Afro –textured hair grows in a tiny spring-like, corkscrew shape, fewer actual hair shafts compared to straight hair, this texture appears (and feels) denser than its straight counterparts. Shaving the hair on head and face too close causes pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), or ingrown hairs or razor bumps. The inward-curving hair punctures the skin, causing an inflammatory reaction, irritation, pain and unsightly bumps.
Here are tips to remember about your shave.
- Shave daily with a sharp, single-blade razor. Dispose of razors every 2-3 days, as dull razors are more likely to cause irritation.
- Use shaving cream very liberally. The cream softens the hair, making it easier to cut and less likely to curve and pierce the skin to grow inward.
- Consider using a clipper instead of a razor. Although clippers do not give a close shave, they keep the hair long as a grain of rice, which is too long to curve and grow inward.
Some recommended treatment prescription creams to treat ‘razor bumps are:
- Erythromycin or clindamycin
- Clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide combination (Duac, Benzaclin) – A study of male subjects treated with a clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide combination cream revealed, for black patients, a mean percentage reductions in bumps ranging from 38.2% at week 2 to 63.9% at week 10.
- Adapalene (Differin) – Adapalene gel 0.1% applied at bedtime decreased bumps and dark marks resulting from the bumps
- Tretinoin (Retin-A) – In blacks, tretinoin 0.025% cream combined with hydrocortisone 2.5% cream twice daily for 8 weeks reduced bumps and dark marks
- Tazarotene (Tazorac) – Fifty African American or Hispanic patients who applied tazarotene 0.05% or 0.1% gel once daily for 90 days had a significant decrease in overall PFB severity after 60 days.
- Combination Fluocinolone acetonide 0.01%/ Hydroquinone 4%/Tretinoin 0.05 creams (TriLuma) – Ten African-American subjects who applied TriLuma nightly for 90 days had overall PFB improvement of 34.5% over baseline as well as improvement in the dark marks. (Source: brownskin.net)