Razor bumps, also known as ingrown hairs or pseudofolliculitis barbae, happen to just about anyone who shaves regularly, male or female. The small, angry red bumps appear after shaving when the strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin. The only 100% effective way to treat them is to stop shaving, but not every guy wants to grow a beard, and few women want to walk around in a dress or a pair of shorts with hairy legs. And, as soon as you do start shaving again, they’re likely to come right back.
While razor bumps generally aren’t harmful, they’re not exactly attractive, and they can turn into a more serious issue known as Barber’s rash, something that’s created by staph microorganisms.
So what do you do if you want to enjoy a smooth, clean-shaven look without those annoying bumps? Removing hair permanently with electrolysis or laser treatments does not cause razor bumps, but it can get rather pricey.
You can also take measures to prevent ingrown hairs, including:
- Moistening your skin with water and mild soap before shaving to soften the hair and open the pores.
- Using a thick shaving cream or gel.
- Avoiding stretching the skin while shaving, and making sure to shave in the same direction the hair is growing using as few razor strokes as possible.
- Rinsing with cold water and then applying a moisturizing cream after shaving.
Of course, odds are, you’ll still get those annoying razor bumps occasionally, which is why you might want to consider one of these effective home remedies.
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial agent that helps with so many things, including razor bumps, thanks to its antiseptic, and antibiotic properties. Simply dab a bit of 100% pure tea tree oil onto a cotton ball and then apply it to irritated skin. Moisturize with coconut oil or almond oil afterward as it is rather strong.
2. Baking soda
Baking soda is something just about everyone has on hand, and it’s also quite mild, meaning it’s good for those with sensitive skin. Using it as a paste helps to keep the follicle from becoming clogged while waiting for the hair to break the surface, and it also helps to ease inflammation. Simply combine just enough baking soda and water to form a paste that can be spread across your skin. Don’t make it so thick that it will just fall off, but just thick enough so that it adheres to the skin. Before applying the paste, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Apply it by using a firm but gentle circular motion with your fingers. Afterward, rinse with cold water and then apply just a small amount of coconut oil to moisturize.
If you want to smell especially sweet and get rid of those flaming red bumps, you can even make an effective paste out of strawberries. Prepare it by mashing up just enough strawberries with sour cream to form a relatively thick paste. Slather it onto the irritated areas of the skin and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
4. Coconut oil
Many oils typically used for preparing foods can work great when it comes to shaving too – in fact, vegetable oils and animal fats are believed to have been used for shaving lubricant ever since the practice of shaving began. They not only moisturize, but they allow the razor to glide easily over the skin, making for a smoother, closer, non-irritating shave. Coconut oil, in particular, can be used on its own to work wonders when it comes to eliminating those nasty ingrown hairs. This incredible gift of nature offers a multitude of benefits, including healing the skin, thanks to its high lauric acid content. It also contains antiseptic properties known to heal cuts, burns and skin rashes while also keeping the skin moisturized. All you need to do is apply a thin layer of coconut oil to your razor bumps, and repeat when necessary.
5. Lemon juice
While lemon juice may seem like it would worsen the problem, and cause razor bumps to sting, it’s actually great for getting rid of them. It’s naturally acidic which helps stop bacteria from colonizing ingrown hair follicles, and its high vitamin C content helps to promote skin growth as well. Applying fresh lemon juice to razor bumps also helps to prevent infection by fighting off bacteria, and reduces redness too.
6. Calendula oil
Oils can practically work miracles, and there are many that are known to treat razor bumps, including calendula oil. This oil that’s extracted from calendula flowers is renowned for its potent antiseptic and skin soothing properties. It helps to calm burning, irritated skin, reducing redness and providing pain relief. Before applying to affected areas, dilute about six drops of calendula oil with a teaspoon of jojoba, almond or coconut oil first, or irritation could worsen.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) – be sure to get the “real” thing, meaning organic, unfiltered ACV with the mother, like this Braggs ACV (available on Amazon here) – is an outstanding remedy for razor bumps as it helps to ease the discomfort and appearance of ingrown hairs. Start out slowly, as some people have skin that is extra sensitive and could experience a reaction, but if you’re not one of them, you may find that this is the best remedy around as it offers especially powerful anti-inflammatory properties and it can help ward off an infection too.
To use ACV, apply a cotton ball that’s been dipped in apple cider vinegar onto the affected area. Allow it to dry before rinsing with cool water. Repeat several times a day until the burning sensation has dissipated and the bumps can no longer be seen.
8. Black tea
If you happen to have some black tea in your kitchen cabinet, you’ve got one of the best remedies there are for razor bumps. It contains tannic acid, which is known to relieve inflammation, reduce redness and soothe burning. To use black tea for your ingrown hairs, just moisten a black tea bag with warm, but not too hot, water. Rub the bag over the affected area for several minutes, repeating a few times during the day if necessary.
9. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is famous for its ability to clear up acne, but few are aware that it can also help address those annoying and unsightly razor bumps. It acts as a natural antiseptic to reduce inflammation, and it also contains tannins, like black tea, which when applied to the skin, can help to lessen swelling, fight bacteria and even heal broken skin caused by razor burn. All you need to do is add witch hazel to a cotton ball and apply it to the bumps to encourage quicker healing and reduce irritation and redness.
10. Epsom salt
Do you have a lot of razor bumps, particularly in the bikini area? This remedy is for you. Run a bath of warm water and add two cups of Epsom salt. Soak in the Epsom Salt bath for at least 10 minutes, up to about 30 minutes, applying moisturizer afterward. Alternatively, you can combine two tablespoons of Epsom salt in one cup of water, dip a cotton ball into the solution and allow it to sit on the affected area for 10 minutes to exfoliate dead skin cells and remove ingrown hairs.
11. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is another famous remedy that’s been used for centuries to provide relief for all sorts of conditions. It’s been used in traditional Indian medicine to treat constipation, worm infestation, infections, colic, and skin problems like burns, cold sores, sun burns, eczema and more. It’s also fantastic for soothing the irritation of razor bumps. If you have a plant, all you have to do is break off a piece of the aloe leaf. Then, squeeze the gel that’s inside directly onto the affected area. If you don’t have an aloe vera plant, you can purchase aloe vera gel, but be sure that it’s 100% pure, and doesn’t have any chemicals, fragrances or artificial colors added like this one on Amazon.
While many remedies are popular based on word-of-mouth effectiveness, aloe vera does have some science behind it to back up these claims. Research has found that it offers anti-inflammatory activity when applied, likely a significant factor as to why it works so well.
Your coffee just got a whole lot more useful than it already was. The acidic properties of your favorite morning beverage allow it to easily expose the trapped hair so that you can get rid of it once and for all. Just mix together a cup of lukewarm water with about one-quarter cup of unused coffee grounds. Massage the coffee/water paste onto affected areas, working it in using a circular motion for several minutes. Afterward, rinse with cool water and then moisturize, ideally with aloe vera gel or coconut oil. Don’t throw your coffee grounds away afterwards, choose one of these 14 incredible uses to reduce your waste!
While cutting back on sugar is important for your good health, and a slimmer waistline, the sweet stuff makes an excellent skin scrub that works to eliminate ingrown hairs. It’s effective because it gently exfoliates the skin to remove dead skin cells and encourage the hair to come out of the skin. It also offers another benefit – after using it, your skin will feel silky smooth.
To make the sugar scrub, combine a cup of white sugar with one-half cup of jojoba oil or extra-virgin olive oil. Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil; mix well. Apply a small amount of the sugar scrub onto affected areas, and then gently massage it into the skin using a circular motion for several minutes. Rinse with cool water. Any remaining scrub can be stored in an airtight container for future use. Repeat once or twice a week as necessary.
Aspirin is well-known to help reduce inflammation and redness, two of the most common symptoms seen with razor bumps. Aspirin contains anti-inflammatory compounds which helps to reduce swelling, fight inflammation and treat a mild infection. It also contains salicylic acid, which works to scrub away dead skin skills, loosening the ingrown hair.
The best way to use aspirin for fighting ingrown hairs is to soak two aspirin in about one teaspoon of warm water so that it forms a paste-like consistency. Add a teaspoon of raw, organic honey to the mixture and then apply it to affected areas. Allow the paste to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing with cool water. Apply this remedy once or twice each week, as necessary.
15. Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil can also be used on its own to address razor bumps. In fact, it’s one of the most versatile essential oils on Earth, so if you don’t have some already, pick some up and you’ll be prepared to fight everything from stress, anxiety, and insomnia to bee stings, motion sickness, cuts and minor burns, as well as razor bumps. It offers anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, astringent, cleansing and moisturizing properties that make it one of the best essential oils there is for treating ingrown hairs. You can apply lavender essential oil directly onto the sky by rubbing a few drops between your palms and applying it to your face, legs or other areas prone to razor bumps.
16. Frankincense essential oil
Frankincense is another great essential oil to have on hand. Just a few of its benefits include helping to relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, boosting immunity, and even fighting cancer. It offers antiseptic and disinfectant properties that can even help eliminate cold and flu germs from the home and the body naturally, which is why so many people are now using it in place of chemical household cleaners. Beyond that, its skin soothing properties help to calm inflamed skin, while its antiseptic compounds battle germs that can cause ingrown hairs. Similar to lavender, frankincense oil can be applied directly to affected areas to provide relief.