It’s summertime and the living’s easy — unless you’re dealing with those infuriating razor bumps that seem to only pop up when you have something really important to do. Nothing is so seasonally frustrating as getting ready for a pool party only to be plagued by a patch of angry, red, irritated bumps that feel as bad as they look. The thing about removing razor bumps is they fall into two distinct camps, and that determines how they’re treated. For the complete lowdown on how to get rid of razor bumps fast (of all types), TZR turned to the medical professionals for their expert-approved insight, tips, and tricks.
Before you start treating your skin, know that the terms razor bumps and ingrown hairs are often used interchangeably. “When someone says they have razor bumps, it means they have an ingrown hair,” explains Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, dermatologist and director of the University of Miami Department of Dermatology’s Skin of the Color Division. An ingrown hair is more common in people that have curly hair, or areas where curly hair grows like the underarms and bikini area.
According to Dr.DiAnne Davis, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Houston’s Westlake Dermatology, those ingrown hairs are caused by close-to-the-skin hair removal methods like shaving. “The close shaving of hair causes the hair to penetrate the wall of the follicle and extend into the dermis as it grows back or to curve back on itself and pierce the skin,” she explains. Often forming pimple-like pustules, they must be treated carefully to avoid infection.
Razor irritation, or razor burn, is another skin problem you might have experienced. “The other type of razor bump is more like an irritation and they are little red dots that occur usually immediately after shaving, and some people call that a razor burn,” Dr. Woolery-Lloyd notes. Razor irritations are treated a little differently because it's more like the skin is just irritated, she adds.
Regardless of if you’re trying to get rid of razor burn or treat ingrown hairs fast, these top-rated product picks will help you get poolside ready in a hurry.
Scroll on for the best razor bump removal products out there, complete with further insight from the doctors.
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How To Treat Razor Irritation: Use An Anti-Inflammatory
How To Avoid Razor Irritation: Use An Electric Razor & Shaving Cream
How To Avoid Ingrown Hairs: Laser Hair Removal
If you want to say goodbye to ingrown hairs long-term, laser hair removal is the most permanent solution. “Over time, these treatments reduce the number of hairs growing out of the follicle,” Dr. Davis explains. “After a series of treatments you enter into maintenance mode where you can usually keep the hair completely gone, as long as you keep up with maintenance treatments two to three times a year.” Laser hair removal is going to decrease the number of hairs, while also shrinking the hair follicle in diameter. Therefore, the diameter of the hair becomes thinner, finer, and less coarse, she says. “And when the hair is thinner, finer, and less coarse, it tends not to curve back on itself and cause the irritation that can lead to the razor bump.”
How To Treat Ingrown Hairs: Use Hydrocortisone
How To Banish Ingrown Hairs: Gentle Exfoliant
How To Banish Ingrown Hairs: Use Clean Razors
How To Banish Ingrown Hairs: Shave In The Direction The Hair Grows
An easy way to avoid ingrown hairs is by shaving in the direction the hair grows. "A lot of times for the underarms we might think to shave in an upward fashion, but for someone who gets a lot of ingrown hairs in their underarm region I would say shave in a downward motion," Dr. Davis suggests. "The bikini area can be a little tricky because sometimes the hairs grow in several different directions, but you want to be very gentle. You don't want to pull the skin tight to help with the shaving, because that can sometimes be traumatic to the skin and lead to ingrown hairs or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation."
How To Banish Ingrown Hairs: Don't Pluck
Whatever you do, don't pluck. Dr. Woolery-Llyod says plucking the hairs will make the problem worse, so hide the tweezers when it comes to ingrown hairs.
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