Shaving Bumps

Shaving bumps or razor bumps (known medically as pseudofolliculitis barbae) is a common skin condition in the beard area of black men and others who have curly hair. The condition occurs when the sharp ends of shaved hairs grow back into the skin, causing inflammation. Eventually these ingrown hairs can cause scars, which resemble hard bumps, to form on the face and neck.

The only sure way to avoid developing shaving bumps is to grow a beard. If this is not practical, follow these shaving tips:

  • Shave every day with a safety razor.
  • Be sure to use sharp blades; replace the blades after every two shaves.
  • Before shaving, gently wash your face with mild soap and a warm, soft washcloth; rinse your face thoroughly; and leave your face wet.
  • Apply a nonirritating shaving cream or gel. Ask your doctor to recommend one.
  • Always shave in the direction of hair growth.
  • Do not pull or stretch your skin.
  • Do not shave too closely. Press lightly with the razor. It is better for your skin if you press less firmly and shave more often.
  • Do not keep going over the same spot. This can irritate your skin.
  • Do not attempt to remove ingrown hairs with a tweezers. This can irritate your skin and may lead to infection.
  • After shaving, rinse your face thoroughly and pat it dry.

Common

Health

Concerns

If the condition does not clear up after trying these at-home tips, see your doctor. He or she may prescribe a cream or gel that includes a vitamin A-containing drug called tretinoin or an oral antibiotic to treat the condition.

Warning: Do not share razors. Doing so places you at risk of contracting a bloodborne infection such as hepatitis B or HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

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