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29 January 2009

Shaving bumps and razor rash

You know the feeling. You’ve just had a good close shave and you’re feeling smoother than Sean Connery. Then the itching, burning starts.

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You’ve just had a good close shave and you’re feeling smoother than Sean Connery. Then the itching starts and you know there’ll be red, inflamed patches on your boyish visage within hours.

It occurs because facial hair is slightly curly. As it grows it doubles back on itself, re-entering your face and causing a lump, maybe even an infection.

To prevent it:

  • Exfoliate before shaving, as long as your face isn’t inflamed. If it is, you should probably avoid shaving until it clears up;
  • Shave with the grain. If you stay unshaven for a few days you’ll see the grain of your beard, which may change, especially on your neckline, so look closely;
  • While you’re not shaving, check for any inflammation on the skin. You might have a secondary infection apart from the basic ingrown hair and shaving might spread that across your face;
  • Don’t shave too close. Pulling your face in all directions to make the hair erect in its follicle will give you a smooth face now, but you'll get razor bumps once the hairs retract into the follicle and start growing into the skin. Puff up your cheeks and shave.
  • Use tea tree oil to treat inflamed patches. Don’t pull ingrown hairs out, as they’ll just be ingrown again when they grow back. Rather use clean tweezers to pull the tip of the hair free, then use scissors to trim it close to the skin.

(William Smook, Health24, updated January 2009)

 
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