Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (2023)

Also known as shave bumps or barber’s bumps, razor bumps are common in people who shave. These bumps are especially common in men who have a darker skin tone. Some men live with constant discomfort and countless bumps in their beard area. Dermatologists say it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s what you can do at home to clear razor bumps, medically known as pseudofolliculitis barbae, or at least have fewer, less painful bumps.

Dermatologist tip #1: Grow your beard

If growing your beard is an option, you can get rid of razor bumps for good.

Here’s why growing a beard works. Razor bumps develop when the razor cuts hairs short. If you have coarse, curly hairs, these shortened hairs can curve into your skin. Your skin reacts to these ingrown hairs, and you see razor bumps.

When you stop shaving, the short hairs grow and spring out of your skin. Once the trapped hairs grow out, your skin will heal.

Before the bumps clear, you may develop new ones — even after you stop shaving. This happens when the hairs cut short by your last shave grow long enough to curve back into your skin. In time, these hairs will spring out.

You should see fewer razor bumps within one month. The bumps should be gone after three months.

Dermatologist tip #2: Change how you shave your face

If you need that clean-shaven look, you can reduce the number of bumps you get.

Never pull or stretch your skin while shaving and never pluck a hair inside a razor bump

Doing either can cause new razor bumps and worsen existing bumps.

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (1)

To see fewer bumps, dermatologists say the first step is to figure out which direction the hairs in your beard area grow. This knowledge is key to preventing new razor bumps.

How to figure out which direction your beard hairs grow: If you’re tempted to skip over this step, don’t. You only need to do this once, and it’s easy to do.

Here’s how you figure it out:

  • Look in a mirror.

    (Video) How to Get rid of Razor Bumps| Ingrown hairs

  • Pull tightly on the skin in your beard area and look closely.

  • Lift your head so that you can see how the hair grows under your chin.

Do you see one direction or different directions? Men who have coarse, curly hair usually see hairs growing in various directions.

If your facial hair grows in various directions, dermatologists recommend training your hair to grow in one direction. To do this, you’ll need a clean, unused, soft-bristle toothbrush.

Use the toothbrush to gently brush your hairs in one direction. Doing this daily will train your beard hair to grow in one direction, which can reduce new razor bumps significantly.

To see fewer razor bumps, shave daily — or at least every 2 to 3 days

When you shave less often, you give hairs time to grow long enough to curve into your skin.

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (2)

Once you know how your hair grows, you’re ready to shave. Here’s what dermatologists recommend for men who have a darker skin tone and get razor bumps:

  1. Wash your face with a gentle, non-comedogenic facial cleanser. Use a washcloth or soft-bristle face brush, applying the cleanser in a circular motion. This gentle massage-like motion helps to remove dead skin cells, which can reduce the number of hairs that curve back into your skin.

    Rinse your face thoroughly with warm water to remove all cleanser.

  2. Hold a warm compress on your beard area for five minutes — or shave at the end of your shower. The warmth and moisture cause the hairs to swell, so they’re less likely to curve into your skin after shaving.

    A warm compress also helps loosen the hairs that have curved into your skin and caused razor bumps. To make a warm compress, place a clean washcloth under warm water. Wring out the excess water. Then apply the washcloth to your beard area for five minutes.

    (Video) STOP SHAVING !!! DO THIS INSTEAD ( How To Get Rid Of Hyperpigmentation From Shaving For Men )

    If you prefer to shave at the end of your shower, dermatologists recommend using an anti-fog mirror. You can attach this mirror to the shower wall.

  3. Apply a moisturizing shaving cream, even when using an electric razor. Let the shaving cream sit on your skin for one or two minutes. Before you pick up your razor, make sure the shaving cream is wet. If it dries out before you shave, rinse your face. Then reapply, using more cream this time to prevent the cream from drying.

    Tip

    Never dry shave; always apply shaving cream.

  4. Use a sharp razor. A single-blade razor or an electric razor is often recommended. Regardless of the razor you use, it must be sharp.

    A single-blade razor will stay sharp for 5 to 7 shaves. After that number of shaves, it's time to replace the blade.

    If you use an electric razor, replace the foils and blades as often as recommended in the instructions that came with the razor.

  5. Follow these dermatologist-recommended techniques as you shave:

    • Shave slowly in the direction that your hairs grow. If your hairs grow in different directions, shave in the direction that you’re training the hairs to grow.
    • Use short strokes, and never go over an area more than twice.
    • When using a single-blade razor, rinse the blade after each swipe.
    • Avoid shaving closely or putting much pressure on your skin.

    To reduce the risk of razor bumps, change the blade on a single-blade razor after 5 to 7 shaves (or throw away a disposable razor)

    A dull blade greatly increases the risk of razor bumps.

    Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (3)
  6. Rinse off the shaving cream with warm water. You want to rinse gently but thoroughly. Leaving any shaving cream on your skin can irritate it.

  7. Place a cool compress on your skin. To make a cool compress, hold a clean washcloth underneath cool water. Once the washcloth is wet, place it on your just-shaved skin and leave it in place for five minutes.

    (Video) RAZOR BUMPS DOCTOR V | How to Treat Razor Bumps for BROWN/DARK Skin of Colour | Dr V #SOC

  8. Apply a soothing aftershave. Dermatologists recommend using an aftershave that’s specially formulated to reduce the risk of razor bumps and irritated skin. If an aftershave burns or stings, stop using it and try another one.

  9. Dry your razor and store it in a dry place. This prevents bacteria from growing on your razor. Never leave your razor in the shower or on a wet sink.

Dermatologists developed this step-by-step process for men who have a darker skin tone and get razor bumps when they shave. It helps many men see fewer razor bumps. Some men, however, continue to get razor bumps.

When to see a dermatologist

If you continue to get razor bumps after you change your shaving technique, it’s time to see the medical skin expert. With a dermatologist’s customized treatment, you can get relief and avoid permanent changes to your skin. Men who continue to get razor bumps can develop permanent deep grooves and raised scars on their face.

To find a dermatologist in your area, go to Find a dermatologist.

Related AAD resources

  • Hair removal: How to shave

Images
Getty Images

References
Daniel A, Gustafson CJ, et al. “Shave frequency and regimen variation effects on the management of pseudofolliculitis barbae.” J Drugs Dermatol. 2013;12(4):410-8.

Kelly AP, Serrano AMA. “Pseudofolliculitis barbae.” In: Taylor and Kelly’s Dermatology for Skin of Color. (second edition). McGraw Hill, USA, 2016:264-84.

Kundu RV, Patterson S. “Dermatologic conditions in skin of color: part II. Disorders occurring predominately in skin of color.” Am Fam Physician. 2013 Jun 15;87(12):859-65.

Ogunbiyi A. “Pseudofolliculitis barbae; current treatment options.” Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019;12:241-7.

Written by:
Paula Ludmann, MS

Reviewed by:
Kesha Buster, MD, FAAD
Sandy Marchese Johnson, MD, FAAD
Bassel Hamdy Mahmoud, MD, PhD, FAAD

Last updated: 2/7/22

(Video) How to make every Ingrown hair go away | Black Men’s Skincare Routine | 2021

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

The American Academy of Dermatology gratefully acknowledges support from the following companies:

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (4)

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (5)

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (6)

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (7)

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (8)

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (9)

Razor bump remedies for men with darker skin tones (10)

(Video) 5 Tips To Get Rid Of Beard Pimples | Black Men's Beard Week 4

FAQs

Do Black men get razor bumps more? ›

The main reason why Black men get razor bumps more often than white or Asian men is that coarse and curly hair is most likely to become ingrown. A razor bump forms when a hair has been cut beneath the skin's surface. Your hair then turns around and begins growing back into the skin.

What do Black men use for ingrown hairs? ›

Adding in a quality pre-shave oil is a must for Black men to reduce irritation and the chance of ingrown hairs developing. Not only will it soften the hair itself, it allows for a smoother glide from the blade.

What are razor bumps on a black man's face? ›

Pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps) is a common condition of the beard area occurring in up to 60% African American men and other people with curly hair. The problem results when highly curved hairs grow back into the skin causing inflammation and a foreign body reaction.

Do razor bump marks go away? ›

Unlike razor burn, which shows up right after shaving, razor bumps can take days to appear. They also take a longer to go away and can leave scars in some cases. Razor bumps tend to resolve on their own, within 2 or 3 weeks of shaving. However, some people get them with every shave.

Do razor bumps go away naturally? ›

Razor burn or razor bumps on your legs will clear up with time, as long as you treat your skin gently and avoid irritating your legs further. You should avoid shaving the inflamed area until it clears up to avoid worsening the condition. Use the aforementioned tips to soothe your skin while it heals.

Videos

1. How to make every Ingrown hair go away | Black Men’s Skincare Routine
(Trell West)
2. PSEUDOFOLLICULITIS BARBAE (Razor Bumps): Everything you need to know: Symptoms-Causes-Treatment
(Daily Dose of Medicine)
3. How to Get Rid of Hair Bumps Razor Bumps, Ingrown Hairs or Pseudofolliculitis
(Tino X Studio)
4. How to shave and not get razor bumps while black
(RidewithReed)
5. Laser hair removal for Black Men with Razor Bumps
(Dr. Degha Fongod)
6. HOW TO GET RID OF DARK SPOTS/ HYPERPIGMENTATION ?!
(PrettyBoyFloyd)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Allyn Kozey

Last Updated: 17/02/2023

Views: 6826

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Allyn Kozey

Birthday: 1993-12-21

Address: Suite 454 40343 Larson Union, Port Melia, TX 16164

Phone: +2456904400762

Job: Investor Administrator

Hobby: Sketching, Puzzles, Pet, Mountaineering, Skydiving, Dowsing, Sports

Introduction: My name is Allyn Kozey, I am a outstanding, colorful, adventurous, encouraging, zealous, tender, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.