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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What are razor bumps?

Razor bumps are basically ingrown hairs that have become red and/or infected, otherwise known as pseudofolliculitis barbae. An ingrown hair is where your (usually previously shaved) hair decides to navigate back down into the skin instead of coming out onto the surface. Because these hairs are coarse, they can wreak havoc on the tissue below.

They usually cause red, irritated bumps that resemble blemishes, but they are actually small irritations caused by the ingrown hairs. Once this sensitive tissue meets with a razor, small red bumps (razor bumps) follow. Although ingrown hairs cause inflammation and irritation, there is usually not a bacterial infection present as with true folliculitis. Pseudofolliculitis tends to happen more with curly-haired men, especially African-Americans.

The first course of treatment for ingrown hairs is exfoliation. By exfoliating the outer, dead skin layer, often the hair finds an easier path to the outside. When exfoliating, a gel-type, nonabrasive peel would be preferable to using a scrub. If a scrub is all you have at the moment, don’t get too aggressive with it or you can cause more irritation, but be on the lookout for a gentler, gel-type product.

Give exfoliation a try and see if it solves your ingrown hair problems. If you can, try not shaving so closely with your razor. This can help to alleviate some of the irritation. If nothing seems to work, another option—although maybe not for everyone—is to let your beard grow out.

If you’re having problems with skin irritations around your beard area that won’t go away, it could be true folliculitis. This is a bacterial infection (staphylococcus) in your hair follicles caused by any number of things, even contaminated washcloths. If you think you have folliculitis, you may want to consult your dermatologist, who can prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria present in your skin.

With the following articles, you should be able to start understanding the difference between folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis barbae:
For information about exfoliation, see:
Don't be confused. Keep reading to understand the difference between these two frustrating skin conditions.