How to avoid razor bumps and ingrown hairs

Any man with a beard will know all about the problems associated with razor bumps and ingrown hairs. We got an expert to tell us how you can take more care when shaving to prevent these uncomfortable occurrences

For many men, razor bumps and ingrown hairs are the bane of their existence, but with some extra care during your shaving routine there are ways to ease the discomfort.

We asked Adrienne Cohen, co-founder of skincare brand FINO Cosmetics, for advice on how to prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs from occurring.

Before we get to the advice part, it’s important to first understand what causes these skin problems.

“Razor bumps and ingrown hairs are two different things,” Cohen explains. “Ingrown hairs often occur when a man shaves too close and the hair is cut off a hundredth of a millimetre below the skin’s surface. The hair follicle then closes up from the debris in the atmosphere and when the hair starts to grow out again, it’s pushed in because there’s no opening – that’s when an ingrown hair occurs.”

READ MORE: Four of the best razors on the market

“On the other hand, a razor bump is when a hair emerges from the follicle and, because it’s a curly hair, is cut at an angle. The sharp end of the hair remaining pierces the skin next to the hair follicle and starts growing underneath – this is what causes a bump. This actually has a medical name: pseudofolliculitis barbae, or PSB for short.”

Cohen offers a few tips on the steps you can take to prevent these uncomfortable occurrences.

Don’t shave too closely

“The closer you shave and the more pressure you apply, the more likely you are to get bumps and ingrown hairs,” she says.

Don’t shave dry skin 

The best time to shave is just after you’ve come out of the shower or bath, because this is when your facial hair is at its softest, the pores have opened up and the skin isn’t completely dry.

“You need to make sure you’re shaving with a clean, sharp blade,” Cohen explains. “A blunt blade and shaving dry skin often causes you to apply a lot more pressure than you usually would,which could lead to razor burn.”

READ MORE: Why an aftershave is essential

Shave in the direction that the hair grows in

“Many men make the mistake of shaving in the opposite direction that the beard grows in, in an effort to get a closer shave – but this leaves the skin vulnerable and prone to bumps and ingrown hairs,” Cohen says. “Admittedly, it might be difficult to shave the neck area in the direction that the hair grows in because they often grow in many different directions, but it’s about being sensitive and conscious when shaving that area.”

Invest in the whole shaving process 

Cohen advises men to take their shaving routine more seriously by investing in a shaving kit.

“Using a shaving brush, for example, helps to lift the hairs that might be stuck in the hair follicle. The shaving process shouldn’t be something a man seeks to do quickly, but one he focuses on doing with care.”

Follow this link to find out how to build a complete shaving kit.

Here are some of our favourite grooming products to help with razor burn and bumps: 

 Lab Series Razor Burn Relief Ultra (100ml, R325)

FINO Bump Control (100ml, R63,95)

Vaseline Men Moisturiser Anti Bump (50ml, R79,95)