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How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps, According to Experts

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Shaving can be very hard on your skin, and razor bumps can be enough to tempt even the most adamant daily shavers into growing a beard. According to dermatologist Samer Jaber of Washington Square Dermatology, when we talk about razor bumps, we’re actually talking about ingrown hairs (whose technical term is pseudofolliculitis barbae). As Jaber explains, razor bumps occur when hair essentially grows back into the skin, often triggering an anti-inflammatory reaction which results tiny bumps that can be red and painful. Razor bumps can occur anywhere on the body where you shave, but they’re particularly an issue when men shave their faces, since beard hair tends to be coarser and curlier than hair on other parts of the body. “Thick curly hair is more prone to that inward turning,” explains Jaber, but razor bumps can be an issue no matter your facial-hair type. To find the best things for getting rid of razor bumps when they form, we turned to Jaber and eight other experts. And although a few of them say that the best way to get rid of razor bumps is to “grow a beard,” that isn’t an option for everyone. Thankfully, there are plenty of face scrubs, aftershaves, and spot treatments you can also use, all of which the pros say are actually quite effective.

Best overall way to get rid of razor bumps

Four of the experts we spoke with said using an exfoliating scrub is best way to get rid of razor bumps and ingrown hairs. According to Chad Beightol, the owner of grooming store Consigliere, “ingrown hairs are complicated by the buildup of skin, so you want to focus on removing the dead skin cells. This can be accomplished by a chemical alpha-hydroxy exfoliant like glycolic acid or lactic acid.” The key to choosing a good facial scrub is finding something that is effective but still gentle enough not to make things worse, which is why Jaber also recommends products with glycolic acid, because he says it’s “good for gentle exfoliation.” Beightol agrees, recommending this glycolic facial cleanser from Anthony. It also contains cetyl alcohol, which is one of the key ingredients master barber and education lead at The Shave Barber Company in Atlanta, David Rodriguez, told us to look for. According to Rodriguez, cetyl alcohol is a “fatty alcohol, so it still has the effect of contracting the skin,” but it’s less irritating than other alcohols.

Best (less expensive) exfoliant for getting rid of razor bumps

Echoing Beightol, David Rodriguez says the main cause of ingrown hairs is the buildup of dead skin over the hair follicle. His favorite gentle exfoliant for “removing the dead skin” is this Magic Bump Off scrub, which is formulated with charcoal. As Rodriguez explains, “charcoal has a detoxifying effect, it helps soak up impurities.” He’s a fan of the whole line of Magic products, but he particularly likes the scrub and t