Pseudofolliculitis barbae, more known to us brothas as, "razor bumps", arise on the faces of men with coarse, wiry, curly hair. Around fifty and eighty percent of Black men live with the issue of ingrown hairs and razor bumps, every day.
Razor bumps appear when beard hairs, more often around the neck area, curl as they grow and burrow into the skin adjacent to the hair follicle. Shaving sharpens the hair ends, making it easier for them to penetrate the skin.
Razor bumps itch, burn, can cause scarring, and make shaving virtually impossible. Many Black men have resorted to depilatory creams which seem to work a great deal better than blades. But, some depilatories, if not used correctly, may irritate the skin.
Some creams are able to help for some time, but sooner or later side effects for long term use catch up.
How Ingrown hairs begin
Both sexes suffer from ingrown hairs. But men tend to undergo the most because of the coarseness, or thickness of the hair follicles on the face and neck. Ingrown hairs build after the hair has been cut or otherwise removed below the skin surface. As your hair grows, it curls over inside the follicle and doesn't make it to the surface. The result is an unsightly, "bump" on the skin.
A few razor bumps moreover form when a growing hair exits the follicle and bends back towards the skin surface. When these sharp, shaved edges of coarse hair reach the skin surface, they burrow back into the skin producing puffy, pimple like bumps to appear.
Solving Ingrown Hairs
A good number of men have found that the only solution to the dilema is tweezers. Most of us know it isn't the best sensation, but african american men haven't found a better solution.
Below are 8 shaving tips that may help ease some of the pain and more importantly, save your face:
Using a shaving lotion after shaving should lessen the appearance of redness. This goes for the ladies too. You can use this technique for legs, bikini lines and underarms.
Be sure to always use a clean blade when shaving with a razor. This can be properly achieved by only using new blades and throwing away ones that have been previously used three or more times.
For those of you who use electric shavers, remember to replace the rotary blades or foil after a couple of months. Of course if you're required to shave daily, you may have to replace them sooner. This can be a headache since many rotary blade components are priced more than half of what the whole razor is worth.
While shaving with a handheld razor, always shave in the direction of hair growth. The majority of men's face hair slant downward, so be sure to shave in that direction. This is also critical around the neck areas since shaving against the grain is one of the main causes of pointy, sharp hairs that can burrow back into the skin.
Never stretch your skin while shaving. Pulling your cheeks, chin or neck while shaving in order to get a closer shave, may cause darkness and discoloration of underlying skin tissue. This is very true for light and fair-skinned Black men who have dark, coarse hair.
Watch what you eat. Many skin irritations may subside if certain foods are avoided. Fatty foods, foods containing oils, cholesterol and sodium, can make your skin more propense to damage when shaving.
Depilatories got the work done fast, but its not a dream come true. Like razors, it can leave you redness and some irritation. Remember never to use an alcohol based cream after using a depilatory. Unless you want to feel like your face is on fire.
Grow a beard. This may not be the right solution for those required to shave daily, such as the military and other business professions. But if you can handle this style, go for it! You will totally eliminate the razor bump worries and ingrown hair issues. Even better, you can get rid of those sharp blades!