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Razor Bumps: Causes, Prevention, Treatment

Closely shaven hair has a sharp edge that can penetrate the skin, resulting in inflammation and swelling. This reaction—a normal bodily defense mechanism—is similar to the kind of reaction that occurs when you get a splinter in your finger.

Although razor bumps can affect everyone, people with curly hair, African Americans, Hispanics and other ethnicities that tend to have darker skin, are particularly affected. It’s because their hair tends to be curly, and with each curl it moves back into the skin once it has been shaved, which is why those with curly hair tend to experience ingrown hairs.

In fact, razor bumps are a big problem. They affect 60 percent of African Americans and Hispanics and 20 percent of Caucasians. And, not surprisingly, they’re a bigger problem for men than women because many men shave daily.

More recently, people have begun using cortisone and moisturizers and topical antibiotics to eliminate their razor bump, however topical treatments aren’t effective treatment approaches because they don’t penetrate the skin deep enough.

Fortunately, however, there are exciting new treatments on the horizon. Lasers are useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, arm, underarm, bikini line, and other areas.

Laser hair removal, such as the GentleLase laser, provide an exceptional list of benefits for long-term body hair treatment, which also eliminate the chances of razor bumps. Precision. Lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged. Speed. Each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time. The laser can treat an area approximately the size of a quarter every second. Small areas such as the upper lip can be treated in less than a minute, and large areas, such as the back or legs, may take up to an hour. Predictability. Ninety percent of patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to five sessions.

About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is the founder and medical director of the New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center. Dr. Rokhsar is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery, being one of the few select dermatologists in the country who is also fellowship trained in laser surgery. A researcher and innovator, Dr. Rokhsar is the creator of the non-surgical nose job and has been instrumental in the research and development of laser systems such as the Fraxel, CO2, Mirady, Vbeam, Themitight, and Ulthera devices. An Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Dr. Rokhsar actively teaches the cosmetic dermatology clinic to the resident at Mount Sinai. An expert injector of fillers, and a trainer for many companies, patients fly in from around the world to see Dr. Rokhsar in his Garden City and Manhattan offices in New York.

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