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Post-shave spots: what causes them?

Post-shave spots: what causes them?

The frustration is immense when one spends time shaving the underarms, legs, bikini area, or even the beard, only to have redness and inflamed red bumps appear a few hours later, which can be more or less unsightly... What exactly is this? How can it be avoided?


What exactly are shaving bumps?

Shaving bumps and spots are inflammatory reactions related to the re-entry of hairs into the skin: we refer to this as ingrown hairs or folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle). These nuisances are medically known as pseudofolliculitis. Depending on the area, they are called pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), pseudofolliculitis pubis (particularly when the bumps appear in the pubic region)...

Shaving bumps can sometimes be accompanied by pain, a darkening of the skin due to excessive and localised melanin secretion, small papules (solid and rounded bumps) that can transform into pustules (lesions filled with pus and resembling blisters).

Shaving is not the only cause of these types of spots. Waxing or using an epilator can also lead to these inconveniences.

Although anyone who shaves can develop razor bumps, they are more likely to affect Afro-American men. Indeed, according to a study, between 45 and 85% of Afro-American men suffer from PFB. Furthermore, Hispanic individuals and those with curly hair are also more likely to develop razor bumps.

Caution! If you have significant spots in your beard area, consult a dermatologist. Indeed, PFB can be mistaken for barber's itch (tinea barbae), a fungal infection of the hairy areas that requires specific medication.

What causes shaving bumps?

Issues such as spots and redness typically result from a poorly maintained blade, a lack of care given to the skin, or even a poor shaving technique.

To counteract this, laser hair removal is a definitive method. However, while it is an excellent solution, it is not always financially feasible. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to make shaving less painful and to get rid of razor bumps.

What precautions should be taken?

Several simple actions can help to limit the occurrence of shaving spots.

  • Exfoliate your skin at least once a week.

    We cannot stress this enough! Exfoliation is crucial as it stimulates cellular renewal and removes accumulated keratinocytes on the surface of the epidermis, preventing pore blockage. This makes it easier for hairs to penetrate the horny layer and prevents them from curling under the skin. Moreover, scrubbing brings out the under-skin hairs, ensuring a close shave. For the face, you can use the radiance scrub with rosehip oil and organic carrot macerate. For body areas, we have developed a nourishing scrub as well as a toning scrub based on organic green coffee macerate (draining) and organic lemongrass and cedar essential oils (anti-cellulite).

  • Always shave on clean skin.

    This fundamental rule is sometimes overlooked. However, it is essential to minimise the risk of irritation and the development of ingrown hairs. You could, for instance, use our rebalancing cleansing care with nettle or if you prefer a gel texture, the purifying cleansing gel concentrated with sanitising active ingredients such as zinc PCA.

  • Adopting the appropriate actions during shaving.

    Shaving against the grain increases the risk of cuts and irritations. Shaving quickly becomes uncomfortable. Moreover, this practice can twist the hair, causing it to deviate from its path and curl back on itself, becoming a ingrown hair.

  • Moisturise the area to be shaved and use a foaming gel.

    Shaving with water alone increases the risk of irritation and cuts. Always use a shaving foam or gel when you shave. This product will create a protective barrier between the razor blade and your skin: it thus reduces friction and therefore the risk of cuts. Moreover, the presence of foam helps you to identify the areas you have already covered. This prevents you from going over the same area multiple times and thus irritating your skin.

  • Take good care of the blades!

    A poorly maintained blade is the cause of many inconveniences. Your shaving session will not proceed as it should. Normally, a single stroke is enough to shave the hairs in each area. However, with a blade already saturated with hairs and impurities, several strokes will be necessary. Also, avoid using a rusty or damaged blade so as not to unnecessarily harm the skin.

How to naturally soothe shaving bumps?

Some essential oils are recognised for their anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties. They are to be mixed with so-called carrier vegetable oils. You can thus resort to the tea tree essential oil, clary sage or even lavender aspic.


  • ROOPAL V. KUNDU &al., Dermatologic Conditions in Skin of Color: Part II. Disorders Occurring Predominantly in Skin of Color, Am Fam Physician. (2013).


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