RAZOR BUMPS; An eye-opener
BOGOF (BUY ONE GET ONE FREE)
‘Buy one get one free’ is the first thing that comes to my mind when I see men with souvenir bumps from their visit to barbers or wanzami* (pronounced wanzam).
Razor bumps or Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) is reaction caused by shaving and it is primarily seen in men at the back of the head or the chin. It can also occur on any body part where hair is shaved or plucked, including the axilla(armpits), pubic area, and legs.
The small, angry bumps appear after shaving when the strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin. It is common among darker-skinned people with coarse curly hair. The itching that comes with this inflammation simply cannot be explained in English (scratches in pigin).
At a time, word on the street was that modern barbing was the cause of this condition and many men fled their barbers’ shops and returned to the good old wanzami for their hair and beard shave only to discover that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Many resorted to topical application of medications to clear the spots thus unknowingly getting corticosteroids indiscriminately; the resultant effect of this is story for another day. The good news is that there are things you can do to stop the bumps from occurring:
- Avoid pulling skin while shaving
- Reduce the frequency of shaving
- Replace your razor frequently
- Shave in the direction of hair growth.
The 100% effective way to prevent them is to stop shaving, but not every guy wants to grow a beard and as soon as you do start shaving again, they’re likely to come right back. While razor bumps generally are not harmful, they’re not exactly attractive, and they can turn into a more serious issue known as Barber’s rash, which is a secondary infection of the hair follicles in the affected areas.
Healthy alternatives are available to help with the bumps and many are easily found around us. Home care remedies include Aloe vera, which is used to soothe inflamed area, Tea tree oil is legendary for treating inflammations, Witch hazel with astringent properties helps to shrink the bumps, and Sugar makes an excellent skin scrub that works to eliminate ingrown hair.
If all else fails, beard gang may be the way to go and since it is still in vogue you can join the wagon.
*Hausa name for the traditional barber who is involved in barbing, circumcision, horn therapy and related consultancy. A typical Wanzami is always seen carrying his bag, in which his sharp blade-like knife is stashed alongside items like his cup, a piece of soap, charcoal, herbs and some other secret items.