Razor bumps are a common skin condition that occurs as a result of shaving. The condition is more common in men and usually occurs on the face. Razor bumps are more than just an annoyance; in some cases, they can cause permanent damage if they’re not treated.

Razor bumps can occur anywhere that’s been shaved. Waxing, plucking, and removal by chemical depilatory may cause the condition in some cases, too. 

They’re most likely to occur in the following areas: 

  • Face (particularly the chin, neck, and lower cheeks) 
  • Underarms 
  • Groin 
  • Legs

Causes and risk factors

The bumps occur when curly hair get stuck inside the hair follicles. Instead of growing straight out of the follicle, hairs meet resistance from dead skin at more steeply angled pore openings and the hair curls back around inside the pore.


Razor bumps are fairly common and can usually be diagnosed with a physical examination.

Treatment options

Irritated red bumps can be treated with a combination of: 

  • Prescription antibacterial lotions
  • Warm compresses with green tea bags 
  • Spot treatment with over-the-counter steroid creams
  • Sterile incision and extraction of the hair are sometimes necessary. 
  • Laser hair removal or electrolysis is also an effective option in some cases. Find out which option is best for you.


If treated early, most serious complications from razor bumps can be avoided. In some cases, however, if the bumps aren’t treated, there’s a risk of scarring. This can include keloid scarring, which consists of hard, raised bumps. In rare cases, abscesses may form, and you may need surgical intervention.