Hair removal is a common and popular way for many people to groom their pubic area. However, certain techniques can irritate the skin, potentially causing razor bumps. Taking appropriate measures, such as cleansing and exfoliating the skin, using skin care products, or tweezing, can help prevent or treat razor bumps.
Razor bumps, also known as shaving bumps or pseudofolliculitis, result from the inflammation of hair follicles due to ingrown hairs. They can occur on any part of the body that is subject to hair removal techniques, such as shaving or waxing. However, they are more common in areas where the hair is coarse and abundant.
Ingrown hairs develop when hair grows into the skin instead of up and out. They occur more often after hair removal, as this can leave each hair with a sharp tip that can penetrate the skin and cause inflammation.
In this article, we discuss how people can treat and prevent razor bumps in the genital region.
Razor bumps can be uncomfortable, and it may take 4–6 weeks for the inflammation to settle. Although nothing can make them go away instantly, people can try a few methods to speed the healing process and provide relief.
Chemical peels, especially those containing
These are a type of steroid medicine that can
People can try using acne treatments, such as
In some cases, a short course of oral antibiotics may help treat infection and provide some anti-inflammatory effects. For example, a doctor may prescribe tetracycline if a person has severe inflammation or most bumps are pustules.
Some people can try using a physical, or mechanical, scrub to remove dead skin cells that may be plugging pores and trapping hairs. People can exfoliate their skin using a brush or sponge, or they can apply a skin care scrub that may contain sugar, salt, or tiny beads.
It is important to avoid scrubbing too hard, as this may cause further irritation.
Sterile tweezers or needles
If the ingrown hair is near the surface of the skin and visible, people may be able to remove the trapped hair gently using a sterile needle or tweezers. Doing this may help reduce the bump.
However, people should sterilize the needle or tweezers to prevent infection. They should also avoid digging for the hair, as this could cause further irritation or injury.
People can also try using natural remedies, such as
Razor bumps are ingrown hairs that people typically get after using a hair removal technique such as shaving. They are different than both razor burn and folliculitis.
People may confuse razor bumps with razor burn, as they both typically occur after shaving. However, razor burn does not cause bumps from ingrown hairs. Instead, it can present as a rash, an area of discoloration, or a burning sensation.
Folliculitis is similar to razor bumps, or pseudofolliculitis, but the difference between the two is the cause of inflammation in the hair follicle.
Folliculitis occurs when the hair follicle, which is a small skin cavity from which the hair grows, becomes inflamed due to an infection. On the other hand, pseudofolliculitis occurs due to inflammation from irritation and ingrown hairs following hair removal.
Ingrown hairs commonly occur in areas of the body that are subject to the use of hair removal techniques. These areas include the face, legs, and pubic area.
Hair in the pubic region is
The pubic region is also an area that is prone to friction due to walking, tight clothing, and sexual contact. Therefore, it is advisable for people to wear breathable underwear and not have sex soon after shaving. As the pubic area will be sensitive, any irritation could cause discomfort and increase the likelihood of razor bumps.
In addition to being able to differentiate between razor bumps, razor burn, and folliculitis, it is important to be able to determine when the symptoms might be due to something more serious. Certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may cause symptoms similar to razor bumps.
For example, genital herpes may also present with bumps, but these will be open sores that may scab over. Additionally, genital herpes will produce other symptoms, such as fever, a headache, body aches, and swollen glands.
Genital warts also present with bumps, but these will be rough-edged warts that may have a cauliflower appearance. These warts may also be prone to bleeding.
People can try a few different methods to prevent razor bumps from appearing in the pubic region.
Simply stopping or reducing the frequency of hair removal is the best method for preventing razor bumps. Shaving the pubic area is a personal choice, and no one should feel under pressure for their pubic hair to look a certain way. However, avoiding hair removal may not be preferable or possible for some people.
Prior to shaving or waxing, people can try to lower their risk of razor bumps by preparing the skin. They can do this by following these steps:
- cleansing and exfoliating the skin in the pubic area
- removing the hair after having a bath or shower or placing a warm, wet towel on the pubic area
- using an appropriate shaving cream, shaving gel, or waxing product
- avoiding skin care products containing ingredients that may irritate the skin
- using a fresh, sharp, and sterile razor
- shaving in the direction of hair growth
People can also use an electric shaver to trim their hair short. As this will keep the hair slightly longer than using a razor, it is less likely to cause irritation or ingrown hairs.
A person who wants to remove hair from their pubic region but wishes to avoid razor bumps can consider trying another hair removal technique.
For instance, they could try hair removal creams, or depilatories, which dissolve hair. This option should be painless and is unlikely to cause razor bumps. However, the cream contains chemicals that may irritate the skin. Therefore, it is advisable to carry out a patch test and follow the product instructions carefully to minimize the risk of symptoms.
Longer term solutions
Electrolysis involves inserting a very fine probe into the hair follicle and sending an electric current through it to destroy the hair follicle. Laser, or light, therapy uses intense light to damage hair follicles to reduce hair growth.
Both techniques offer long-term solutions to unwanted hair growth, but they may cause some pain or discomfort, and a person will require multiple treatments.
Learn more about the differences between electrolysis and laser hair removal.
Razor bumps form when hair removal techniques, such as shaving, lead to ingrown hairs. They commonly occur in the pubic area, where the hair tends to be coarse and curly.
People can treat razor bumps using gentle exfoliators, tweezers, or medication. They can attempt to prevent razor bumps by properly preparing the skin before hair removal or trying a different hair removal technique.