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12 August 2003

Razor bumps

If you get tender red, pimple-like bumps on your face after a shave, then you might be suffering from pseudofolliculitis barbae, commonly known as razor bumps.

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If you get tender red, pimple-like bumps on your face after a shave, then you might be suffering from pseudofolliculitis barbae, commonly known as razor bumps. This painful condition occurs when the stiff beard hair penetrates the skin before leaving the follicle. It can also occur when the hair leaves the follicle, curves and re-enters nearby skin (just like an ingrown hair).

Razor bumps are more a foreign body reaction than an infection. They are most common among men of Mediterranean descent and men with dark skin.

What to do:

  • Always use a clean, sharp blade.
  • Shave daily as this can reduce the re-entrance of hairs that causes razor bumps.
  • Make sure to prep properly before shaving by hydrating and softening your beard with warm water for about three minutes.
  • Shave gently – the razor should be sharp enough to do all the work. All you do is direct it.
  • A combination of an antibacterial and a cortisone cream usually does the trick (for example Neoderm®).
  • If the above doesn’t work, ask your doctor for something like Neo-Medrol® acne lotion (it will work, but it doesn’t smell so good) or have him mix something like Fucidin® and a light steroid cream.
  • Cleanse your face with an antibacterial soap to prevent infection.
  • If they’re not too severe, you can gently shave over the razor bumps to release the ingrown hairs.
  • If you are prone to thickened scars (often the result of razor bumps), seek the advice of a dermatologist.
  • Of course the only definitive cure is to grow a beard!
 
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