Most of the time, razor bumps will heal up without any help. But before they heal, they can drive a man crazy. Itching, swelling, and infection are just a few of the things you can experience with these bumps. But you can also get scarring from too many razor bumps. If you have darker skin, these scars will show up compared to lighter skin tones.
It’s easier to prevent razor bumps than it is to treat them or deal with them while they’re healing on their own. Many black men have chosen to grow a beard rather than struggle with razor bumps, but you don’t have to.
It’s challenging to get excited about having a clean shave when it causes razor bumps afterward. These little bumps can be painful and unattractive. Anyone can get them, but it’s more common with black men. Let us teach you how to prevent razor bumps on face.
Change Your Razor
One of the leading causes of razor bumps is shaving too close to the skin. Using a cartridge razor, which has two to five blades, can cause the most skin irritation to black men. Our sensitive skin doesn’t appreciate a bunch of razor blades scratching over it.
Cartridge razors also provide too close of a shave. When curly hair gets cut too far beneath the surface of the skin, it turns into razor bumps. This condition occurs due to the way the hair grows back into your skin rather than straight down. It’s recommended not to shave any closer than 1 mm to your skin.
And you should never shave with a dull razor, Not only are you increasing the chances of getting nicked, but you’ll get a poor shave as well. You can end up with missed patches of hair, uneven lengths, and razor bumps. How frequently you have to change your razor will depend on the type you use.
Consider a Different Type of Razor
Most experts recommend a single blade, or safety razor over a cartridge type. Safety razors provide a close shave while not removing too much length. You’ll still have a little stubble, but you won’t see it. It’s the best option for men with sensitive skin prone to razor bumps.
Follow the Grain
Another reason that razor bumps occur is the direction you shave. Shaving against the grain, meaning strokes upward with your razor, gets a closer shave – but it causes more irritation. It can also cause cuts, razor bumps, and scarring.
It’s better to shave in the same direction that your hair grows because you’re not putting any force behind the stroke. When you shave against the grain, you’re pulling the hair from the follicles, which can make the hair shorter under the skin. A short time later, and you have razor bumps.
A lot of men prefer to use electric razors because they don’t have to use shaving cream. But as a black man, you need moisture while shaving. You’d be better off skipping the electric razor altogether as they are known for causing razor bumps and skin irritation in most black men. But if you do go with an electric type, don’t shave dry.
Sensitive skin can chafe from a dry shave, which causes razor bumps and burn. I’m sure you know the stinging rash you get across your cheeks when you shave in a hurry. Instead, give yourself ample time to shave. Use warm water to prep your skin before you apply your shaving cream. This technique softens the hair and opens the follicles. The blades won’t meet as much resistance, meaning less tugging.
Use Moisturizing Products
To provide the most protection for your skin, apply a priming oil after wetting your face. This type of product adds an extra layer of moisture. Once you’ve smoothed this over your cheeks, chin, and neck, lather up with natural shaving cream or gel. If you have sensitive skin, you should consider avoiding brand name products, as they often contain chemicals that can be harsh on black skin.
Okay, so I may sound like I’m repeating myself, but moisturizing is an essential part of how to prevent razor bumps on face. You want your skin to be happy before you start shaving. It’s hard to be joyful and relaxed when you’re dry and scratchy. Since most men don’t do a proper grooming routine, chances are your skin isn’t as hydrated as it should be.
Applying a moisturizer or moisturizing aftershave afterward will seal in the nutrients and soothe any irritation that might have occurred. If you wait until later on, you could already be getting razor bumps. Pat your face dry once you’ve rinsed off any shaving cream residue. Then apply a moisturizer of your choice.
If you’re using aftershave, avoid ones with alcohol or menthol. These chemicals can cause your skin to become irritated and inflamed. Instead, look for a natural aftershave that contains antibacterial ingredients. These additives will reduce your chances of swelling, razor burn, and razor bumps. They’ll also nourish your skin and make it soft to the touch.
Exfoliating should already be part of your daily grooming process. If it’s not, you’re missing out. When you exfoliate your face, you’re scrubbing away any dirt or oil embedded into your pores. Clean pores are vital for a good shave. If the hair can’t come out of the follicle because the pore is clogged up, the hair will grow under the surface, causing razor bumps.
Exfoliating can also control the direction your hair grows. If your beard tries to grow at a bunch of different angles, as a lot of ours does, exfoliating can help direct the hairs to lay the same way. You are reducing the likelihood of your skin getting razor bumps when you shave.
Exfoliating before you shave also loosens the hair from the follicles. When the hair is already loose and soft, it’s easier to cut. The easier it comes out, the less irritation. Do you see the pattern yet? Before shaving, you want your hair to be as loose and soft as you can get it.
If you have any ingrown hairs from your last shave, exfoliating can bring them to the surface, where you can remove it with a pair of tweezers, or just let it grow. It is recommended not to shave razor bumps until they have healed. Doing so can lead to infection or scarring.
Exfoliate After Shaving Too
You shouldn’t only exfoliate before shaving. There are benefits to keep doing it after you’ve shaved too. For example, remember how I said you could control the direction the hair grows by exfoliating? Let me explain that a bit further. As your hair grows out, it might start to curl back towards your skin.
If you don’t shave in time, the hair can grow back into and under your skin, causing an ingrown hair. Exfoliating will keep the hair from curling as it comes back out. If it doesn’t curl, it can’t grow up into your skin. Catch my drift?
Razor Bumps Can Be Annoying – And Preventable
Now that you know how to prevent razor bumps on face, it’s important also to remember that you should never go more than three days between shavings. Any longer and you risk the hair getting so long that it curls into your skin. Follow these helpful tips and see how smooth and sexy your face can get.