How to Prevent Red Bumps After Shaving

After shaving your face, armpits, legs or elsewhere, do you ever notice some red bumps? These razor bumps are caused by defective shaving products and tools or inappropriate methods. When hairs are shaved, they should grow outwards and away from the skin. But defective shaving can cause the hairs to curl and start growing back. This leads to razor bumps which are unsightly and painful. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 10 ways to help prevent red bumps after shaving.

How to Prevent Red Bumps After Shaving

1.     Moisturize the Hair

Take a shower before shaving and put a little more attention to the area you intend to shave. Scrub the area using soap and water. Even if you won’t shower, use warm water and soap to wash the area so as to remove bacteria and unclog pores. This also prepares your skin for a cleaner, closer shave, lowering your chances of getting red bumps.

2.     Exfoliate the Skin

Cleaning off dead skin cells (exfoliation) helps to make the area cleaner and get hairs aligned for closer shaving. You can do this while in the shower using warm water and shower gel. In case of sensitive skin, exfoliate one or two days before shaving. This will minimize the toll on your skin.

3.     Trim the Long Hairs

Before shaving, start by cutting off the long hairs to about half a centimeter. Use electric clippers or a pair of scissors, taking care not to cut your skin. Don’t worry about your trimmed hair's look; the aim is to make the hairs short enough for an easier shave.

4.     Use a Pre-Shave Oil

Another point in how to prevent red bumps after shaving is use of pre-shave oil. This gives extra protection to your skin. The oil also helps keep the hairs off the skin, making it less likely to curl back into the skin to cause irritation and bumps.

You can get pre-shave oils at most health food stores and some supermarkets. Silicone is a common ingredient in pre-shave oils.

5.     Apply Shaving Cream

Avoid dry shaving. Shaving cream helps the razor to slide easily and give you a cleaner shave. Apply the cream using a shaving brush, putting on more shaving cream every time you press the razor.

Get a high quality shaving cream containing moisturizer and lubricant. Good shaving creams contain glycerin, stearic acid, aqua, coconut acid, myristic acid, triethanolamine, potassium and sodium hydroxides. Keep away from shaving creams containing potential pore clogging ingredients such as menthol and benzocaine.

6.     Use a Sharp and Clean Razor

If you shave with a dirty or dull razor, you are more likely to have cuts and get bacteria into your skin. This will lead to infections, including bumps. Check your blade for sharpness and cleanliness. Use water to clean it and don’t use if it is rusted.

  • A clean razor with 3-5 blades gives better results.
  • Get longer service from your razor by cleaning it after use. Remove any trapped hair and dry it well to prevent rusting.
  • If you shave frequently, change your razor regularly.

7.     Shave Along the Grain

This is especially important in how to prevent red bumps after shaving. Shaving along the direction of your hairs' growth causes little disruption in the alignment of your hairs. This is different from shaving against the grain, which, though achieving a closer cut, disrupts alignment and sets the hairs up for ingrowing and bumps.   

  • Shave with light pressure and avoid repetitive strokes on one patch to prevent skin irritation.
  • Avoid stretching or pulling skin when shaving; otherwise, you might irritate the skin which can cause bumps.

8.     Clean Off the Shaving Cream

When you use warm water before shaving, it helps to open the pores so that hairs are more efficiently shaved. But once you’ve shaved, use cold water to clean off the shaving cream and close the pores. Alternatively, hold a wet, cold towel against your shaved skin for about five minutes. This will help close skin pores.

After cleaning off the shaving cream, use a soothing cleanser to remove bacteria and dead skin cells left behind after shaving. Choose products containing witch hazel and tea tree oil which have healing and antiseptic properties.

9.     Keep the Area Moisturized

Pat the area dry using a dry towel; then put on unscented lotion, baby oil or aloe vera. This keeps the skin soft and smooth.

  • Go for unscented, alcohol-free lotions and creams which will not irritate skin. For sensitive skin, pick a dermatologist-certified lotion or cream.
  • Aftershave lotions and creams are not advised for areas other than the face. Aftershave lotion or cream helps keep your face moisturized and prevent infection. This is, however, not true for other parts of the body.

10.     Keep Shaved Area Clean and Dry

The last tip about how to prevent red bumps after shaving is keeping the shaved area clean and dry. Kick out any tight clothes and instead, go for loose clothes. Change your workout attire soon after exercising. These practices will ensure that the area gets more air and is not irritated.

After shaving your facial hair, avoid scarves or keep them loose. The same goes for hats. Tight scarves and hats may irritate the skin and lead to bumps.

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