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Why Do Black Men Get Razor Bumps? Posted by: MinNefer "Mjayi" Mernahkem

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Razor bumps are a common concern among men, but Black men tend to experience them more frequently. In fact, up to 80% of Black men have encountered razor bumps at some point. This makes it crucial for Black men to adopt careful shaving practices to prevent ingrown hairs.

The Link Between Curly Hair and Razor Bumps The primary reason Black men are more susceptible to razor bumps compared to their white or Asian counterparts is the nature of their hair. Coarse and curly hair is more inclined to become ingrown. When a hair is cut below the skin's surface, it can grow back into the skin, leading to razor bumps. Curly hair, with its natural tendency to curl back towards the skin, is especially prone to this.

A study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed that curly hair has a 50x higher likelihood of becoming ingrown compared to straight hair. The study identified a specific gene more prevalent in individuals prone to ingrown hairs.

Razor Bumps, Scarring, and Black Skin The ingrown hairs can cause skin irritation and inflammation, which can be exacerbated by continued shaving over the affected area. The body's response is to produce collagen to mend the damaged skin. Sometimes, this can result in keloid scarring, where the collagen extends into healthy tissue, leaving a visible scar. Darker skin tones are more susceptible to keloid scarring. This means Black men face a dual challenge: a higher risk of razor bumps and a greater likelihood of resultant scarring. Given that darker skin tones have a 15-20x higher risk of keloid scarring, it's imperative for Black men to adopt effective shaving methods and treatments to mitigate razor bumps.

Addressing Razor Bumps in Black Men While genetics and ethnicity can predispose one to razor bumps, there are preventive measures available. While ceasing to shave is an option, Black men shouldn't have to forgo a clean-shaven appearance. For those who prefer not to sport a beard, the following shaving recommendations can help prevent ingrown hairs and skin irritation:

  • Shaving Technique: Black men should consider not shaving too close to the skin. Given that stubble is less conspicuous on Black skin, a clean-shaven appearance can be achieved by trimming hairs to about 1mm above the skin's surface.

  • Shaving Direction: Always shave in the direction of hair growth. Going against the grain can strain the skin, increasing the risk of razor burn.

  • Preparation: Use warm water to moisten the skin, softening the hair and opening up the pores. Preparing the skin with a quality pre-shave product can also help.

  • Post-Shave Care: Always apply a post-shave product to soothe and hydrate the skin after shaving.

  • Handling Razor Bumps: If razor bumps do appear, refrain from shaving until they've healed. Continuing to shave over them can lead to further irritation and potential scarring.

By adopting these practices, Black men can enjoy a smooth, bump-free shaving experience. I hope this revised version captures the essence of the original while offering a fresh perspective. If you'd like any further adjustments, please let me know!

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