For many men, their beard is one of their most defining features—but hopefully not it’s not due to the rash that sometimes comes with it. While growing a beard can be an incredibly satisfying experience, all beards start as stubble–and with stubble can come an uncomfortable and unattractive dry skin rash. Here’s what you need to know about beard rash, what can cause a rash on your face, how to treat it, and how to prevent it in the first place.
Simply put, the friction between your beard stubble and your bare facial skin can lead to a dry skin rash commonly known as “beard rash.” A number of factors can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop a beard rash, including using the wrong products and not taking care of your facial hair properly. Whatever the cause, a beard rash can be unpleasant–and as the area gets increasingly infected with bacteria, the problem can worsen even further.
What Causes an Itchy Beard?
Beard rash can be caused by several factors. First and foremost, using the wrong shaving products can irritate your skin by cutting too deeply. It can be tempting to use cheap disposable razors rather than investing in a more expensive electric alternative.
Unfortunately, the harsh blades of disposable razors are usually not gentle enough on the skin. This leads to deep cuts that cause irritation, bumps, and a face rash. Opting for an electric trimmer, combined with facial hair scissors, can seriously cut back on this common irritant.
An itchy beard can also be caused by beard hair that is too dry. If you don’t have a good beard oil in your medicine cabinet, there’s a likely chance this is the cause of your beard rash. Using beard oil after you shower can help your facial hair maintain moisture and reduce skin irritation.
In an attempt to get cleaner, many men increase the temperature of their showers. Unfortunately, using water that is too hot to cleanse your beard can actually make your dry skin rash worse. Cold water is a much better choice when it comes to cleaning your facial hair.
Lastly, much like using the wrong razor, using the wrong comb can make beard itch significantly worse. Many men assume that the comb they use for their hair can be used on their face. Not so! The hair on your head and the hair on your face have very different textures and need different types of combs. Using the same comb can lead to damage, breakage, and beard rash.
How to Treat Beard Itch
If you’re already facing the symptoms of beard rash, there are several steps you can take to promote healing and reduce the signs of dry skin rash. First, take a break from shaving for a while. We noted above that using the wrong razor is one of the biggest causes of beard rash.
Giving your facial skin a reprieve from any sort of shaving can help speed up the healing process. Make sure to continue to use beard oil in order to keep your facial hair and skin moisturized.
Keeping your face clean can also help treat beard itch. Using a specially-designed beard shampoo, aim to wash your facial hair about twice weekly. Be careful to avoid rubbing your skin too harshly while washing your beard, however; doing so can further irritate the skin and increase the longevity of the skin rash. Make sure to use a new clean towel to dry your face each time after washing your beard, patting the hair and skin dry gently.
Severe beard rash may need a more powerful treatment. Hydrocortisone ointment can help treat the worst cases of itchy beard skin rash. This ointment helps to reduce inflammation associated with beard rash and increase your skin’s ability to heal. You can apply hydrocortisone cream up to four times a day.
For additional help, you can also add an aloe-based lotion (which helps to soothe irritated skin) and tea tree oil (which helps fight skin infections) to your daily routine.
Once you’ve finally gotten rid of your annoying beard itch, you should probably take steps to ensure that it doesn’t come back again.
If you haven’t already, invest in the right tools to maintain your beard. That includes an electric razor, facial hair scissors, a comb intended for facial hair, shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for beards, and beard oil. Make sure that you ditch any products that can interfere with maintaining a healthy beard such as disposable razors and bar soap used to wash your facial hair.
You should also establish a daily beard care routine. Important steps in such a routine include combing the beard oil throughout your beard to help maximize its hydrating effects and to prevent ingrown hairs. You also want to find the right cleansing routine.
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As previously noted, washing your beard too much and using water that’s too hot can lead to skin cracking and dryness. Many men find that washing their beard using a shampoo specifically intended for beards twice a week is the right amount. Often, however, beard conditioner needs to be used more frequently than shampoo–as much as three or four times weekly.
Lastly, stop roughly towel drying your beard. It can be tempting to do so in order to get your beard hair drier quickly, but the tugging and pulling that aggressive towel rubbing can easily irritate your skin and lead to skin rash. Try gently patting your facial hair dry instead.
How do we take care of the skin under our beard? Here are some tips from George Bruno:
Beard rash is no fun, but it is somewhat of a rite of passage when growing a beard. Many of the men you see with full, burly beards have faced rash on beard at some point in their facial hair journey. Luckily, there are steps you can take to clear up dry skin rashes on your face and prevent them from recurring.
What other tips to prevent beard rash can you share with us? Drop them in the comments section!