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What Are Shaving Pimples?

By Madeleine A.
Updated May 21, 2024
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Shaving pimples are irritated reddened bumps that typically occur on the face, armpits, neck, and groin area after shaving. Some people are prone to infected shaving pimples, while in others, they are just a temporary nuisance. When shaving pimples become infected, they can cause pain, inflammation, and pus formation. When this occurs, a health care provider needs to be consulted who may recommend topical or oral antibiotics.

People with curly hair are more prone to razor bumps or shaving pimples. When the hair is curly, it has the tendency to curl back into the skin causing shaving pimples. The risk of shaving pimples can be reduced by using a moisturizing shaving gel that can prepare the area for an irritation-free shave. Using a single blade razor instead of a multiple blade razor can also reduce the risk of developing shaving bumps.

Instead of shaving every day, people at risk for shaving pimples should consider shaving less frequently, if possible. When daily shaving is necessary, an electric razor will help reduce the risk of shaving bumps as will exfoliating the skin a few hours after shaving. Exfoliation will help hair growth penetrate through the skin, making it less likely to curl back down and forming a bump. Moistening the face with hot water prior to shaving will open the pores, providing a more comfortable and smoother shave.

Using a dull razor will also increase the risk of shaving pimples, as well as cuts and nicks. When shaving bumps or ingrown hairs become persistent, alternative methods of hair removal can be considered. Depilatory creams will eliminate hair at the root and prevent shaving bumps, and if a more extreme result is desired, the individual might consider laser hair removal treatments.

To learn more about proper shaving techniques and how to further prevent shaving bumps, people should consider getting a professional shave at the barber shop. A barber can demonstrate various techniques that will help prevent shaving bumps. These techniques may include applying hot towels to the area being shaved and using a moisturizing, thick shave cream that has been heated in a special canister.

Making sure that the razor does not harbor bacteria is also important in reducing the risk of infection when shaving. Razor bumps and pimples can be worsened by bacteria, so the razor should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol prior to use. Prior to shaving, however, the razor should be completely dried, because traces of wet alcohol can cause burning and irritation to the skin.

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Discussion Comments
By cloudel — On Jan 11, 2013

@Perdido – You should try using an electric razor! I was scared to use one at first, but I found one made for women that has a guard on the front to protect against cuts, and it has worked wonderfully.

I don't use it all over my legs, but I use it around my bikini line and under my arms. These are areas that are easily irritated, but the gentle electric razor doesn't cause pimples to form here.

I do have to go over the areas about three times to get a really good shave, but it's worth it. I change out the cutters and the shavers every six months to keep it working correctly, and I actually save money by not having to buy a new razor every two weeks.

By wavy58 — On Jan 10, 2013

I don't normally keep track of how long I've been using my disposable razor, but I can tell when I need to change it by the pimples under my arms. Usually, the razor gives a close shave without causing any irritation, but once it starts to cause red bumps filled with pus to appear, I know that it has become dull.

I use alcohol on my underarms instead of deodorant for a couple of days. This gives the bumps a chance to heal, and it keeps my pain to a minimum.

By Perdido — On Jan 10, 2013

I get these bright red pimples on my bikini line after shaving with a disposable triple blade razor. Even though it isn't dull, it causes a problem in that area.

The bumps are painful, because my underwear comes in contact with them. I apply alcohol to them once they appear, but this burns a lot.

Aloe vera gel helps soothe my skin, but it doesn't get rid of the bumps right away. I'm considering switching from a bikini to a swimsuit with a skirt on it so that I can skip shaving in this area. I can't have fun at the beach with tender spots that hurt every time I move.

By JackWhack — On Jan 09, 2013

I tried a hair removal cream on my legs, but even that gave me red bumps. My skin is just really sensitive to chemicals.

The bumps were more like a rash than actual pimples, though. The area burned a lot, so I applied aloe and just waited for it to get better.

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