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Shaving Rash Overview


What you know as shaving rash is really Pseudofolliculitis Barbae, which is a term for a condition that can sometimes arise due to shaving. It goes by a few other names you may be familiar with which includes barber’s itch or shave bumps.

Symptoms Of Shaving Rash

  • Those that are dealing with this condition will usually have reddened skin because of inflammation. These areas may also have bumps or pimple like pustules around the area.

What Causes Shaving Rash?

This condition has three primary causes.

  1. The first is very straightforward – Shaving.
  2. The second has to do with the type of hair the person has.
  3. The third has to do with whether you possess sensitive skin.

This condition strikes those with naturally curly hair most of the time. There is a specific reason why it frequently occurs on those with curly hair. This has to do with the way curly hair grows. Unlike straight hair which grows outwards in a relatively straight line, curly hair begins to curl from the beginning.

Curly hair that grows after shaving will immediately begin to curl inwards. This poses a problem as the hair can actually penetrate the skin. Skin penetration will often lead to inflammation and in very serious cases, infection. As such, those that have curly hair that shave or pluck their hair are susceptible to shaving rash. Additionally, because men are more likely to shave than women, they are also more likely to get shaving rash on the face. But this condition can affect any area of the skin that has hair. For that reason, the genital area as well as legs (for those that shave their legs) are areas where this problem can crop up.

Extrafollicular and Transfollicular Hair

There are two main types of ingrown hairs that can lead to shaving rash.

  1. The first is transfollicular hair. This type of hair begins curling right from the beginning without ever exiting the follicle.
  2. The second is Extrafollicular hair. This type first exits the follicle but curls inward into the skin at some point.

Prevention And Treatment.

The easiest way to prevent shaving burn is to simply avoid shaving. For many of us, this is not possible so the next best thing to do is to leave about 1 millimeter of hair instead. This length generally prevents ingrown hairs from curling back into the skin. To achieve this type of length, you will have to avoid tools that produce a close shave. Stick to razors that are single bladed or electric shavers. There is another treatment of a more permanent variety – laser hair removal.

If you are already dealing with shaving rash then you will have to let the hair grown for a period of a few weeks to let the inflamed skin subside. Otherwise, you can utilize tweezers to lift up hairs that have penetrated the skin. It is not recommended that you shave during this period. In very serious cases, you can seek the help of a dermatologist to assist you. Any type of medicine prescribed to deal with shaving rash generally promotes skin healing. In some cases, oral antibiotics or topical antibiotic creams are used to deal with infection.