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All about Razor Bumps

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Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae) can further be divided into two types of ingrown hairs transfollicular and extrafollicular. The extrafollicular hair is a hair that has exited the follicle and reentered the skin. The transfollicular hair never exits the follicle, but because of its naturally curly nature curls back into the follicle causing fluid build-up and irritation. It is important to treat razor bumps to avoid infection turning it into pus filled pustule. Also when the pustules will heal they will leave behind mark or dark spot.

Plz Note: Usually ‘razor bumps’ are confused with ‘razor burns’. Razor burn is a temporary skin irritation caused by shaving. When shaving goes wrong, the skin is likely to develop form itching, redness with burning hot sensation that makes putting on clothes just torturous. When a razor is pulled too fast or pushed too hard against skin that is not used to such force razor burns develop.


Razor bumps are caused by a crisply shaven hair that has been trimmed at a point, therefore rendering it all the more “sharp,” that twists back against the skin, entering the skin and bringing about the body to respond by treating it like a contamination creating difficult swelling and the obvious red bumps.

Other contributory factors:

  • Shaving against the grain. That is shaving against the direction of your hair growth. This practice gives you a smoother shave but it is absolutely disastrous for your skin.
  • Dry shaving that is without wetting the area to be shaved or using a shaving cream/gel/foam.  
  • Naturally curly hair increases the chances of developing razor bumps.
  • Wrong shaving practices.
  • Using wrong aftershaves: this will trigger your skin to produce more sebum increasing the chances of clogged pores with ingrown hairs. (It is best to avoid fragrance, colourants, menthols, alcohols. Use an oil-free, light weight moisturiser instead.)


  1. Do it yourself treatment-
  • Exfoliate: well as for razor bumps; what you’re really dealing with is a cluster of ingrown hairs and hence what you’ve got to do is remove that layer of skin on top to unclog the hairs. You can use cleansers containing salicylic and glycolic acid. 
  • Home remedies to clean pores making them appear smaller. You can also read our NATURAL EFFECTIVE HOME REMEDIES below to Combat Razor Bumps.

     2. By a dermatologist-

  • Glycolic acid based peels: these peels are highly effective and well-tolerated by the skin. The mechanism of action of glycolic acid is unknown, but it is hypothesized that straighter hair growth is caused by the reduction of sulfhydryl bonds in the hair shaft by glycolic acid, which results in reduced re-entry of the hair shaft into the follicular wall or epidermis.
  • Topical treatments such as tretinoin cream or lotions containing glycolic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid that helps improve the skin’s overall texture and reduce fine lines) may help the skin cells slough off faster.
  • Prescription strength hydrocortisone creams can help reduce redness and inflammation. Doctors may also prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to help clear any secondary infections that may have developed in the hair follicle.

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Click to Read: ESSENTIAL DO’s & DON’Ts of SHAVING


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  1. Hot Compress: This is one the simplest methods to get rid of razor bumps. Take a hot compress by soaking cotton wool in hot water and pressing it gently against your skin. The heat opens up your pores, allowing the trapped hair to become free. Now mix some brown sugar with coconut/almond (if not prone to acne) or jajoba/argan (if prone to acne) oil. Apply this on the affected area and gently massage in circular motion. Then finally rinse off with lukewarm water.
  2. Honey and Vinegar Splash: Known for its antibacterial properties, honey also helps to treat razor bumps. Apple cider vinegar reduces inflammation and cools the skin. Preparation and Application- Lightly cover the affected area with a layer of honey. Rinse off with cold water after about five minutes and pat your skin dry. Then take apple cider vinegar and dilute it (2 portions of apple cider vinegar :1 portion of water) with water. Splash this onto the affected area, and allow it to air dry. Razor bumps should subside shortly after this treatment.
  3. Oatmeal, Milk and Brown Sugar Scrub: Gentle scrubbing combined with skin soothing are the two things that are required to get rid of razor bumps. Milk and oatmeal have cooling, soothing and calming properties. Brown sugar provides the mild scrubbing particles. Preparation and Application- Take 2 tablespoon oatmeal, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cold milk. Mix to form a thick paste, make sure the sugar granules melt slightly and get smooth. Apply this over the affected area, massage this in circular motion using your fingers, keep it on for 5 mins. then wash off with lukewarm water.
*Disclaimer : Result may vary from person to person.