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How to prevent razor bumps

Tips from board-certified dermatologists

ROSEMONT, Ill. (October 4, 2022) — There are many ways to get rid of unwanted facial and body hair, but shaving with a razor is one of the most common and inexpensive methods. Unfortunately, using a razor sometimes can lead to razor bumps, also called shaving bumps. Board-certified dermatologists share simple tips that can help treat this skin condition.

“If you’ve ever shaved, you probably know how razor bumps feel,” says board-certified dermatologist Cameron K. Rokhsar MD, FAAD, who is in private practice in New York. “These painful or itchy bumps are caused when shaving irritates the skin. The good news is that changing your habits when shaving can help prevent razor bumps from developing or cause fewer, less painful bumps.”

Anyone can get razor bumps on their skin. To prevent razor bumps, Dr. Rokhsar recommends following these tips.

  • Grow your hair. If you have the option, stop shaving and grow out your hair, which will eliminate the cause of your razor bumps.

  • Figure out the direction your hair grows. Shaving “against the grain” causes irritation. To find out which direction your facial hair grows, tightly pull the skin where your hair grows while looking in a mirror. If your hair grows in different directions, you can train it to grow in one direction by gently brushing your hair with a toothbrush daily.

  • Shave when your hair is soft. Shaving at the end of your shower or holding a warm, damp washcloth to the area you’d like to shave loosens the hairs and causes them to swell, so they’re less likely to curve into your skin and cause bumps.

  • Use the right products. Wash your skin before shaving with a cleanser that will not clog pores. While shaving, always use a moisturizing shaving cream. Once you’re done shaving, apply a soothing aftershave formulated to reduce the risk of razor bumps and irritation.

  • Use proper technique when shaving to reduce bumps. Shave in the direction your hair grows or you’re training it to grow. Then, rinse the shaving cream off with warm water and place a cool, damp washcloth on your just-shaved skin. Replace your disposable razor after 5-7 shaves and store it in a dry place. If you use an electric razor, clean it every 5-7 shaves.

  • Shave more often. Shaving daily, or at least every 2-3 days, gives hair less time to grow and curve.

“Razor bumps can create permanent changes to your skin when left untreated, like deep grooves and raised scars,” said Dr. Rokhsar. “If you still get razor bumps after changing your shaving habits, see a board-certified dermatologist to get relief.”

These tips are demonstrated in “6 razor bump prevention tips from dermatologists,” a video posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel. This video is part of the AAD’s “Video of the Month” series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails.

To find a board-certified dermatologist in your area, visit aad.org/findaderm.

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Angela Panateri, apanateri@aad.org

Rhys Saunders, rsaunders@aad.org

Media Relations, mediarelations@aad.org

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About the AAD

Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 20,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), Instagram (@AADskin1), or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).

Editor’s note: The AAD does not promote or endorse any products or services. This content is intended as editorial content and should not be embedded with any paid, sponsored or advertorial content as it could be perceived as an AAD endorsement.