Pseudofolliculitis barbae, or razor bumps, affect men and women — however, it is more prevalent in Black men and women. Razor bumps are ingrown hairs that grow back into the skin instead of growing up and out. Ingrown hairs may be short or coiled and can travel quite a distance under the skin.
This article will share the who, what, where, and why of your razor bump questions.
Who Gets Ingrown Hairs?
The easy answer is everybody. However, individuals with stiffer, curlier hair have a high tendency for ingrown hairs. An ingrown hair occurs when one of the following takes place:
- Extra follicular penetration of the hair: when curly hair grows and reenters, the skin.
- Trans follicular penetration of the hair: when the sharp tip of a growing hair pierces the follicular wall causing folliculitis and formation of pus-filled lesions.
Why Do Hairs Become Ingrown?
There are many reasons why hair chooses to go in rather than out. Below are the most common causes:
- Pulling skin too tight when shaving
- Plucking the hair with tweezers
- Shaving too close to skin
- Shaving against the grain
- Poorly performed electrolysis
What Can Happen If Ingrown Hairs Go Untreated?
If the condition goes untreated, it can become chronic. Be mindful of the following:
- Cosmetic disfigurement:large keloids can form on different areas of the body but most commonly at the back of the neck of men who shave too close or use unsanitary razors
- Keloid scarring: small smooth raised lesions can be found where a hair is plucked, tweezed, or cut below the skin while shaving.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: discoloration of the skin can occur from repeated trauma and inflammation.
The Worst-Case Scenario
- Hair follicle destruction: this condition can lead to permanent hair loss.
- Scarring: severe folliculitis can leave hypertrophy or keloid scars on the skin.
Preventing Ingrown Hairs
Razor bumps can be bothersome and uncomfortable. However, one can quickly eradicate razor bumps with the correct treatment and products.
Wash the face with a pH-correct cleanser and face wash daily. Or, if the skin is more sensitive, try a mild exfoliating scrub to prevent the buildup of dead surface cells, which can block the opening of the hair follicles resulting in the hair being pushed back into the skin. A deep pore cleansing facial is also highly recommended to remove dead cell buildup.
Shaving less often is also recommended to prevent ingrown hairs. Rather than every day, try shaving every other day or less frequently.