Painful inflammation after shaving? Which helps prevent and get rid of razor bumps caused by ingrown hairs
If you are going to shave, then it is best to keep it really smooth so that no stubble can be felt and ideally no shadows are visible. Unfortunately, the supposedly beauty-promoting measure can also backfire. The result is often painful, bright red nodules that make you look like you’re in the middle of puberty again.
However, the pustules are not pimples, but ingrown hairs. And you are not alone with the skin problem. “Ingrown hairs are extremely common, especially among men who have to shave their heads every day for work,” says Dr. Bruce A. Brod, dermatologist and professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Sometimes dermatologists even have to issue certificates so that men have an excuse for their employer not to shave every day.” So that shaving doesn’t stress you and your skin so much, we’ll tell you what the causes of ingrown hair are, how you can prevent razor bumps and how you can get rid of the nasty inflammation. But before we start: Do you actually shave dry or wet? And are you sure that your method is really the right one for your skin? You can read here which shaving method suits your skin type.
How do ingrown beard hairs occur?
When you shave, the hair that grows back has a wider edge from the cut. As a result, it can no longer easily penetrate through the channel provided in the skin and in some cases gets stuck. The result: “Because the hair continues to grow, it makes a U-turn – it grows backwards into the skin,” says Dr. bread The expert goes on to explain: “Just like with a splinter, the body now sees the hair as an intruder and sends more white blood cells to the affected area.” This leads to a pimple-like inflammation that itches and hurts. And while we’re on the subject: These 4 nasty infections threaten shaving.
Another cause of ingrown facial hair can be dead skin cells that are clogging the hair follicles. As a result, the hair inside cannot escape and also gets stuck – with the same consequences.
I shave properly. So why do I keep getting ingrown hairs?
Is your beard very frizzy? Then that could be the reason for ingrown hairs. Curly hair does not grow straight out of the pore, but sideways under the skin. The razor can also be to blame, especially if it has more than 3 blades. “Razors with multiple blades often clip the hair slightly below the skin’s surface. This ensures a smoother and longer-lasting result, but also increases the chance that the hair will grow in,” explains the expert. By the way: Ingrown hairs usually appear under the chin and on the larynx. The reason: “Men tend to stretch the skin there when they shave in order to catch the hair better, but this also means that they are cut off even shorter.” However, ingrown hairs can appear anywhere on your body you shave, including below the waistline. You can find more here Hair removal tips for men.
How can I prevent ingrown hairs?
If you tend to have ingrown hairs, you don’t have to grow a beard. Even small adjustments to your shaving routine can help prevent ingrown hairs. Here’s how to do it:
- It is best to use a special razor for sensitive skin – for example this one Gillette SkinGuard razor. It has a special protective bar, which means that the blades do not come into direct contact with the skin: The hair is cut just above the skin surface and you are spared ingrown hairs. Also a safety razor with only one blade like this noble example from Mühle can be beneficial for your skin.
- Before shaving, soften the beard hairs with a warm washcloth for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use an extra-smooth shaving gel. We recommend that Nivea Men Sensitive Shaving Gel.
- Shave the hair in the direction of growth. When you shave your hair against the grain, you’re trimming the hairs under the skin, which, you know, encourages ingrown hairs.
- If you notice skin irritation after shaving and worry about ingrown hairs, massaging your chin and cheeks for 5 minutes before bed can help. Preferably in circular movements with a warm washcloth.
- Then wash the skin with an anti-inflammatory tonic like this one particularly well-tolerated toner from Garnier disinfect. Guaranteed not to burn.
- Apply after shave lotion after shaving. For example ours Weleda’s editorial favourite.
- Use a gentle facial peeling once or twice a week. Our favorite is this Face Scrub Basil by Le Labo, which smells great of basil and is very well tolerated. The contained peeling particles remove dead skin cells and the whiskers cannot grow in so quickly.
- And always remember, the blades must not be old and dirty. You can read what that means in plain language here: That’s how often you should change razor blades.
The hair is already ingrown: what can I do?
Apply a warm compress to open pores. This can help free the hair. brings nothing? Special creams for ingrown hairs can help straighten the hair and remove dead skin cells. However, these anti-ingrown hair care products need to be used over a long period of time to be effective. Facial tonics with salicylic acid can also help remove dead skin cells and relieve inflammation. As soon as the area hurts badly, a serious inflammation or even a boil is imminent, the answer is: hands off and go to the doctor quickly!
If nothing helps: better to see a dermatologist than press it yourself
“Pushing around ingrown hairs or using tweezers to pry the hairs out of the skin on your own not only hurts badly, it can make things worse,” warns Dr. bread “Because the skin barrier is injured, bacteria can get in and cause a nasty inflammation – it’s not uncommon for permanent scars to remain.” When scars or dark spots form from formerly ingrown hairs, products containing retinol can help even out the skin. The doctor can prescribe stronger and therefore more effective preparations. Tips against acne scars you can find here.
What can the dermatologist do about ingrown hairs?
“The dermatologist can make a small cut in the skin with a needle or a scalpel to free the ingrown hairs,” explains the expert. In more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe cortisone cream or even oral antibiotics to reduce inflammation.
You don’t have to let a beard grow straight away: If possible, don’t shave too often, preferably in the direction of growth and only with products that have been specially developed for sensitive skin.