Are These Pimples After Shaving?

Tips to Prevent and Treat

 Piotr Marcinski / EyeEm/Getty Images

Pimples after shaving can be a really annoying side effect. Areas with thicker hair like the bikini zone, chest, and on a man’s face are especially prone even if you don’t normally have a problem with blemishes.

But trading in hairless skin for a breakout doesn’t have to be part of the deal. If you don't have acne, a couple steps should help you achieve smoother and clearer skin.

If you do have acne, see how to shave with acne and suggestions for your shaving kit.

Are They Ingrown Hairs or Razor Bumps?

Getting ingrown hairs or razor bumps, where the hair is growing in the skin often happens from using the razor. Because the end of the hair is supposed to be facing out, not in, skin often gets infected.

It then can turn into a mega-looking zit, often a whitehead, on top of the bump. If you can prevent hair from becoming ingrown, then you’re a step ahead of the game of getting these types of pimples.

Lightly Exfoliate First

Getting rid of dead skin cells not only helps get a closer shave but cleans skin. There’s less chance of transferring bacteria causing pimples to pop up. Depending on where you're removing hair, use a gentle face or body scrub, or an ayate washcloth and your favorite body wash pre-shave.

If you shave your face or another area daily, exfoliating every time is likely overdoing it and will probably do more harm than good. If your skin is burning, feeling tight, dry, or extra sensitive, cut back.

Use a Pre-Shave Oil

I know what you might be thinking, ‘Why would I want to put on any oil, doesn’t that cause breakouts?’ In short, artificial ones like silicon and mineral can clog pores and encourage blemishes. Natural oils that are too heavy for a skin type might as well, but the right kinds soften skin and certain ones have properties to actually fight bacteria, a pre-cursor to pimples.

A good pre-shave oil (a couple drops underneath shave gel or cream) assists in protecting skin so that the razor glides, instead of pulls- leading to less irritation, redness and ingrown hair. Since shaving depletes moisture from the skin, this also replenishes some of what has been lost.

Keep Razor Squeaky Clean

When the blade hits the skin, it exfoliates, removing dead skin cells. And where do you think many of those dead skin cells end up? Let’s face it, just quickly rinsing the blade under some water doesn’t remove all traces of sloughed off skin, not to mention clinging product. This not only dulls the blade way before its time, any bacteria introduced can promote pimples on freshly shaved skin.

While shaving, rinse your blade regularly to remove hair and product so you get a close shave and leave the least amount of invaders. After shaving, rinse the blade on all sides thoroughly. Shake off water. Clean with an alcohol wipe.

Don’t store it in the shower if you want it to last longer (see more: How to Extend a Razor Blade's Life). For a quicker option, check out the Razor Pit which cleans and ‘sharpens’ the razor for you in a couple strokes.

Use Aftershave

We’re not talking about a cheap alcohol splash. The alcohol may provide some help battling breakouts fighting bacteria but can cause massive dryness, flakiness, and itching. A better option is an aftershave that will also moisturize, soothe and have less harsh ingredients to keep pimples at bay.

Witch hazel is a natural astringent that can be applied after shaving to help reduce any irritation and fight bacteria. Many witch hazels contain some alcohol which may be drying. Fortunately, there are alcohol-free brands like Thayer's.

Stay Away From Tight Clothing

A very snug collar around the neck or extremely fitted pants or underwear can constrict the skin, not giving it enough room to 'breathe' so to speak. This can trap oil in the hair follicle. Can you guess what might happen next?