Razor bumps, also called pseudofolliculitis barbae, are small, irritated bumps on the skin. They develop after shaving, when strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin. Razor bumps cause irritation and the development of pimples. They also may cause scarring. How are razor bumps treated? To treat razor bumps, use a clean needle to release the embedded hair shaft. If possible, stop shaving. This usually stops razor bumps from developing, depending on the severity. But when shaving is restarted, razor bumps typically return. Do shaving alternatives stop the development of razor bumps? Razor bumps will generally go away if shaving is stopped. Hair removal products (depilatories) can be used instead of shaving. But these products can irritate the skin and should be used only once or twice a week. Laser treatment may be an option. Laser treatment destroys the hair follicle and reduces the number of bumps that form. A recent study found that after 90 days, the average number of skin bumps in the treated sites was significantly lower compared with untreated sites, although some hair may regrow and return to normal thickness after 6 to 12 months.1 Can razor bumps be prevented? Following these shaving instructions can help prevent razor bumps from forming: * Take a hot shower before shaving, to soften the hair and open the pores. * Use a thick shaving gel. * Don't stretch the skin when shaving, and always shave in the direction your beard grows. Use the fewest razor strokes possible. Rinse with cold water. * Use an electric razor if it can be adjusted to a higher setting. * Use a moisturizing lotion after shaving. Who is at risk for razor bumps? Razor bumps are common among African-Americans and people with tightly coiled hair. Razor bumps tend to be more of a problem for men than women, because many men shave daily.
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