July 1, 2009 -- Question: Is there a good way to avoid or treat ingrown hairs on my neck and face after shaving?
Answer: You know, ingrown hair is a very common problem that we see with our patients. And I think it's important to explain what causes the ingrown hairs or razor bumps so that you can understand how the treatments work.
Basically what happens when you shave very closely, you make your hairs extremely sharp and particularly if you have curly hair, what often happens is that the hair grows out, curls a little bit and then grows right back, pierces into your skin, causes inflammation and causes a bump there. That's what the razor bump is; that's how it occurs. So how can we avoid it?
Well, one way, which isn't practical for most, is to stop shaving. If you stop shaving, you will not have a razor bump because again, you are not shaving, it will never occur.
A more practical option is to employ certain habits when you're shaving. No. 1, before you shave have your skin on your face be very wet. A good place to shave for people with these problems is in the shower. Do it when you have a warm shower, apply the shaving cream or gel, and then when you shave, use a razor with one blade rather than multiple blades because this will cause the hairs to be not quite as short and not quite as sharp.
The other thing you want to do is shave in the direction that the hair wants to be growing. If you do those simple steps, you will minimize the extent that you will have these razor bumps
Finally, a more permanent and drastic option is to do laser hair removal. With a series of laser hair removal treatments, you permanently remove the hairs. And by permanently removing the hairs, you remove the reason for the razor bumps in the first place. But I want you to be aware if you do this treatment, it is a permanent removal and you will not be growing facial hair afterwards.