clog the blades.
Tips #2 – How to shave without getting razor bumps
If you have followed the preparation tips before then your shave is already going to be much smoother and less likely to cause any ingrown hairs. But, now seal the deal by changing the way you approach your shave.
Use a Single Blade Razor
As I just mentioned, you can do the wet shave and use a cartridge, but I highly recommend learning how to use either a straight edge or safety razor.
Yeah, there is quite a learning curve, especially with a cut throat razor, but using a single blade that is extremely sharp is crucial to avoiding razor bumps.
Besides the fact that the blade is so sharp is cleanly cuts the hair, a single blade is more sanitary than a cartridge. Cartridges can really spread bacteria all over your face and make any razor bumps worse by exposing them to more bacteria.
Using a straight edge, you are able to really disinfect it easily. And safety razors use disposable razor blades. They only cost pennies a piece so using one only once and then throwing it out is still economical. And this way there is no bacteria that can accumulate on the blade.
You’re also going over the skin two times max when using a straight blade. With a cartridge, you need to put some pressure when shaving and end up running over the same spot multiple times. This is not only uncomfortable as it can irritate the skin, but it also practically ensures that some hairs will become ingrown.
Go with the grain
It is so very tempting to go right against the growth pattern f your beard to get a closer shave. And, some guys can be fine doing this.
If you are a guy that regularly gets razor bumps, then you really want to avoid this. At least don’t go against the grain until you have already gone with it, then at a 90° angle. This way there is very little hair left that won’t be cut in such a way as to make it easier for it to grow the wrong way and get stuck under the skin.
Most guys have the hair at the throat area growing up against the rest of the beard. This is the most common spot for ingrown hair. Take extra time around here to go up with the first stroke and then, at most, a stroke at a 90° angle.
This is the spot where you really don’t want to get the closest shave possible. It’s better to have some remnants of stubble or some shadow than to have a bunch of embarrassing and uncomfortable ingrown hairs.
Don’t use pressure
The problem with cartridge razors is that if you don’t put pressure they don’t cut very well. So, you really actually have to use some pressure. This is a big reason they cause ingrown hairs.
This is why I recommend using a safety razor as you don’t need to press down on the blade for it to cut well. The weight of the razor alone is enough pressure so you are really just letting the blade do the work of shaving.
Use an aftershave
When you’ve shaved with acne or with ingrown hairs present, you’ve spread bacteria all over your face which can just make things worse.
Using an aftershave is a great way to kill that bacteria and also smell great in the process.
You might already be thinking of giving aftershave a pass since you remember that burn from the alcohol.
These days you have much gentler options like an aftershave balm that has Witch Hazel in it instead of the burning alcohol.
Witch Hazel works just as well as an alcohol at disinfecting and also works as an astringent. This means that your pores get closed and your skin tightens so it makes your shave feel much smoother.
Many aftershave balms also contain moisturizers that will hydrate and soothe the skin as well as nourish it leaving it healthier.
Tip #3 – Use an antibiotic cream or essential oil
If those steps didn’t work and you still don’t know how to avoid razor bumps, then it is time to try some topical creams and essential oils to beat the bumps.
Neosporin from Amazon.com is a very effective antibiotic ointment that will help get rid of the bacteria in your ingrown hairs. It also helps soothe since it offers up some pain relief as well.
An all natural alternative is to use this Terrasil anti bacterial skin repair ointment from Amazon.com.
There are also plenty of essential oils that can be really effective as a natural way to clear the bacteria and repair your skin.
For instance, anything with clary sage oil, rosemary oil, tea tree oil and castor oil will work wonders in killing the bacteria and promoting healthier skin.
This essential oil face butter from Amazon.com would make a good choice as it contains tea tree oil to kill any bacteria and tone the skin and shea butter to hydrate and nourish. You could even use it as a pre shave balm for extra lubrication.
How to stop razor bumps on your bikini area
Since most women don’t shave their face and have the kind of facial hair, this is obviously an area of concern. If you don’t know how to avoid razor bumps on your bikini area then just keep a few things in mind next time you shave down there.
Do it after the shower or towards the end
If you read the article to this point then you understand how important it is for your skin and stubble to be really wet.
Doing it before or even at the beginning of the shower won’t give enough time to really hydrate the skin totally.
You’ll see less irritation and a much closer shave not to mention it is less likely to create ingrown hair. If your razor is struggling to cut the hair because it isn’t soft enough then you’re increasing the chances of getting razor bumps.
Using an exfoliant is a great way to clear your pores of dead skin cells and bacteria. This is one of the biggest reasons you get ingrown hairs around your bikini.
If your pores are clogged then the hair will have a harder time getting through and is likely to end up infected.
Also, once the new layer of skin is exposed, you can get a very smooth shave that will help you cut the hair at the right level to avoid ingrown hairs.
Always use shaving cream
You may think that the area is wet enough to just go without, but you need to help your razor do its job. I’ll repeat it again. If your razor is struggling to cut the hair, you won’t get a clean cut. If the hair is raggedly cut, it will struggle to grow out of the skin and has a good chance of becoming a razor bump that gets infected.
If you do this in the shower then you won’t be making a mess so there really is no reason to skip this step.
Use a moisturizing one that won’t dry out your skin.
Go with the grain
Try to understand your growth pattern. If it is too short to see which direction the hair grows in, then run your hand over. If it feels smooth even with stubble then that means you were moving your hair in the direction it grows. If it feels rough then that is going “against the grain” so to speak. This is the way you Do Not want to shave or you will almost guarantee yourself some razor bumps.
Make a mental note of the directions and then make your strokes along the way the hair grows. Once you have finished, if you want to get even closer, then you can make some strokes at a 90° angle.
Use a moisturizer
A good moisturizer will repair your skin and also disinfect the area. Your razor may have spread some bacteria around and this is a good way to kill it before it can cause any problems.
Coochy+ from Amazon.com is specially formulated for use as an aftershave lotion for women’s genitals and underarms. This will also leave your bikini soft and reduce any post shave itchiness as well as prevent any ingrown hairs.
Don’t wear tight underwear or clothes for a while
If you are able to stay nude for a while before getting dressed, then this is the ideal situation.
If you can wait to get dressed for around an hour or so then your skin has a chance to let the moisture out. If you get dressed right away you are making a humid environment that will allow some bacteria into the area which could infect the pores.
If you do need to get dressed right away, then wearing a skirt is a good idea instead of tight jeans.
If you have to get dressed right away then using a body powder will help prevent chafing.
Keep your razor clean
Your razor is the number one reason you are getting razor bumps. Chances are pretty good that it is not kept clean and in a dry area. After use, make sure that there is no hair clogging the blades, that it has been rinsed clean and is then stored in a dry area.
This will keep bacteria from spreading and will also keep the blades sharp.
Don’t push it with the length of time you use the razor. Once it starts to feel dull, you need to change blades.
Yes, it will get expensive, especially if you are shaving a few times per week, but it beats getting razor bumps every time.
Don’t overdo it
You may be tempted to shave every day to keep it smooth down there. Try to avoid this as you need to give your skin some time to heal.
Shaving everyday will irritate your skin and make it more susceptible to razor bumps.
And you need some stubble to make for a smooth and comfortable shave. If there is no stubble then you can’t get as smooth a shave. It seems counterintuitive but when there is a bit of hair there, it can more readily absorb water and will be easier to cut.
Every three days should really be the max that you shave your bikini area.
It may seem like a lot to do to avoid razor bumps, and in some ways it is. I won’t sugar coat it. It is going to take making some changes to your shaving routine to prevent this.
Once you adopt all these tips on how to avoid razor burn and then apply the other tips on how to shave without getting razor bumps then you will finally be free of those uncomfortable ingrown hairs.
Do you still have some questions on how to stop razor bumps? Then just leave me a message below and I will get back to your with more information. I feel like this list is pretty thorough but in case I missed something.
In any case, happy shaving and goodbye razor bumps!