Razor Bumps: How to Prevent & Get Rid of Them

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Razor bumps after shaving: The right way to shave your face and body

What are Razor Bumps

Razor bumps (aka pseudofolliculitis barbae) are small bumps that are caused by inflamed hair follicle or by hair growing out and inward back into the skin. Razor bumps can appear after shaving, waxing or plucking. Razor bumps affect 60% of men, and you are more prone to razor bumps if you have curly coarse hair.

What causes Razor Bumps

Razor bumps can be cause by 2 different reasons:

  1. Ingrown hair:

When the hair grows out and then curls back into the skin, skin cells can start to grow around that hair which becomes a bump that is very irritating.

  1. Staphylococcus Aureus: 

Razor bumps can also happen when the hair follicle is inflamed which is also very irritating.

Who gets Razor Bumps

Studies have shown that mostly African males are affected by razor bumps. Furthermore, you are more prone to get razor bumps if you use a blade over an electric razor.

Pubic Hair Razor Bumps

The curlier the hair, the more chances of getting a razor bump after shaving. Razor bumps tend to happen more under the jawline and the pubic hair because the hair tends to grow in different directions in these areas.

How Razor Bumps Feel Like

It feels like itchy tender bumps and when you shave, it can lead to pus and/or blood discharge. 


Razor bumps may look like acne due to the inflammation.

This is how Razor bumps look like:

razor bumps under jawline in an African male

second picture of razor bumps under jawline in an African male


Are Razor Bumps Harmful

When you get razor bumps, cytokines are released. Cytokines are a group of inflammation mediators that trigger your melanocytes (the cells that produce the pigment melanin) to produce more pigment. You end up with a situation where you not only have the bump, but also get pigmentation too.

How to Prevent Razor Bumps

Follow these instructions to minimize your chances of getting razor bumps.

  • Before shaving, soften the skin and hair by using a pre-shave oil as it soothes and hydrates the razor bumps and that ingrown hair so you won't have the coarse end that would happen after you shave.
  • Use a shaving foam all over your face.
  • Use a single blade, or an electric shaver. If your blade is getting caught or shaving is not smooth, it’s time to change your blade.
  • Always shave in the direction in which your hair grows. If your hair is growing downwards, then shave from top to bottom with the hair growth direction, not against the hair growth direction.
  • Moisturize the skin after shaving. 

How to Remove Razor Bumps

Option 1: Pluck It

If the ingrown hair that caused a razor bump is visible and reachable, use sterilized tweezers (use alcohol rub) to pluck the hair out. However, if you are not able to reach it easily, do not  attempt to pluck it out because you will pluck the skin away in the process and that will definitely pigment.

Option 2: Wash with 2% Salicylic Acid

Use a 2% salicylic acid wash which will exfoliate any dead skin cells which will loosen hair that is trapped in those skin cells.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque (| 50ml)

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque for Exfoliation and removing blemishes  

How long Razor Bumps last

Razor bumps usually go away within 2-3 weeks. Razor bumps are caused by hair growing inwards so it takes time for the bumps to appear and takes longer to go as well. The problem is not with the razor bump going away, it will eventually go away in a few weeks. The main concern is whether it will pigment and leave a scar after the bump is healed.


Razor bumps can happen after you shave and especially if you have curly hair. They can also happen after shaving the pubic area. The best way to prevent the chances of getting razor bumps would be to either use an electric shaver, or use a single blade and shave along with the direction of hair growth, not against it. It is also very important to use shaving oil and shaving foam before shaving. You can loosen up ingrown hair using 2% salicylic wash and you can also remove the ingrown hair using a sterilized tweezer if you can clearly see the ingrown hair and it is easy to take it off without plucking the skin out.

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