Check Up: Trying to get rid of ugly shaving bumps

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June 18, 2018

Dear Readers,

Robert is a 33-year-old man who is concerned about the ugly shaving bumps on his chin that make shaving difficult. He has to shave several times a week to keep his jaw clean of hair, but it's not looking pretty. Robert asks for some suggestions to keep his jaw line bump free.

Razor bumps, or shaving bumps as Robert calls them, are small bumps which form over an area that has been shaved. They affect around 60 per cent of black men at some point in time, and this is because most black men have curly hair, which, after shaving, will at times turn back over on themselves and grow into the skin. This causes irritation and pimples, and if left untreated can even result in scarring of the facial skin.

A good shaving technique is very important to prevent these ingrown hairs from forming on the jaw.

This involves the following: a clean razor with a newish razor blade (dedicated to shaving the face only). After one week of usage the blade should be changed; thick shaving cream or lubricating gel; warm water; and moisturising cream.

It is best to shave immediately after taking a warm shower when the warmth will help open the skin pores and soften the facial hair. This makes the hair easier to remove. If you have a problem with facial hair bumps, you must smooth shaving oil over the face before applying the shaving gel or cream. The oil decreases the irritation caused by the razor.

Most men will use upward strokes and shave against the direction of hair growth as this gives a closer shave, but this also increases the chances of ingrown hairs. It may take more time but shaving in the direction of hair growth, downward strokes, minimises nicks and ingrown hairs. Also, don't pull on your facial skin as you shave as this increases the chances of developing ingrown hair roots. Try to use as few strokes as possible to remover the hair from each section of skin. Rinse the blade/razor blade in hot water after each stroke and rinse your face with cool water after shaving is completed. Finally, apply a moisturising cream.

This may seem like a lot of bother but becomes an easy trade-off for a handsome face clear of bumps.

An alternative is to use an electric shaver which may not give as close a shave, but its use causes less hair bumps.

Once hair bumps are already present it's best to decrease the frequency of shaving or even stop for a while as this usually stops the hair bumps from growing. You can also use a clean needle and release the hair shaft when you see a hair bump forming. Release the hair; do not pull it out, as this to prevent the next hair growing from also being ingrown. For well-established hair bumps you may also need to apply medicated creams to the skin area such as hydrocortisone cream and over the counter topical antibiotics. Skin products which contain salicylic acid will also help remove the hair bumps through getting rid of superficial skin cells.

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