Nearly everyone shaves to remove unwanted facial or body hair. With shaving, however, comes the risk of getting razor bumps, sometimes referred to as razor rash. Individuals with sensitive skin and prone to ingrown hairs usually experience this chronic discomfort. The most common places in the body for razor bumps are the neck, arms, and legs. Razor bumps occur when the cut hair retracts into the skin and the hair follicles get infected by bacteria, resulting in small inflamed rashes in the area. In razor bumps, the ingrown hair and inflamed rashes get itchy, painful, and unpleasant to look at. Your wise choice will be to get these unsightly discomforts out of your skin at the shortest time.
Knowing What Razor Bumps Are
Razor bumps are known in medical terms as Pseudofolliculitis Barbae and more commonly as razor rash, shaving bumps, and bikini bumps. It comes by different names but causes the same discomfort. This condition only occurs after shaving when:
- The cut hair curls back around and reenters the skin from another direction.
- The hair remains inside the hair follicle and fails to come out of the skin. This is how ingrown hair is formed.
Due to this, small round and red bumps form on the skin. This irritating condition is a result of the body presuming that the abnormal hair growth is a microbial invasion and, in effect, responding in a defensive manner. Here’s what you can (and what you can’t) do when you get razor bumps: The least you can do is keep an already irritating condition from getting worse.
- Pat dry your skin with a towel. Never rub it as rubbing can irritate the skin and result in more discomfort.
- Never squeeze the razor bumps to prevent further irritation, infection, and even ingrown hair.
- Resist the urge to scratch the itchy razor bumps. You might break open the skin and pave the way for infection-causing bacteria to enter.
- See a certified dermatologist if the condition persists.
Many people are more prone to razor bumps and ingrown hair than others. If razor bumps appear in spite of your best care and effort while shaving, the discomfort they cause should be dealt with effectively. You can turn to tea tree oil for the prevention and treatment of razor bumps.
Is Tea Tree Oil Effective for Razor Bumps?
As mentioned in another article (LINK), tea tree oil comes from the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree, commonly known as tea tree. The oil is made up of powerful active components called terpenes which are strong deterrents against bacteria and other microbes. They also set white blood cells into action to help the body fight invading germs. Because of these antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil has the extra benefit of treating bacteria-caused skin conditions and warding off infections. The potent terpenes in tea tree oil include terpinen-4-ol which is effective in fighting various bacteria and viruses, even those that are resistant to traditional antibiotics. They guard against infections and promote healing, making tea tree oil a smart choice for a natural treatment against minor skin problems.
Treating Razor Bumps with Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil’s antibiotic and natural healing properties make it ideal an application for razor bumps. It can soothe the irritation, decrease the swelling, and quicken the healing process. A word of caution, though. Pure and concentrated tea tree oil is very strong. It can cause allergies or other side effects especially if you are sensitive to the essential oil. Before going on a do-it-yourself treatment, be sure to read our post on Are There Side Effects in Using Tea Tree Oil?
As a Topical Application
Tea tree oil can be thinned with some water or the appropriate carrier oil like olive, almond, or coconut oil. You can use a cotton ball to apply the mixture to the affected area. Here are a few simple steps to naturally treat razor bumps and get rid of the discomfort it brings. You will need:
- Tea tree oil
- Cotton balls
- Aloe era gel or cream
If you have used tea tree oil before without any issue: Soak a cotton ball with a few drops of tea tree oil. Gently rub the cotton ball on the razor bump-affected area. The oil’s antiseptic property may give your skin a slight burning sensation. If you have sensitive skin: Thin the tea tree oil with a little aloe vera gel or cream to prevent irritation. The usual mixture is one part tea tree oil to two parts aloe vera gel or cream.
As a Skin Moisturizer
Aside from being silky-smooth, a moisturized and well-hydrated skin is more unlikely to get razor bumps as well as ingrown hairs. According to author and tea tree oil expert Cynthia Olsen, tea tree oil can easily penetrate the skin surface, and adding about 10 drops of tea tree oil to your moisturizing cream or body lotion can enhance the effectiveness of your moisturizer. It can also inhibit the development of ingrown hairs.
For Reducing Inflammation and Preventing Infection
Apart from being unattractive to look at, razor bumps and ingrown hairs can become inflamed and painful. Tea tree oil’s capability to reduce inflammation enables it to bring swelling and discomfort down without the known side-effects of prescription drugs. Gently dab the oil on the affected area to reduce the swelling. Razor bumps can get infected from bacteria on the razor blade or when the itchy bumps are scratched. Tea tree oil’s terpene content has antibacterial properties which make it effective in treating bacteria and fungi-based skin disorders.
How to Prevent Razor Bumps and Ingrown Hairs From Occurring
You can stop razor bumps and ingrown hairs from occurring right from the start. There are several steps that you can make to minimize the risk of these irritating bumps from appearing.
- A dull razor blade is more likely to pull and irritate the skin which can cause bumps and ingrown hairs. See to it that your razor blade has a sharp even edge that is free from nicks and dents. Be sure to change your razor’s blades frequently.
- Don’t leave your blades wet. Dry them after every use to prevent rust from forming on their surface. Drying them will also extend their life for longer use.
- Shave in the same direction the hair is growing, especially in sensitive areas of your body. Going against the hair growth direction can cause skin irritation. Although you may not get that close shave, you will spare your skin less trauma and the risk of razor bumps discomfort.
- Before shaving, use shaving cream to moisten your skin and make the hairs less tough. After shaving, use your moisturizer mixed with some tea tree oil to soothe the skin and prevent irritation. Bear in mind that you don’t have to shave everyday. This will give the shaven area of your skin ample time to normalize and recover after a razor blade has passed over it.