The Ronald O. Perelman
Department of Dermatology

The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology is known nationally and internationally for its innovative leadership in patient care, education and research. We welcome you to visit our website and view our tradition of excellence that has kept us at the frontiers of American medicine - and has meant so much to the health and well-being of people here in New York and around the world.


What are razor bumps?

Many patients ask about razor bumps and what causes them.

Essentially, razor bumps are a condition where the hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin. The condition is seen primarily among people who have curly hair and is prevalent among African-American men. It may or may not be accompanied by an infection of the hair follicle. Anything that causes the hair to be broken off short with a sharp tip can cause an ingrown hair. Razor bumps occur because of several reasons. Shaving habits, razor blades, curly hairs. The one thing they have in common is that the hair gets trapped under the skin, and can't grow out.

Shaving is the leading cause, followed by waxing and even laser treatment.


Treatments that work

There are several products that claim to help treat ingrown hairs, but the reality is that Salicylic-

and Glycolic acid are the only active substances that can visibly improve razor bumps. It is a

dermatological-grade ingredient that exfoliates, moisturizes, clears pores and can help prevent

infection. Use a post-shave product with glycolic acid so it remains on your skin the whole day.

Use only a non-acnegenic shaving cream specially formulated for sensitive skin, with lots of

lubricating agents (foam-based shaving creams can often dry and irritate your skin).


ItÕs important to avoid any product that contains alcohol, despite common belief. Alcohol could seriously worsen ingrown hairs by drying out the skin and cause pores to clog.


There are many over the counter products on the market. IÕve tried many of them myself and have discussed many of them with patients. Of all IÕve tried over the past 12 years, the one I most recommend is Bump Down by Barc. ItÕs the only product IÕm aware of that contains Glycolic acid and is free of skin irritating ingredients such as alcohol, fragrance and soap. Bump Down also can prevents razor bumps from occurring in the first place as many of my patients limit the frequency with which they shave due to the pain and irritation that occurs when their beard starts to grow back in.


With any razor bump treatment, itÕs important to use everyday for best results. Just because the visibility of the bumps may disappear in a few days, doesnÕt mean they wonÕt reappear. Add this this to your daily regimen and youÕll see noticeable improvement.