Maxim, April 2001
I get ingrown hairs on my face all the time. They look like zits and hurt like hell. Do I have to kill myself?
Not over this. Thick hair’s usually the culprit: Short of sporting an Amish beard, these annoying “razor bumps” (technically pseudofolliculitis barbae, but who cares?) are harder to avoid than Survivor: The Australian Outback. They form when a thick or curly hair bends at the tip as it grows, arching downward, puncturing the skin, and digging into an unsuspecting follicle. As if this weren’t bad enough, the clogged pore complains by forming an attractive pimple or whitehead.
The best way to treat ingrown hairs is first to allow your beard to grow out, says Charles E. Crutchfield III, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in St. Paul, Minnesota. Then learn the fine art of not shaving too closely. First step? Toss your overachieving double-blade razor or that crappy, dull, rusty one you’ve got and use a single blade, an electric razor, or the Bump Fighter razor by the American Safety Razor Company (540–248–8000). Then lather up well: Wetting the beard before cutting it will feather the hair tip so it’s no longer sharp enough to skewer your skin. Shave with the grain of your beard instead of against it, and don’t press down hard or pull the skin taut. It also helps to massage your mug with a soft-bristled toothbrush.