How to get rid of razor bumps

by Mark Sjöberg.

The fastest way to get clear skin without razor bumps.

Are you looking for the best razor bump treatment? A treatment that works fast and customized to your situation? Razor bumps can be quite easy to treat. However, before you can learn how to get rid of razor bumps permanently, you must know what the condition is. You need to know what is going on and what you can do to prevent razor bumps from occurring in the first place. Razor or shaving bumps, barber’s itch, simply ingrown hairs, or folliculitis are a few names often used to describe this problem, although not all of them are “medically correct” terms.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae

Photo of patient suffering from razor bumps

Typical symptoms of razor bumps

Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) is the medical term for ingrown hair in the beard area, a condition that mainly affects men (learn more about ingrown hairs in the article: How to get rid of ingrown hairs). Women may also suffer from razor bumps but obviously not as often as men who shave their face every day. They also get them in different areas than the facial area. Pseudofolliculitis is part of the folliculitis family, although pseudo literally means false.

What causes razor bumps? Razor bumps are often seen after shaving areas of the skin too close, thus the name “razor bumps“ or “shaving bumps.” Shaving areas that are dense in hair such as the face, scalp, chest, groin, armpits, arms and legs increases the risk of developing these often very painful acne-like bumps. The likelihood of developing ingrown hair, and thus the visible symptom in the form of razor bumps, also increases with curly hair and any other type of hair that grows in a different angle than straight out of the skin.

These unattractive shaving bumps can be similar to “hair bumps,” which may occur on other parts of the body than the face. The so called hair bumps are often caused by ingrown hairs, without being a side effect from shaving.

Symptoms of razor bumps: The symptoms of razor bumps range from tiny white blister-like pustules, or pea sized red pimples, to walnut sized boils. Skin with razor bumps are often afflicted by pus formation, but the lesion can also take the form of a hard lump underneath the skin, which may cause a lot of swelling. Depending on how the razor bump was formed, and whether the skin is infected or not, these symptoms can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or even months to heal. Sometimes they don’t heal completely – if your body encapsulates the ingrown hair, it may cause new problems later in life because the hair provokes your immune system.

The information here on how to permanently get rid of razor bumps is relevant to pseudofolliculitis barbae, especially the external treatment methods, as shaving is one of the major triggers of PFB (thus the name “razor bumps“).

Pseudofolliculitis can be divided into two categories, extrafollicular or transfollicular penetration.

Pseudofolliculitis - Illustration of extrafollicular penetration

Extrafollicular penetration


Extrafollicular penetration:
Extrafollicular penetration occurs when a hair pierces the skin after it exits the hair follicle. People with curly hair often experience this problem because once the hair is shaved, the sharp tip of the shaved hair may reenter the skin. The body thinks that the hair is an intruder, which it is in this case, and reacts promptly.

Razor bump - Illustration of transfollicular penetration

Transfollicular penetration

Transfollicular penetration: Hairs that are cut too close to the skin may result in transfollicular penetration—a hair that pierces the skin without exiting the follicle. People who use multiple-blade razors or razor machines with lift-and-cut techniques are more likely to experience this problem. Typical causes are also: dry skin, waxing, blockage of the follicle because of accumulation of dead skin cells, or other substances like oil and dirt. Even friction against clothing may cause transfollicular penetration. Once again, the body reacts to this “intruder” and tries to encapsulate and defeat it.

When it is more than just a shaving rash

You may suffer from pseudofolliculitis barbae (pfb) if after shaving you develop not just a shaving rash, but a cluster of red pimples or big bumps or lumps with or without pus formation. Ingrown facial hair on the jawline and neck are often more painful and causes more swelling compared to ingrown hairs around the mouth and on the chin. You need an effective folliculitis treatment if you suffer from some of the more severe symptoms such as large boils, carbuncles and folliculitis scars – your doctor might just refer to them as ingrown hair cysts or simply acne (which would be wrong), but your dermatologist, who is a specialist, would probably diagnose you with Pseudofolliculitis barbae or simply folliculitis. People typically use the term ingrown hair, hair bumps, razor bumps or shaving bumps because these problems are often related to areas of skin with dense hair growth, such as the face (beard) or scalp, areas we tend to trim or shave.

What is for sure caused by shaving too close is a razor burn, which is just another word for shaving rash or razor rash. You can easily learn how to get rid of razor burn and how to prevent razor bumps using a few simple tips – it is not difficult if you know the right method.

How to get rid of razor bumps using simple methods

We all know that prevention is better than cure but have you already tried all combinations of shaving methods you could think of? Dry shaving before showering, wet shaving during and after showering using a blade or machine, and different shaving solutions, such as pre-shave products, shaving creams/foams/gels/oils, aftershaves etc.? A change in the way you shave your face is recommended for avoiding ingrown beard hairs. That may be enough to solve your problem, if you suffer from a mild form of razor bumps, but as said before, shaving the wrong way or too close is not always the only reason why some people can’t shave their face without getting ingrown facial hair and razor bumps.

Growing a beard won’t necessarily cure you from ingrown hair, so that proves that there is more to it than just bad shaving habits such as using a dull razor. However, the right shaving method can make a big difference, so let’s go through the different options.

Shaving methods that prevent razor bumps: Some people prefer a razorblade, while others think that electric foil shavers are the best. Some prefer shaving cream, while others prefer foam, etc. There is no consensus and people naturally have different shaving habits. However, it is best to use something that doesn’t give you an extremely close shave, if you want to give your skin the most optimal conditions. The reason why razorblade companies add extra blades is obvious; their goal is to offer consumers “the closest shave” possible. The same applies to the companies that make electric foil shavers.

The question we often get – is it best to use an electric foil shaver or a razorblade when you suffer from ingrown hairs and razor bumps? We generally recommend electric foil shavers but you should avoid shavers with a lift and cut system. When you pull the hair a little further out from the skin and cut it off, the hair can crawl back beneath the skin and become trapped. It is the perfect recipe for ingrown hairs! The fact is that the closer you shave, the more likely you will get ingrown hairs and other problems. A foil-guarded safety razor or twin-blade razor is usually recommended for this condition for the same reason—avoiding a close shave. Also read this text about Shaving techniques and skin treatments that prevent ingrown hair.

Picture of electric shavers

Avoid shavers with a lift and cut system

Wet shave vs dry shave: It is best to shave right after a shower or after washing your face, while your skin is still wet. The warm water makes your whiskers soft and easier to cut, and your shaver will glide over your skin without causing too much friction.

Don’t use very hot water, however, but do use a cleansing product with an exfoliating effect in the shower. Use circular motions when you use the scrub, and make sure you also exfoliate against the grain. It will prevent curly hair from growing back into the skin and clean blocked pores, so that your skin is free from grease, dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria, etc. You are going to smear that lovely mixture into your follicles if you dry-shave before showering, yet it still works for many people.

You might want to avoid electric foil shavers for dry shaving in the summer or when your skin is warm and moist because there is a greater risk of skin irritation (razor burn and shaving rash). Electric foil shavers for dry shaving can’t glide as easily on the skin if it is moist from sweat or moist. This is important if you want to get rid of razor bumps fast and prevent new outbreaks.

Get rid of the root cause of razor bumps

Folliculitis: A New Approach - learn how to get rid of razor bumps, ingrown hairs and recurrent folliculitis

Step-by-step treatment guide on how to get rid of razor bumps permanently.

You may have already searched for information about how to shave without getting razor bumps and perhaps you tried different razor bump remedies, shaving creams, soaps, etc. without finding a real solution to your problems. Growing a beard is not an option for many people, and avoiding shaving might not even cure you. Perhaps shaving isn’t the root cause of your problem. Folliculitis could be the true cause and you would benefit from our folliculitis treatment program – it also contains special information on how to get rid of razor bumps and shaving rash permanently.

We can help you find the right solution to any folliculitis related problem you might have. If you’ve already tried the above recommendations, but still suffer from shaving problems, then you might want to take a look at our home treatment program “Folliculitis: A New Approach”. Step 2 in our program not only shows you the easiest way to get rid of razor bumps permanently, but it also shows you how to prevent ingrown hairs in the first place – you will be surprised by how simple it can be to get rid of razor bumps once and for all.

Once your skin has normalized you should be able to use whatever shaving device you want. You should also be able to shave closely again. Learn more about our folliculitis / razor bump treatment program – you can start today and see results within a short time.

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