The Grooming Manual
How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & More
Nothing feels or looks worse after a shave than an irritated face and neckline. Unfortunately, many men struggle with burns, bumps, itch, and general discomfort after shaving.
Even if that’s been your situation so far, you can make a change. Preventing razor bumps isn’t difficult - but it does require some knowledge, a little bit of effort, and the right tools.
First, learn what causes razor bumps. Then you’ll be in a better position to understand the steps to prevent razor bumps and burns. It all comes down to how to properly shave your face.
What Are Razor Bumps?
Razor bumps are a common kind of skin irritation caused by shaving or waxing among young adults or teens as well as older adults. They can occur anywhere you shave, not just your face. So if you’re shaving to remove hair on your face, neck, chest, groin (or anywhere else), you could potentially experience razor bumps there. People with tightly curled facial and body hair are more prone to developing this form of irritation because of the way their hair grows.
Other names for razor bumps on neck and face are pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) and pseudofolliculitis pubis when they occur in the pubic area.
Since this post is focusing on facial skin and hair, here's some key information on how to shave pubic hair for men.
What Does Razor Bumps Look Like?
Razor bumps look a lot like pimples or zits - so much so that they can sometimes be confused for acne breakouts. These after shave bumps are often red with inflammation and irritation that raise them up and away from the skin. Razor burns, on the other hand, appear more like a skin rash.
What Causes Razor Bumps?
Razor bumps form on a shaved area when hairs have been cut very short. This leads to red bumps after shaving and sometimes razor rash. When the hair is cut too short, it can curve into your skin as it regrows. The end result is ingrown hairs and skin irritation.
How Long Do Razor Bumps Last?
Razor bumps generally heal within 2-3 weeks of shaving. It depends on the specific type of irritation, the texture of your hair, your skin type, and other factors.
What Are Ingrown Hair Bumps?
Ingrown hair bumps occur when hairs bend under the skin as they grow instead of pushing through the skin as they should. This makes it more difficult to shave and increases the chances of shaving rash.
Some of the most common causes of ingrown hairs include:
- An accumulation of dead skin cells on the face which clog hair follicles and block the hair's proper growth
- Hair that is cut too close to the skin and pierces the skin as it regrows
- Curly hairs re-entering the skin after shaving due to their growth pattern
Do Ingrown Hairs Itch?
Yes, itchiness is very common with ingrown hairs. As the ingrown hair continues to grow, you might notice a red bump, itchiness, discomfort, or a pimple-like sore start to develop.
What Is Razor Burn?
Razor burn is a type of skin irritation that often develops as a result of aggressive shaving, dry shaving, or shaving with dull blades. Razor burn and razor bumps look similar in some cases, but their causes are not the same.
Razor burn - also called razor rash - is typically experienced immediately after shaving. On the other hand, razor bumps develop after the hair starts regrowing, hours or even days after having shaved.
How Does Razor Burn Happen?
Your skin is made up of two main layers. The top layer is mostly dead skin cells, while the bottom layer is made up of newly formed skin cells. When you shave, you exfoliate your face and remove much of the top most layer of dead skin. This also exposes the skin to possible irritation.
Painful razor burn occurs when you’ve irritated the skin while shaving. Some of the common culprits are bad technique (usually too many razor strokes), bacteria from your razor infecting your skin, or a reaction from your sensitive skin.
Common Follow-Up Symptoms of Any Bumps After Shaving Face
The symptoms of razor bumps and other shaving red bumps can be grouped into four major categories:
- Fluid-filled cysts
- Non-fluid filled cysts
- Painful nodules
- Itchy or painful red patches
In all cases, the symptoms with generally go away on their own within the span of a few days or a few weeks at most. In some severe cases, symptoms can persist for much longer - even for months or years if nothing is done to address the problem.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be worried about long term damage to your skin from razor bumps or burn. And only in the most extreme of cases will you need to seek medical attention because of shave irritation.
Tips for Shaving: How to Prevent Razor Bumps, Burns, and Ingrown Hairs
Prevention is all about good preparation. So you’ll notice that many of these shaving tips should be applied before you reach for your razor.
What if you have sensitive skin? These tips all apply to you too. Sensitive skin shaving isn’t much different from proper shaving for everyone else. Be patient, take your time, and always opt for a gentle approach when dealing with your skin.
Let's dive in and learn how you can prevent razor burns and how to avoid razor burn.
Open Your Hair Follicles with Hot Water
One easy way to do this is taking a warm shower before you shave (or shaving while in the shower). And be sure to never shave without thoroughly wetting your face first. Wet hair is significantly weaker than dry hair, allowing for it to be cut more easily and limiting the risk that you’ll have irritated skin afterwards.
Exfoliate Your Skin
Use our Renewing Face Scrub on the area you’re going to shave. Exfoliating also helps remove the top layer of dead skin on the face and allows your blade to cut the hair closer to its base. It also softens up facial hairs and stands them up and away from the skin. All together these exfoliation benefits allow for a cleaner, smoother shave.
Free Hairs with Tweezers
Yes, you can tweeze ingrown hairs - but don’t squeeze them. Tweezing can also prevent razor burn if done properly.
Just like with acne spots, squeezing an ingrown hair will worsen inflammation. And it’s not even guaranteed to actually remove the hair. You could wind up just irritating your skin further and doing yourself zero favors.
Instead of squeezing, use tweezers to gently break the skin and free up the ingrown hair so it can continue growing normally outside the skin. But try not pull out the hair entirely, otherwise the new hair that grows in its place might become ingrown as well.
Always Use a Sharp, Clean Blade
One of the easiest way to stop razor burn is to never use a blade (safety, cartridge, or disposable) more than 4-5 times. And keep it disinfected by pouring some alcohol on it before shaving. Then make sure to rinse and dry after disinfecting with alcohol. One of the biggest causes of skin irritation is bacteria growth on your razor blade transferring to your skin when you shave.
Use a Natural, Non-Lathering Shave Cream
The ingredients used to create lather in most shave creams are irritating to the skin. Every time you shave, you’re creating microscopic cuts in the skin. If you then use a low quality shave cream with harsh ingredients, now you’re letting those irritating chemicals seep into your skin.
This creates the perfect opportunity for irritation to occur. So stay away from those foaming, lathering products and go for a soothing, lotion-like formula like our Smooth Brushless Shave Cream. It can help you shave without razor bumps bothering you afterwards.
Shave with the Grain of Your Hair, Gently
Always shave with the grain of your hair and do not press your blade firmly into your skin. Instead, go for light strokes that pass over your skin. Pulling the skin tight to get a closer shave causes you to cut the hair at a point beneath the skin and can lead to ingrown hairs - so it’s another no-no.
Rinse the Blade off Between Strokes
This prevents shave cream, whiskers, and dead skin cells from building up on the blade which would lead to a dull shave experience and possible bacteria growth.
Take Your Time
Following all of these steps is going to to take a bit of time. But here’s any easy way to never rush through shaving: give yourself ten minutes to do it. If you schedule that block of time to yourself just for shaving, you’ll have plenty of time to do a great job - and you’ll most likely finish with a few minutes to spare.
Finish with Alcohol-Free Aftershave
Wondering does aftershave prevent razor bumps? Short answer is yes, it can. But not if you use a product with harsh ingredients. Avoid aftershaves with alcohol or menthol - they dry out your skin, cause redness, and are often irritating.
Our alcohol-free Instant Relief Aftershave contains alpha hydroxy acids from sugar cane, sugar maple, and orange peel. These natural antiseptics help the skin repair itself without infection or red bumps. Its aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E formula restores lost moisture, allowing the skin to repair itself faster.
What Is the Best Razor Bump Treatment?
Unfortunately, there isn’t an instant razor bump treatment that will always make them disappear immediately. But there are lots of ways to treat your skin post-shave, including lotions and creams.
Don't Shave - Grow Your Beard
There is one extremely simple answer to what prevents razor bumps… growing a beard! If shave irritation is getting out of control for you and you’re willing to change your look a bit, consider letting your facial hair grow out.
When you grow a beard, you instantly reduce your risk of shave irritation. Not only are you shaving less often, you’re also escaping from the cycle of very short facial hair growth. There’s far less opportunity for your hairs to become ingrown or curl under the skin if they’re allowed to get long and move away from the skin’s surface.
Exfoliate the Skin
One of the best ways to treat shaving bumps and burns is exfoliating. If you also want to prevent razor bumps, make this a regular part of your routine.
Exfoliation is the process of scrubbing away dead skin from the surface. This also deep cleans your pores of bacteria and oily buildup. Less dead skin and bacteria means less risk of you experiencing razor burn after a shave.
When exfoliating, avoid scrubbing aggressively at your skin. Easy does it - and don’t forget to use moisturizer afterwards. Our Renewing Face Scrub and Daily Essential Face Moisturizer make an excellent combo for exfoliating and moisturizing thanks to their gentle, natural ingredients.
Should You Exfoliate Before or After Shaving?
Exfoliating prior to shaving is an excellent way to stop dead skin cells from clogging your razor. If they get stuck in there, they make your razor far less effective and prevent you from getting a close shave. This also cleans up your skin, unclogs your pores, and softens your whiskers.
Home Remedies for Razor Bumps
Here’s how to get rid of razor bumps using home remedies. There are a variety of options here, many of which utilize things you might already have at home.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which help prevent razor burn. It loosens ingrown hairs, opens pores, relieves itchiness, and soothes shave irritation.
Exfoliate gently to get rid of dead skin cells, open up pores, and reduce irritation. You can use a natural product like our Renewing Face Scrub or try to make your own at-home exfoliator using ingredients like olive oil and sugar. If you try the latter, avoid leaving it on your skin for too long as this could cause irritation.
Using an exfoliating scrub is especially good at treating shaving bumps face irritation. Apply it in a gentle circular motion - if you’re too aggressive, you risk further skin problems.
Add epsom salts to water, then mix it well and apply it to the area affected by razor rash. This opens up the pores and relieves irritation. It’s especially helpful on acne prone skin.
Coconut Oil and Honey
Coconut oil and honey soften the skin and the latter has antibacterial properties as well. Both can help get rid of men razor bumps that are itchy and irritating.
How to Use
- Mix 4 tbsps coconut oil with 1 tbsp honey and 2 tbsps brown sugar.
- Apply on shaving bumps and leave on for 10 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Oatmeal contains starches, phenols, and beta-glucan (a protective skin moisturizing agent). A paste of honey, yogurt, and oatmeal can help restore the skin’s natural protective layer and relieve irritation from mens razor bumps.
How to Use
- Mix 100 grams each oatmeal and yogurt and 1 tsp honey in a bowl.
- Apply the paste to the area affected by shaving bumps.
- Leave on for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water.
- Repeat twice a day.
How to Soothe Razor Burn
These remedies are used by many men to stop razor burn - they may work for you too.
Aloe vera soothes irritation while moisturizing and healing skin. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects which reduce inflammation and redness caused by razor rash.
How to Use
- Apply aloe vera gel to the affected area.
- Leave for 30 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Now you know how does razor burn happen - but the issue is how to heal it. Many guys rely on apple cider vinegar to do thanks to its soothing antiseptic properties. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid and citric acid - which is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Acetic acid may help with the nicks, cuts, and shave irritation while AHA’s may help unclog ingrown hairs.
How to Use
- Note: Do not use this remedy immediately after shaving as it could cause severe irritation.
- Mix equal parts water and apple cider vinegar.
- Apply the solution to your razor rash affected skin with a cotton ball.
Cucumber and Milk
Cucumbers are rich in vitamin C, good for your skin, and cooling - so they can stop razor burn. Proteins and fats in milk soothe the skin. So the combination of both can help repair skin tissue, boost collagen, and relieve itchiness and burning.
How to Use
- Peel and chop one cucumber.
- Combine 60 ml milk with cucumber in a blender.
- Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Apply to razor rash.
- Let dry for 10 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Strawberry and Sour Cream Mixture
Strawberries have anti-inflammatory properties and sour cream contains skin soothing fats. Together they can coat the skin to soothe irritation from razor bumps - though the specific effects of strawberries on the skin has not been researched extensively.
How to Use
- Make a paste of strawberries and sour cream.
- Apply it to the area affected by razor burns or bumps.
- Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with cool water.
Best Product for Razor Bumps
Razor bumps can be downright painful and embarrassing. It’s no wonder so many men want to know which is the best product to get rid of razor bumps. The truth is that it depends on your skin, the cause of the irritation, and other factors. That’s why we offer a variety of skin soothing products that can treat your razor burn, itchiness, and bumps.
Instant Relief Aftershave
This customer favorite is an excellent choice for guys who want a simple solution to their shaving bumps and burn. It’s made without any harsh chemicals or potentially harmful ingredients. Try our Instant Relief Men’s Aftershave to get rid of razor bumps caused by scratching or tugging while shaving. It feels great and will make your entire shave routine much more enjoyable.
Smooth Brushless Shave Cream
Our Smooth Brushless Shave Cream for men helps prevent razor burn, keeps skin hydrated, and decreases the chances you will cut or irritate your skin while shaving. It’s suitable for guys of any age, skin type, and hair type - including guys with sensitive skin and tight, curly hair. The formula is 99% natural - so no need to worry about damaging your skin with harmful ingredients.
Renewing Face Scrub
Use our Renewing Face Scrub for men to remove dead skin cells, oily buildup in pores, and other impurities from the skin. It contains powerful natural scrubbing particles including jojoba beads and pumice that exfoliate without over-drying or causing irritation and its formula is 98% natural.
Why Choose Brickell Men's Products?
There are lots of skincare companies out there - but only at Brickell Men’s Products do we use natural and organic ingredients in all of our skincare and shave products. They’re carefully designed for men’s skin and are an excellent way to get rid of razor bumps. You can try us free by ordering our Best Sellers Sample Kit.
Natural Ingredients for Razor Bumps
How to get rid of razor bumps is one of the most common skincare concerns men have. The natural ingredients in our skincare and shave products - like jojoba oil, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid - are excellent for soothing and hydrating the skin. They also help prevent common forms of shave irritation.
Made for Men
More than 1,000,000 men from over 100 countries use Brickell to keep their skin looking its best. Our products are tailored to the unique needs of men - including the all too common problem of shave irritation. If you want to get rid of razor bumps on face and neck, our products can help.
We love our products and are confident that they’re effective - but we’re biased. So we encourage you to read a review instead. Check out what skincare and grooming experts have said about Brickell and see why so many guys all around the world trust our expert-approved products to shave without razor bumps.
Shaving rash and razor bumps on neck are typically not severe. But if you notice serious signs of bumps and infection or irritation that gets steadily worse despite your efforts to treat it, check with your dermatologist.