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Post-shave bumps: what causes them?

Post-shave bumps: what causes them?

The frustration is immense when one spends time shaving the underarms, legs, bikini area, or even the beard, only to have redness and inflamed red bumps appear a few hours later, which can be more or less unsightly... What exactly is this? How can it be avoided?


What are shaving bumps?

Razor bumps and shaving bumps are inflammatory reactions related to the re-entry of hairs into the skin: this is referred to as ingrown hairs or folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle). These discomforts are medically known as pseudofolliculitis. Depending on the area, they are called pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), pseudofolliculitis pubis (especially when the bumps appear in the pubic region)...

Shaving bumps can sometimes be accompanied by pain, a darkening of the skin due to excessive and localized secretion of melanin, small papules (solid and rounded bumps) that can transform into pustules (lesions filled with pus and resembling blisters).

Shaving isn't the only cause of these types of bumps. Waxing or using an epilator can also lead to these inconveniences.

While anyone who shaves can develop razor bumps, they are more likely to affect African American men. Indeed, according to a study, between 45 and 85% of African American men suffer from PFB. Furthermore, Hispanic individuals and people with curly hair are also more likely to develop razor bumps.

Caution! If you have significant breakouts in your beard area, consult a dermatologist. Indeed, PFB can be mistaken for barber's itch (tinea barbae), a fungal infection of the hairy areas that requires specific medication.

What causes shaving bumps?

Discomforts such as pimples and redness generally result from a poorly maintained blade, a lack of care given to the skin, or even a poor shaving technique.

To address this, laser hair removal is a permanent method. However, while it is an excellent solution, it is not always financially feasible. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to make shaving less painful and get rid of razor bumps.

What precautions should be taken?

Several simple actions can help limit the occurrence of shaving bumps.

  • Exfoliate your skin at least once a week.

    We can't stress this enough! Exfoliation is crucial because it stimulates cellular renewal and removes accumulated keratinocytes on the skin's surface, preventing pore blockage. This process makes it easier for hairs to penetrate the stratum corneum and prevents them from curling under the skin. Additionally, exfoliation helps to expose ingrown hairs, ensuring a close and thorough shave. For the face, you can use the radiance scrub with rosehip oil and organic carrot macerate. For body areas, we have developed a nourishing scrub as well as a toning scrub based on organic green coffee macerate (draining) and essential oils of lemongrass and organic cedar (anti-cellulite).

  • Always shave on clean skin.

    This fundamental rule is sometimes overlooked. However, it is essential to minimize the risks of irritation and the development of ingrown hairs. You could, for instance, use our rebalancing cleansing care with nettle or if you prefer a gel texture, the purifying cleansing gel concentrated with sanitizing active ingredients like zinc PCA.

  • Adopting the appropriate actions during shaving.

    Shaving against the grain increases the risk of cuts and irritations. Shaving quickly becomes uncomfortable. Moreover, this practice can twist the hair, causing it to deviate from its path and curl back into the skin, becoming a ingrown hair.

  • Moisturize the area to be shaved and use a foaming gel.

    Shaving with water alone increases the risk of irritation and cuts. Always use a shaving foam or gel when you shave. This product will create a protective barrier between the razor blade and your skin: it thus reduces friction and therefore the risk of cuts. Moreover, the presence of foam helps you determine the areas you have already covered. This way, you avoid going over the same area multiple times, which can lead to skin irritation.

  • Take good care of the blades!

    A poorly maintained blade is the cause of many inconveniences. Your shaving session will not proceed as it should. Normally, a single pass is enough to shave the hairs in each area. However, with a blade already saturated with hairs and impurities, several passes will be necessary. Also, avoid using a rusty or damaged blade so as not to unnecessarily harm the skin.

How to naturally soothe shaving bumps?

Some essential oils are recognized for their anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties. They are to be mixed with so-called carrier vegetable oils. You can thus resort to the tea tree essential oil, clary sage or even lavender aspic.


  • ROOPAL V. KUNDU &al., Dermatologic Conditions in Skin of Color: Part II. Disorders Occurring Predominantly in Skin of Color, Am Fam Physician. (2013).


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