Not everyone has the patience or the genetics required to grow a full beard. For those men that choose to have little or no facial hair, the quest for a smooth, clean shave can be quite bumpy, thanks to the all too common problem of ingrown hairs. MS. MATHAHLE STOFILE shares a few tips on dealing with razor bumps.
More than men of any other race, black men are more prone to ingrown hairs and razor bumps after shaving. The reason is simple: our hair comes out of its follicle and almost immediately curls, once cut off too close to the follicle, it is likely to curl back and start growing into the skin.
As you continue to shave, you can cause inflammation and irritation to the skin. Once your skin gets irritated or inflamed, it protects itself by producing more melanin and collagen. This can sometimes lead to keloid scarring and hyper pigmentation (both most common in black skin). Although a common and persistent problem, there are proven ways to combat this problem:
Don’t shave too close to the skin. You can achieve a “clean” shaven look even if you leave about 1mm of hair on the skin. Because of your pigmented skin, the stubble won’t be obvious. Leaving that 1mm ensures that the hair doesn’t curl back into the skin.
- Always use warm water to soften the skin and open the pores before shaving.
- Always shave in the direction of your hair growth.
- Always use a good balm or moisturizer after shaving to soothe and hydrate the skin. (Aloe is a good ingredient to look out for, as it is highly soothing and hydrating.) Avoid highly fragranced or high alcohol content products as they can further irritate the skin.
- Make sure your razor is extremely sharp. Discard after 4-5 uses. A blunt blade will further irritate and inflame your skin.
- Go for a single blade instead of the triple or quadruple kind. The closer the shave, the higher the risk of razor bumps.
- Exfoliate. This will remove the dead top layer of skin allowing your hair to grow out of a smooth surface.
Products that can help you on your quest:
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (daily)
Bioderma Sensibio AR cream (hydration for sensitive skin)
QMS 24HR cream (hydration for dry, normal, combination and oily skin)
Clinique Men Facial Scrub (weekly)
Lab Series Maximum Comfort Shave cream
Michael Mikiala Men Bump Lotion