Razor bumps can affect any race or gender, but the condition is most prevalent in those of African American descent. If you are suffering with razor bumps, there are creams available that can help heal the burn. Applying a cream prior to shaving can help prevent the pain and irritation altogether.
Razor bumps are actually irritated ingrown hair follicles. The condition known as folliculitis or pseudofolliculitis barbae occurs when hair follicles grow inward towards the skin instead of upwards, according to San Francisco State University. If you have black skin, you are more prone to the condition, because your hair tends to be coarse and curly. Softening your skin and hair with a cream shaving lotion before shaving can help reduce the likelihood of coarse curls penetrating your follicles.
Ingrown hair follicles appear as dark bumps on back skin, which burn and itch all at the same time. Infection can sometimes develop if dirt and dead skin cells clog the oil gland. In African Americans the condition occurs most often in the scalp, beard, groin, bikini and underarm areas, according to Dr. Susan Taylor of BrownSkin.net. Frequent close shaves to the legs can also result in razor bumps.
If you develop razor bumps, the solution is to apply a topical treatment to the skin to help calm and heal the bumps. Place a clean washcloth in the freezer or under cool running water. Apply the washcloth to the razor bumps for 10 minutes at a time to help relieve symptoms. A dime-sized amount of over-the- counter hydrocortisone cream applied to your skin with clean fingertips, twice a day, can also help. Hydrocortisone is a steroid that reduces inflammation, itching and pain.
If you have black skin, you can help reduce your instances of razor bumps by showering before shaving. The steam from the shower softens your skin and hair. If you have no time for a shower, cover your skin with a warm washcloth for 5 to 10 minutes. Apply a shaving cream to your skin for extra lubrication, which will help the razor glide across your skin. Also, use a fresh, single-edged razor blade each time you shave, shave in the same direction that your hair grows, and avoid close shaves.
Razor bumps usually disappear within one week. If you notice that your razor bumps are not going away or if they begin to weep, become severely inflamed or if the pain, itching and burning becomes unbearable, seek medical attention immediately. Your physician may prescribe an antibiotic cream for your razor bumps or even an oral antibiotic to help resolve the bumps.
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Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.