"Razor bumps" are medically known to the dermatologist as a condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae. The condition is most common in men with tightly curled hair, but can occur in any gender or race.
In simple terms, razor bumps occur after shaving with a very close cut, because the hair curls back, preventing its re-exit through the skin. This causes the bump which later becomes inflamed and even potentially infected.
Treatment of this condition is multifaceted with the first step being prevention. Most men do not receive an education on how to prevent the razor bumps via shaving techniques. The easiest method is to discontinue shaving altogether; however this is not an acceptable option for many men. Even after cessation of shaving it still may take a month or so for all the lesions to resolve. Self treatment involves patient education on the correct method of shaving. The idea of a 'close shave' needs to be completely abandoned in this population. A sharp single bladed razor is the best to use. I highly dissuade patients who suffer from razor bumps from using triple or quadruple blade razor systems. The closer the shave, the worse the razor bumps will be. Shaving in the direction of the hair growth will also help keep the hair slightly longer, and thus prevent the ingrown hair and the subsequent razor bump. An electric razor or clippers is also a good option for some men, as well as the option of laser hair removal.
Self treating this condition by using the above shaving techniques along with an over the counter anticomedoneal and anti-inflammatory agent will also help. These agents include salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxides. Despite these precautions, many will still suffer from this condition, and possible the scars from the old lesions. A dermatologist should be consulted if there are bumps filled with pus or the lesions are producing scars. In that case, the dermatologist will usually prescribe an antibiotic and a topical retinoid.
About Dr. Kaufman
Joely Kaufman. M.D. is a board certified dermatologist and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She has received recognition for her research on scarring, and is an active researcher and lecturer in the areas of cosmetic dermatology and cosmeceuticals. Dr. Kaufman graduated with honors from the University Of Miami School Of Medicine, where she is an active lecturer. She has been published in several dermatology journals including the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
She is involved in product development, testing and research at MenScience. Her expertise and advice helps create the most advanced skincare products for men, with the highest levels of efficacy and results.
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