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What's the Difference Between Razor Burn and Ingrown Hairs?

Men and women around the world are familiar with the worst outcomes of shaving: ingrown hairs. Cuts can be bad, but those ingrown nightmares are worse. Razor bumps can also be pretty bad. The thing is, a lot of us get used to dealing with them as we continue to shave. For manscapers, that might not be an option. How do you acclimate to an ingrown hair cutting a path across your junk? It’s unthinkable. So, today we’re going to learn about ingrown hairs and razor bumps. You’ll be able to distinguish between the two and treat them properly. Best of all, we have some killer tips to help you avoid the problem altogether. You'll be able to answer the question: What's the difference between razor burn and ingrown hairs?

What Is Ingrown Hair?

The name pretty much says it. When hair is cut or removed to a point below the outermost surface of the skin, it can grow back wrong. In the case of being ingrown, hairs curl back on themselves instead of breaking back through the skin. This can cause irritation, redness and can even fill with pus and become infected. It’s really sexy stuff.

Primarily, there are two ways hairs can ingrow. The first is called transfollicular. That’s a big science-y word that says that the hair grows sideways instead of straight up. Transfollicular growth can lead to a long red line where the hair continues to grow and never shoots up through the skin. Most people are familiar with this and take care of the problem before it gets too bad, but this is the traditional ingrown hair that plagues all of your nightmares. Just imagine that on your ball sack. Actually, don’t.

What Are Razor Bumps?

Wait a minute. We just said there are two types of ingrown hairs and only explained one. That’s right. Razor bumps are the other kind. Known medically as extrafollicular penetration, razor bumps occur when the hair curls in on itself but doesn’t grow sideways. In some cases the hair will successfully push through after curling. In others it won’t. Regardless, the razor bump will get red and raised, and as the problem persists, it can fill with pus, grow larger and more irritated and basically ruin your whole life.

In less severe cases, you can get razor bumps without true extrafollicular penetration. Rather than curl on itself, the hairs simply irritate the skin as they break back through the surface of the skin. This is extremely common, and, thankfully, self-resolving. It mostly happens because shaved hairs can become sharp and literally cause small amounts of damage to your flesh as they do their thing. It’s weird to think about, but this case of razor bumps is rarely anything to worry about. Instead of pus-filled notches on your skin, you get a bunch of small bumps that look kind of like a rash. It still isn’t sexy, but at least it goes away.

what's the difference between razor burn and ingrown hairs

How Do You Treat Ingrown Hair?

We’ll get to prevention in a minute, but if you find you have ingrown hair of any variety, there is a right and wrong way to deal with it. The traditional wisdom is to pop the raised skin and pull the hair out with tweezers or something comparable. Apparently, every dermatologist in the world thinks this is a bad idea. They seem convinced that we plebeians will use non-sterile tools and risk infection. They’re probably right.

If the issue can’t resolve itself, you want to enlist professional help.  A dermatologist can safely extract the hair and allow it to grow correctly. To be clear about this, you don’t need to run to the doctor because you have a razor bump. If it persists and becomes very irritated or infected, then go to the doctor. As we’re trying to emphasize, most of the razor bumps will sort themselves out with a little time.

How Can You Prevent Ingrown Hair?

Since dermatologists are not known for their bargain pricing, a little prevention goes a long way. Essentially, you can break your prevention plan into three parts: grooming technique, grooming treatment, and not being a nasty piece of human filth. Let’s start with grooming.

When you shave, you rarely cut the hair perfectly. This isn’t a pot shot at your skills; it’s just how razors work. That means that shaved hairs can effectively be sharpened by a razor. That sharp hair is what causes those tiny bumps you just read about. It also increases the chances that a hair will curl back on itself and cause the greater ingrown problems. The technique to solve this is to shave with the grain. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Going against the grain gets you a closer or smoother shave. It also comes at the price of leaving your skin red and gross.

Speaking of closer shaves, if you really have a recurring problem, you can always settle for a little stubble. Stubble signifies that the hair is still above the surface of the skin, hence it cannot become ingrown. Still, we all value a little smoothness here and there, so you can apply the next two techniques. 

There are treatments that can go a long way in this battle. A proper treatment will help you with skin moisture and pH. For moisture, a good body wash like Crop Cleanser will get you started. If you need a little extra hydration through the day, you want a supplement. Crop Reviver is perfect for anything below the waist. Lotion works for the rest. As for pH, both of these formulas have Active pH Control. This will help restore the acid mantle after a shave, so it’s important to use them pretty much right away. For the dense cave men out there, that means you should shower after every shave and apply Crop Reviver after every shower. 

The last technique to prevent ingrown hair ties to what you just read. You need to be less nasty. We know. It’s hard, but we believe in you. This boils down to something simple. First, as we just said, shower after every shave. But, you have to shower effectively. Crop Cleanser is great, but it works best with a little scrubbing. More specifically, you need to exfoliate in the shower. This means getting a loofah or a gentle washcloth and using it. The exfoliation removes excess skin cells, dirt and oils without irritating your skin. These are all things that can obstruct hair growth and contribute to ingrowns.

Stick to a Routine

Preventing ingrown hairs is accomplished by using the same routine that solves all of your manscaping issues. Let’s go back over it to make sure you won’t have trouble.

what's the difference between razor burn and ingrown hairs


The Lawn Mower 2.0 is the best body trimmer in the business. It can get extremely close where you want it. That gives you the freedom to trim without shaving in any regions that are prone to ingrown hairs and excess irritation. We recommend making the most of it. Note: this doesn’t mean you should just abandon the cutting guards and bring everything down to a minimal crop. You’re still aiming for some style in your bush, but you might be able to mitigate the need for shaving with an extremely close trim. 

Shave Carefully

You’re still going to give in and shave at least a little. The Plow has a design that will force you to use better technique. The short, controlled strokes that are necessary with a double-edged safety razor will lead you to minimize irritation and get a more tangential shave. Long story short, it will minimize the sharpness of the hairs you do shave, and, as you just learned, this is a great way to help the hairs grow back correctly.

Clean Properly

You just read about showering and the value of good formulas. You don’t need to see it again. We’re just going to take this moment to remind you of two more valuable tools. Crop Preserver is your favorite deodorant that goes on between the shower and Crop Reviver. Also, in the name of cleanliness, don’t forget your Magic Mat. If any of you know an easier way to handle the mess of body groom, we’re all ears. No? That’s what we thought.

what's the difference between razor burn and ingrown hairs

Thus concludes today’s lesson. Hopefully you’re better educated on ingrown hair and razor bumps. They say that knowledge is power, or whatever, so go forth and have fewer shaving problems! Still, we know you can’t live without us, so check back in with We’ll have more vital information for you soon.



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