Remember the days of your hormone-driven youth? The angst and awkwardness seemed to last forever, but thankfully it was a short moment in time. Peach fuzz eventually turned to full-blown facial hair. Annoying acne flare-ups were traded in for clearer skin. But for some, acne left behind a permanent reminder of adolescence – scarring. Can a beard cover acne scars? Maybe.
A beard can cover acne scars if the scarring is light and there is enough healthy skin to produce thick hair around the area. The key to covering up facial scarring is letting the surrounding facial hair grow long enough to lie down and hide the area.
Read on to learn more about acne and beards!
How beards cover acne scars
Acne is the most common skin problem. Eighty percent of us will encounter facial bumps by the age of 30. Acne can present differently, from small whiteheads to deep, painful cysts. The deeper acne lesions go, the more likely they are to result in scarring.
Men have a chance to cover up unsightly scarring by growing a beard.
Beards cover acne scars when the hair above the scarring is long enough and thick enough to grow over and hide the damaged area. Shorter beard styles often won’t provide enough coverage to cover bald spots.
These scars can present as pitted marks or raised areas. In either case, the hair follicles under the skin have been damaged. Healthy follicles are needed to grow hair. Since we are born with a set number of hair follicles, the damaged ones can not be regenerated.
This can result in bald spots when growing a beard.
Can beard hair still grow on acne scars?
Statistics show that 1 out of 5 acne sufferers will encounter scarring. If the scars cover a good portion of your lower face, this can adversely affect your ability to grow the beard of your dreams.
Beard hair can not naturally grow on acne scars due to hair follicle damage. A surgical procedure called follicular unit transfer can insert hair follicles taken from the scalp into scarred areas. Beard hairs can then grow from these transplanted healthy follicles.
The follicular unit transfer is similar to scalp hair restoration. Existing hair follicles are harvested from areas of the scalp where the hair is the thickest. The follicles are moved and inserted into small incisions or needle punches in the scarred area.
Since these follicles are healthy and intact, the transplanted hair can now grow in the regions scarred by acne, thus filling out the beard.
As you can imagine, this process can be time-consuming and expensive depending on the number of grafts used. However, this advancement can be a beard savior if you have widespread acne scarring.
Do acne scars stop facial hair growth?
The scars you can visibly see on the skin don’t tell the whole story. Damage has occurred under the skin too.
Acne scars do stop facial hair growth when the underlying hair follicles and blood vessels have been damaged.
Blood vessels give needed oxygen to hair follicles stimulating hair growth. The hair follicles stop producing when this mechanism is cut off due to injury.
It is possible to have a superficial scar where the hair follicles remain intact, but most scarring injuries go deep enough in the skin to result in irreparable follicle damage.
There has been some promise in mice studies showing where certain proteins and epithelial stem cells can exist to override permanent damage. This phenomenon is rare but could lead to the future discovery of new scar/follicle treatments.
Fun fact: Rumor has it that King Tut suffered from acne scars. Patchouli was a popular skin treatment in ancient times because it worked to clean pores and reduce inflammation. He was buried with patchouli leaves. You can connect the dots.
Do beards worsen acne scars?
A scar is the body’s reaction to injury. Fibrous, collagen-rich scar tissue grows over the damaged area.
Beards do not worsen acne scars. They can call more attention to the scarring since these areas will look bald, especially in a short beard.
A newly-formed facial scar may be tender to the touch. Giving your face a break from shaving while a wound is healing and scar tissue is forming is actually a good idea.
Can growing a beard cause acne?
Facial bumps may all look similar, but they can be vastly different.
Growing a beard can cause bumps that resemble acne. These bumps are a form of folliculitis where the hair follicle becomes inflamed. This condition is often referred to as beard acne but isn’t acne at all. Ingrown hairs can become infected and resemble acne lesions, too.
Folliculitis and acne vulgaris are two separate conditions. Folliculitis occurs when a hair follicle becomes inflamed. In some cases, bacteria can enter the follicle, and infection can occur. Acne is the result of clogged pores and is often triggered by hormones.
Ingrown hairs, pseudofolliculitis barbae, can also look like pimples or cysts. People often confuse this condition with acne because the bumps can be filled with pus. Men with curly hair are more prone to ingrown facial hair.
Do beards make acne worse?
Facial hair can be attractive to the opposite sex, but it can also attract dirt, food, dust, and germs. Oil can hide on the skin under your whiskers.
Beards can worsen acne if dirt and oil get trapped under the hair and aren’t washed away regularly. Oil and dirt clog pores, causing acne to form.
Growing a beard can aggravate already established acne if beard and skin hygiene is neglected. Regular washing of your beard and the skin underneath is vital if you want to avoid breakouts.
If you are prone to breakouts already, use a gentle face wash with salicylic acid. Read beard product ingredient lists to ensure the products you put on your beard won’t clog up your pores. To learn more about acne-prone skin and beard products, check out this post.
How to prevent beard acne and scars
Your beard can provide excellent cover for unwanted acne scars. Following a daily skin and beard washing routine can keep acne and future scarring at bay.
To prevent acne under the beard and future scars, wash your beard and face with a gentle cleanser. Avoid pore-clogging products like heavy oils. If you have existing acne pimples, resist the urge to pick at them and visit a dermatologist for treatment.
- Wash your beard and the skin under it
- Avoid pore-clogging products
- Don’t pick at pimples
- See a dermatologist