When I first met my husband 15 years ago, he struggled with horrible razor bumps. He was constantly scratching and in the mirror trying to “unhook” the ingrown hairs for some relief. He used to beg me to get the tweezers and do a “search and seize” for the most painful ingrown hairs. This was before I studied to be an esthetician and didn’t know any better. 😉
What is Folliculitis?
Pseudofolliculits barbae also known as ‘razor bumps’ is common among African-american men and women. It can actually look like acne but it’s not. African-americans tend to have coarse and curved facial and body hair that has the tendency to bend back into the skin and form an ingrown hair.
When this happens the hair gets trapped in the skin and become inflamed causing soreness, redness, itching and swelling. Pimple-like lesions can form around areas like the beard or other shaving or waxing areas.
As you can imagine folliculitis can be very uncomfortable and it will persist as long as you continue to shave, tweeze or wax. The condition would eventually correct itself if the hair were grown out. But we know this is not always practical. My husband, for instance, works in an environment where they are not allowed to have beards because respirators (facial masks) must be worn in some areas.
So what to do…what to do??
Here are a few things tips to help prevent the razor bumps from forming:
When shaving, you should shave in the direction of the hair growth with a single-edge disposable blade like Bic for sensitive skin.
Don’t go over the area repeatedly to get a close shave. Use the blade no more than twice then throw it away.
Use fragrance-free shaving creams or mild shaving soaps. There are some gels that contain benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids that can be effective when used with the single-edge disposable razor.
If you are using an electric razor, traditional barber’s trimmers are most effective because they give a closer, more precise shave. Just like they do in the barbershop you need to disinfect the blades with a professional disinfectant spray before and after each use.
Once again, avoid the urge to pick or dislodge the ingrown hairs as this can introduce bacteria into the skin
Avoid using the rotary shavers that manipulate the hairs at too many different angles. This can make the problem worse. Don’t stretch the skin to get a closer shave because when the skin bounces back hair will be trapped below the skin.
The use of chemical hair removers should be minimized because it can cause hyperpigmentation and irritation.
Tasha Nelson is a registered nurse and licensed esthetician who has suffered with acne and hyperpigmentation since the age of 12. She wants other acne sufferers to understand that even though acne is not curable that it is definitely controllable with the right regimen and lifestyle changes. Clear and radiant skin does not have to be a dream, it can be your reality!
If you found this article helpful or have questions, leave a comment below..Thanks!