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6 razor bump prevention tips from dermatologists

6 razor bump prevention tips from dermatologists

Anyone can get painful, itchy razor bumps. Follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists to prevent razor bumps.

If you’ve ever shaved, you probably know how razor bumps feel. Also called shaving bumps, 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. To prevent razor bumps, follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists:

  • Grow your hair. Shaving causes razor bumps. If you have the option, stopping shaving and growing out your hair, instead, 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, pull the skin where your hair grows tightly 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. Before shaving, wash your skin with a non-comedogenic cleanser. While shaving, always use a moisturizing shaving cream. Once you’re done shaving, apply a soothing aftershave formulated to reduce 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 when left untreated, like deep grooves and raised scars. If you still get razor bumps after changing your shaving habits, see a board-certified dermatologist to get relief.

Written by:
Brooke Schleehauf

Reviewed by:
William Warren Kwan, MD, FAAD
Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, FAAD
Bassel Hamdy Mahmoud, MD, PhD, FAAD
Omolara Olowoyeye, MD, FAAD
Sanna Ronkainen, MD, FAAD

Last updated: 10/3/22