Dealing With In-Grown Hair and Razor Burn? These Products Will Help
Much like short shorts and itsy-bitsy bikinis, razor burn inevitably makes a summer appearance each and every year. What gives? Believe it or not, the cause of those dreaded red bumps is much more simple than you might think — it all comes down to shaving more often. “Ingrown hairs AKA razor bumps are created when a hair that is shaved just below the skin surface starts to regrow in a direction other than the pore or hair follicle opening,” explains founder of Miami Skin Institute, S. Manjula Jegasothy M.D. “And when trapped under the skin, an ingrown hair starts becoming inflamed, creating a red bump, which often resembles a pimple.” Before you go trying to pop these pimple-esque bumps, read on. Unlike zits, ingrown hairs don’t contain fluid and therefore can’t be popped — not that you should even if it were possible. That’s a big no-no in the world of healthy skincare.
While factors such as the way you shave (always go in the direction of the hair growth, not against) and how much you exfoliate and moisturize (do both often… well-hydrated hair is less likely to cause ingrowns) come into play, there are still plenty of products out there to help. Here are dermatologist-approved Brit + Co picks for the ones that do it best.
1. HydroPeptide 5X Power Peel ($68): “When it comes to preventing razor bumps, the best thing you can do to prep your skin for shaving is to exfoliate. This removes dead skin cells to allow for a closer shave and promote healthy cell turnover,” says Amy McLain, master aesthetician and esthetics director of education at Kenneth’s Hair Salons & Day Spas. She relies on HydroPeptide’s daily resurfacing pads since they contain gentle acids (like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic) that exfoliate without over-drying. Plus, they’re individually packaged, making them great for when you’re on the go.
2. TendSkin Solution ($22) and Cortizone 10 Anti-Itch Creme ($6): If you have ingrown hairs already, by all means do not try to pull them out. “Not only will this create more inflammation, but it can cause them to become worse, persist longer, and perhaps even scar,” says Jegasothy. “Try treating them instead with a combination of TendSkin salicylic acid solution (which is also good to use while shaving) and Cortizone 10.” If the bumps are infected (possible signs are that they’re very painful or have greenish crusts or ooze), then Jegasothy recommends adding a topical antibiotic such as Polysporin.
3. ($75): After dealing with one too many razor burns, Rose Gold Safety RazorOui Shave founder Karen Young invented this smart razor designed specifically for women. It has one stainless steel blade instead of a combo of dull and sharp blades, which increase the likelihood for razor burn.
4. Oui Shave Neroli Shave Oil ($22): Another one of Young’s must-haves for fighting the good fight against bumps is a neroli oil. “The best way to deal with razor bumps is to use a soft washcloth soaked in warm water to soften the irritated area for 10 to 15 minutes, then use slow circular motions to gently exfoliate with a salt or sugar scrub, followed by an anti-bacterial oil to calm and soothe the skin while helping to prevent more irritation,” she says.
5. Topical Prescription: “If your symptoms last for more than 2 to 3 weeks, you should see a board-certified dermatologist for prescription topical antibiotics such as Clindamycin, Mupirocin, Biafine or even oral antibiotics if necessary,” says Jegasothy. After all, by that point you could be cured and back on the beach already.
Have you tried any of these products and had success? Tell us on Pinterest!
Brit + Co. may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.