Razor Bumps: Causes and Prevention

Razor Bumps: Causes and Prevention

By Daniel Broadley

Razor Bumps: Causes and Prevention

Razor bumps happen all the time. You shave your face, and things are fine for a day or two. Suddenly, little irritated bumps start popping up all over your cheeks, neck, and chin. They’re difficult to deal with and can be frustrating, especially if you get them often.

Razor bumps cannot be completely avoided for some men, but they can definitely be minimized with better shaving practices. If you want a baby smooth face without any red polka dots, it’s time to rethink the products you’re using and the way you approach your shaving routine. 

What is a Razor Bump?

A razor bump is an ingrown hair. It isn’t a pimple, and it isn’t necessarily the same as irritation caused by shaving. Razor bumps can happen to men and women on any part of their body that they shave. 

Rather than continuing to grow through the skin, the hair is obstructed or grows improperly. It will fold, bend, or curve back into the skin. The hair grows into the skin, rather than out of the skin. This creates a bump on the outside. This kind of growth is inherently damaging to your skin, and your body’s response attempts to purge the hair.

Sometimes, this works. The swelling pushes the hair back out or makes it visible enough for the hair to be plucked directly from the follicle. Sometimes the hair gets stuck and becomes infected, which is a trickier situation to remedy.

What Causes Razor Bumps?

Razor bumps can naturally occur in people with curly beards. The spiral in your beard hairs continues to wind as the hair grows out from the skin. When you shave, the hair continues to grow from beneath the skin in that spiral shape. It may wind into your skin rather than out of your skin.

Sometimes, razor bumps are caused by improper shaving techniques or poor skincare. Shaving incorrectly or allowing dead cells to accumulate on your face makes it harder for a hair to find its way back out as it continues to grow. 

How Are Razor Bumps Different From Razor Burn?

Razor burn is a rash or reaction caused by skin irritation. You can have razor bumps and razor burn at the same time, but they aren’t the same thing. Many of the things you do to prevent ingrown hairs can also help to prevent razor burn. 

Proper shaving techniques and superior shave products can help to protect and nourish your skin throughout the shaving process, reducing the risk for both conditions. 

Preventing Razor Bumps

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It’s protecting you from the outside world. It gets dirty, it sheds cells quickly, and it’s sensitive to environmental factors. 

Everyone should be protecting and caring for their skin the same way they’d protect and care for any other part of their body. Tending to your skin properly, both before and after shaving, can reduce the potential for everything from razor bumps to sunburn to acne. 

Taking Better Care of Your Skin

Your skin needs a few fundamental things. It needs to be kept clean, moisturized, and protected from the skin. Dirt, dead skin, dry patches, and sun damage can negatively impact the health of your skin. If your skin isn’t healthy, a lot of things can go wrong. Razor bumps are only the tip of the iceberg. 

Most men don’t realize how often they should exfoliate their skin. If you ever see flakes in your beard or your eyebrows, that’s a sign that you’ve got a wealth of dead cells building up on the outside of your skin. These cells need to be removed to expose the healthy, fresh skin underneath. If you leave them there, they can obstruct hair on its way out and lead to razor bumps.

Keeping your skin clean and managing breakouts can also help to prevent razor bumps. Germs on your skin can lead to bumps worsening, more pimples, and swelling that makes it harder for hairs to emerge.

Sun protection is also important, and it isn’t only important if you work outside. If you’ve ever had sunburn, you know the way it causes your skin to peel. The sun toasts the top layer of your skin, killing it off and leaving the dead cells behind. 

Using a moisturizer with SPF serves two very important purposes. Of course it provides your skin with the moisture it needs to stay healthy, but it does so while protecting your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. 

Using the Right Shaving Products

You don’t want your razor to hit any snags across your face. You want every hair to be cut evenly. You also want your skin to be protected from the friction of the blades. Using a highly moisturizing shaving cream that’s suitable for sensitive skin is always a good idea. It’s even better if you use hot lather.

LTHR was founded by master barbers. We understand what makes a barbershop shave so much better than a traditional home shave, and we have the tools to help you achieve the same quality of shave at home.

Our shaving cream is formulated with things like coconut oil and glycerin to protect and moisturize your skin while softening your beard. The compact countertop hot lather machine dispenses the cream warm, allowing it to keep your hairs soft and tame as you shave. This makes for a better cut while reducing the potential for skin irritation.

Shaving With the Grain

Shaving against the grain might give you a cleaner shave, but it’s often not worth the tradeoff of irritated skin, potential razor burn, and potential razor bumps. Shaving with the grain may not cut the hair slightly below the surface of the skin, but that’s the whole point. 

If you shave with the grain, it’s easier to leave the tiniest amount of your hair right at skin level. This can reduce the potential for ingrowns. 

The Takeaway

There is no surefire way to prevent razor bumps 100% of the time. Occasionally, curly beard hair will struggle to find its way through the surface of your skin. You can’t banish razor bumps to the dark ages, but you can change the way you take care of your face. 

If you keep your skin healthy and make it easier for hairs to emerge, the chances are much better than everything will stay business as usual with your beard.

LTHR’s products are designed to make shaving and skin care easy. You’ll want to take the time to groom and pamper yourself the way you deserve when you can give yourself the relaxing barbershop experience from your own bathroom. Treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. 


Razor Bumps | University of Michigan

How to safely exfoliate at home | American Academy of Dermatology

Sunscreen: How to Help Protect Your Skin from the Sun | FDA