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How Shaving Bumps Relate to Acne Breakouts

Jul 6, 2008
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is the acne-like breakouts known as "shaving bumps". This is the result of inflammation in the hair follicle that is brought on by shaving. After shaving, waxing or plucking, hair gets trapped inside the follicle. This results in irritation and swelling.

Shaving bumps can occur any time, but they have a tendency to affect those who have curly hair. These "shaving bumps" can be prevented, however, and you can learn to "shave smart," causing yourself fewer breakouts.

It is important to prep the skin with warm water prior to starting to shave. The water will hydrate your skin making it more pliable and the heat will dilate your blood vessels bringing the blood flow to the area. Some people have found shaving in the shower works best.

Another important thing to keep in mind for reducing Pseudofolliculitis barbae is to use the right shaving cream. Using filmy or thinner kind of shaving creams will aid the razor to move smoothly over the skin without any difficulty, thereby decreasing inflammation.

Choosing the right razor is as important as choosing the right cream. If possible, use an electric razor. The shave may not be as close, but you may reduce the probability of an outbreak. If you prefer using a blade for shaving, use a new single blade each time you shave. Double and triple edges blades lift the hair out of the follicle, resulting in a shave that is actually below the epidermis. As a part of the natural healing process, the epidermis grows over the opening of the follicle. As the hair grows back, it struggles to get out of the closed follicle, causing the skin to inflame.

You should always shave in the direction of the grain. This means your strokes should move downward, not up. This will reduce irritation and will probably help reduce cuts as well. Keep in mind that a closer shave will probably mean more bumps on your skin.

After you have finished shaving, you may want to apply a mild alcohol-free toner (or witch hazel) or antibacterial gel. This will kill the bacteria before it gets into the open follicles, helping you stop Pseudofolliculitis barbae before it starts. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are available in gel form as well.

These simple steps will go a long way to prevent Pseudofolliculitis barbae in most people. If shaving bumps are still persistent even after you have tried these steps, you may want to consult a dermatologist. They may be able to prescribe a more aggressive topical acne treatment.
About the Author
You may be wondering if there is a light acne treatment that really works. If so, you may find David Warple's articles on acne information very helpful.
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