Q: Dr, I always develop razor bumps or sores after shaving both armpits and private parts. How can I solve this?
A: Razor bumps are also known as ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs occur when hair curls back and brow back into the skin. This is particularly easy with hair that had been cut (as in shaving) as the hair that grows back usually has a sharp edge and finds it easy to ‘pierce’ into the skin.
For under arm bumps, a solution to this is to stop shaving and leave the hair well alone 😀 Another option is to use depilatory cream. This may, however, cause irritation and so should not be used more than once or twice a week.
Try to resist the urge to press these bumps but if the temptation proves too great, use a sterile needle to tease out the hair, if it appears to lie close to the surface. If it appears deep, please leave well alone…let’s not give you scars you’d rather not have 😀
Preventive measures you can practice include:
• Using a single blade shave stick
• Wet the area to be shaved with warm water and use a shave gel
• Try not to shave too close…you know how you like to pull the skin taut to achieve a better shave? Well, stop doing that as this encourages hair to curl back into the skin
• Shave in the direction of growth of the hair.
If infections occur, the bumps become filled with pus and you may be prescribed antibiotics for this. Your doctor may also prescribe some drugs to help calm down the inflammation.
For razor bumps in the groin….
In Africans, the hair in the groin area is very curly and so it is pretty easy for the hair to curl and grow down instead of growing up and out. These lead to red, raised spots/bumps which could get infected and become pus-filled.
More often than not, an ingrown hair does not require special treatment. They just leave quietly on their own…much like how they came. This of course, presupposes that there is no shaving done during this period to aggravate the situation. In the meantime, do not squeeze the bumps as this may push the bacteria further inside. You could use a soft bristled brush to loosen the hair before shaving or use a sterile needle or tweezers to tease out the ingrown hair(s) if it lies close to the surface.
How to prevent ingrown hairs? Simple! Stop shaving…at least for a while. That’s always an option. There’s always a huge debate about whether things should be kept natural down there! 😀 However, if you choose to shave, try using a scissors to trim, before using a single blade shave stick to shave. Make the hair as wet as possible using shave foam and then shave in the direction of the growth of the hair. And while you may think it’s fun to be completely clean shaven there, try not to shave too close to the skin and rinse the shaver after each stroke:D Pat the area gently afterwards…don’t rub vigorously. Remember that re-using razors you have used on the infected parts may lead to further re-infection with bacteria that are on the surface of the razor.
Your doctor will make a definitive diagnosis. He/she may prescribe some anti-biotic ointment or oral antibiotics (taken by mouth) and some other ointments to stop the inflammation. Remember that antibiotics should be taken for the full period prescribed by the doctor and not stopped as soon as you feel better.
Have a fun-filled weekend 😀