How to Get Rid of Razor Bumps From Head to Toe

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The primary way to get rid of razor bumps is to reduce the chance of hair reentering the skin as it regrows.

Razor bumps, medically known as pseudofolliculitis barbae, are hairs in which the end grows under the skin. This creates a bump and is also called an ingrown hair.

This article will discuss treatments that can include medicated creams, shaving cessation, and various prevention techniques.

receiving procedure at the dermatologist's office

Ivan-balvan / Getty Images

How to Treat Razor Bumps

Razor bumps can be found anywhere where hair is shaved or plucked. An inflammatory response occurs from the sharp tip of the hair pushing against the skin as it tries to grow out. The hair follicle begins to curve, which can make the hair tip grow back into the skin.

There are several treatment options for razor bumps. Treatment will be determined by your skin type, the location of the razor bump, and its severity.


The primary treatment for razor bumps is to reduce the chance of hair reentering the skin as it regrows. The best way to do that is to stop shaving or removing the hair. This will give the skin time to heal. However, that is not always possible. Below are ways to treat razor bumps on the face and neck:

  • Stop shaving or plucking: Symptoms may temporarily worsen as the hair grows out but this will subside over time.
  • Modify hair removal: If stopping hair removal isn't a possibility, try removing hair with hair clippers, a chemical depilatory, or laser hair removal.
  • Topical creams: These include low-potency corticosteroids, retinoids, glycolic acid, and antibiotics.


The first step to treating underarm razor bumps is to stop shaving. Shaving over the bumps causes additional irritation.

If there are only a few razor bumps, the hair can be pulled out from the bump with a sterile needle.

If you can't avoid shaving, make sure to first apply a warm washcloth to the area before shaving. This causes the hair shaft to swell and decreases the chance of causing a sharp tip on the regrowing hair. After using warm water, moisturize the area with shaving cream and shave with the grain of the hair.

To treat the razor bumps, topical corticosteroids can be used twice a week. An antibiotic may be prescribed to treat a bacterial infection that has developed. Another common treatment is retinoids.

Pubic Area

Any area of the skin that is shaved is prone to forming razor bumps, including the pubic area. The first step in treating razor bumps is to stop shaving. If completely stopping is not an option, use hair clippers and leave about 1 millimeter of hair. This will help prevent the hair from growing into the skin and causing a bump.

If there are already bumps that need to be taken care of there are topical treatments available.

Laser hair removal may help if you continue to experience razor bumps. This method destroys hair follicles and reduces the amount of hair and its thickness.


Razor bumps on the legs are treated the same as in other areas. The first step is to stop shaving. This can improve the razor bumps within a couple of months.

If you cannot stop shaving your legs, you may benefit from treating with topical creams to reduce inflammation, antibiotics to halt bacterial growth, and retinoids.

Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase your likelihood of developing razor bumps. They include:

  • Having tight, curly hair
  • Stretching the skin before shaving
  • Shaving against the grain
  • Using a blunt razor blade
  • Dry shaving
  • Shaving infrequently
  • Plucking
  • Having a genetic predisposition, namely being a carrier of the A12T polymorphism gene

Complications From Untreated Razor Bumps

Razor bumps are caused when hair grows back into the skin after it is removed. These bumps can cause irritating or painful complications like:

  • Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: This is when the skin color darkens from the inflammatory process.
  • Bacterial infection: Razor bumps can cause scratching, which can lead to an infection.
  • Scarring: The razor bump can result in a scar or a more serious keloid.

Razor Maintenance and Skin Hygiene

When shaving, it's important to use a razor with a sharp blade. Blunt blades can cause razor bumps. Using a razor that has two blades can also increase the chance of razor bumps. The first blade pulls at the hair while the second blade cuts it. But the pulled hair can retract into the hair follicle and grow back into the skin, causing a bump.

Proper skin hygiene can help prevent razor bumps. Before shaving, use warm water to soften the hair. Shaving cream should be applied to moisturize the area. After shaving, gently exfoliate the area until the hair regrows.

When to See a Dermatologist

See a dermatologist (a specialist treating conditions of the skin, hair, and nails) if razor bumps do not resolve on their own or if they become inflamed or infected. A specialist will be able to determine the best treatment plan and provide prescription medications to alleviate the bumps. If razor bumps happen frequently, a dermatologist can use laser hair removal to prevent future bumps.


Razor bumps are a common inflammatory skin condition caused by shaving or plucking hair. When the hair regrows, the tip of the hair curves and then grows down into the skin. This causes a bump that can make some people feel self-conscious or concerned. The best way to prevent razor bumps is to stop shaving. However, for some people that is not possible. The next best treatment is topical creams.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ogunbiyi A. Pseudofolliculitis barbae; current treatment optionsClin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019;12:241-247. doi:10.2147/CCID.S149250

  2. UpToDate. Pseudofolliculitis barbae.

By Patty Weasler, RN, BSN
Patty is a registered nurse with over a decade of experience in pediatric critical care. Her passion is writing health and wellness content that anyone can understand and use.