• Mayo Clinic Minute

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Shaving too close can cause skin problems

As No-Shave November ends, many men will be returning to their razors to take off that facial hair. But Mayo Clinic dermatologists say shaving too close to the skin can cause problems for some people.

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Sometimes you can get too close of a shave.

"If you go to trim or shave your hair, particularly if you're a man or particularly if you are skin of color and a male, it's very easy for those hairs if they are trimmed closely to turn in on themselves and then pierce the skin," says Dr. Dawn Davis, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist.

She says those ingrown hairs can become inflamed and infected.

"That can cause little bumps that erupt like razor burn, but more extensive along the beard area and the neck. And that we call acne keloidalis or acne barbae, or other conditions that then cause lumps of retained hair along the beard area, mustache area or back of the neck," says Dr. Davis.

It's most common in men who have tight, curled hair. The bumps start small, but eventually can enlarge and create scars on the face and neck.

"If they start to see these acnelike bumps or little scar tissuelike bumps, they should make sure that they're washing appropriately. They should be careful with their trimming practices to not shave as close to the skin. And they should investigate whether they could have an infection and, if so, seek treatment," says Dr. Davis.

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