Razor bumps are small, raised bumps in the skin that occur after shaving when strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin instead of outward from the hair follicle. They often become irritated and may even become infected and develop into pimples. Razor bumps are also called pseudofolliculitis barbae, and the best course of treatment is usually to stop shaving for a while until the bumps clear up. Picking on razor bumps can result in scarring and pigmentation changes.
Most razor bumps only last about a week, unless they are picked or irritated, which can make them last a lot longer. Razor bumps are easily infected because they are already irritated, and it is best to leave them alone and allow them to heal naturally. The natural healing process will usually last about a week when, like pimples, the bumps will begin to disappear on their own. Gentle exfoliation and treating with chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid may help to speed up the process.
Sometimes razor bumps can be prevented. Take a hot shower or bath to soften the hair, use a thick shaving cream and always shave in the direction of hair growth using short strokes. It is also recommended that a moisturizing lotion be used directly after shaving. Some alternatives to shaving such as laser or electrolysis can destroy the hair follicle and greatly reduce the incidence of razor bumps. Depilatory creams are also an option, but can be irritating to the skin.