The stereotype of big, voluminous beards being itchy is partially true – at least if you don’t know how to take care of it.
A beard can cause dry skin if you don’t adapt your grooming routine. If your beard is thick or longer than an inch, you will need to exfoliate and hydrate regularly to avoid itchiness and beard dandruff. Use an exfoliant to remove dead hair then moisturize any exposed skin and apply beard oil or balm, working it through with a comb or brush.
Keep reading to find out why your beard might be making your skin dry and what to do about it.
Does having a beard dry your skin?
You might think that growing a thick beard will protect the delicate skin of your face from the elements, but now that you’ve got one it’s not really true. Is the beard drying out your skin?
Your beard may be leading to dry skin in a couple of different ways, including:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Improper hygiene products
- Skin coverage
It is possible your face is being deprived of hydration as a result of your beard, and this will become more obvious the longer, thinking, and bushier your beard becomes. To avoid this, you should wash your beard using a dedicated facial hair shampoo, exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin, and add moisture back to both your skin and beard.
Dandruff and dry beard skin
Remember that every hair you have grows out of a follicle and every follicle has a sebaceous gland.
These glands produce sebum, which is supposed to act as an oil to help skin and hair retain moisture. Sebum has also been linked to a condition called seborrheic dermatitis, where patches of skin dry out and flake off as dandruff. Usually, this dermatitis affects the scalp but also crops up on facial skin.
Nobody knows for sure what causes this, though it is likely the overproduction of sebum or the presence of a type of yeast called Malassezia, which feeds off the sebum.
If you start getting unusual white flecks in your beard, then you likely need some topical treatment. Stay away from petroleum jelly, and instead opt for beard shampoos containing ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or pyrithione zinc.
If dandruff trouble persists, check with a dermatologist.
Improper hygiene products
Continuing on from the idea that some chemicals are better for your skin than others, it’s important to understand the difference between regular shampoo and beard shampoo.
Hair shampoo cleans by stripping natural oils and can contain ingredients that will dry out both your hair and skin. Beard washes and shampoos will include soothing ingredients like aloe vera and oils to hydrate your face and beard. After washing, you should also apply beard oil or balm to seal in moisture.
Generally speaking, any shampoos or other products containing lauryl sulfates will provide a deeper clean, but it will not be good for your face.
Additionally, hot water is more likely to damage your hair and skin than warm and cold water. Extended exposure to heat, even if it is a liquid, will be an additional external factor that could dry out your skin.
Just because you’re facial skin is out of sight, it should never be out of mind.
The beard covering your skin can lead to sebum or dead skin building up because it’s more difficult to wash it away. Thick hair can also prevent ambient moisture from hydrating your skin.
Cleaning and brushing your beard can help mitigate this problem, but you should exfoliate regularly to remove build-up.
How do you treat dry skin under your beard?
Do you have to shave your beard off every couple of months to avoid dry skin and gross build-up? While some guys choose to start clear occasionally, there are ways to refresh your flesh without breaking out the razor.
To treat dry skin under your beard:
- Maintain the routine
Our bodies shed something like 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells every day. You probably won’t notice under regular circumstances, but if your beard is keeping some of those dead cells from shedding away, you’ll definitely take note after a while.
Beard hair and excess sebum can cause dead skin to build up on the skin under your beard. Exfoliating with a chemical scrub or a dry brush can help remove that buildup.
While exfoliating regularly is important, you probably won’t need to do it more than 2-3 times a month. Exfoliating too much can, ironically, dry your skin out.
Check out this article for 6 ways to exfoliate your beard.
After washing your beard, you need to apply a moisturizer in order to replace the moisture in your skin.
Use a beard conditioner or beard oil to soften your beard and provide moisture for your skin and beard. A beard brush or comb can be used to work the product through your beard. A beard brush can do double duty by also acting as a mild exfoliant!
The best time to apply your product of choice is when you’re toweling yourself off after a bath or shower when the beard is damp and your pores are more open.
Are beard combs and brushes really worth it? Check out this article for the answer!
Maintain the routine
Every solution requires a necessary level of patience and discipline.
Unfortunately, no dry skin solution works immediately. Identify your ideal grooming routine and stick to it unless you see an obvious negative reaction. Your skin will probably take a little while to adjust!
Don’t give up just because your dry skin doesn’t clear up after applying balm once.
Can a beard cause skin problems?
Aside from dry skin, a beard and growing a beard can cause other problems.
Potential skin problems that may arise from your beard are:
- Ingrown hairs – While hairs can become ingrown anywhere on the body, facial hair is more susceptible to being ingrown at the stubble phase.
- Staph infections – The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus naturally lives on parts of your body harmlessly but can also infect and inflame portions of dry or clogged skin.
- Sycosis barbae – What some people confuse for acne may actually be a contagious infection of the follicles that is best treated with antibiotic cream and careful shaving with a very sharp, clean razor.
- Lice – While not as likely as other potential issues, it is possible for beards, especially curly one, to attract pubic lice.
How often should I wash my beard?
Should you wash your beard every time you shower? Maybe. Depends on how often you jump under the spray!
A good rule of thumb is to wash your beard 2-3 times a week. You must find a balance between keeping your beard clean and drying out your skin.
However, if you happen to dirty your beard, you should prioritize not having pollutants that could harm your hair. If it’s just a little dirty, try doing some spot-cleaning.
Can kissing someone with a beard cause dry skin?
Sometimes called ‘beard burn’ or ‘stache rash,’ kissing someone with stubble can definitely lead to discomfort.
The friction caused by kissing someone with a beard can cause dry skin and irritation or even breakouts if no products (or the wrong ones) are being used. The good news is that longer beards tend to be much less bothersome!
Hey, Romeo, check out this article for more tips and tricks about how to kiss with a mustache and beard.