With a great beard comes great responsibility, a saying most bearded gentleman will agree to. Sporting a beard is more mainstream now than ever, and a large majority of urban males are trying out different looks with facial hair. However, there is a host of beard-related skin issues that often crop up, mainly due to poor maintenance and hygiene, or even poor use of products.
These days, given the mandatory use of masks, bearded men skin/beard irritation, and skin inflammation especially due to synthetic material fabrics. The material of the mask rubs against your beard or skin or even sweat, making the oil and bacteria that gathers under the mask cause breakouts. To combat this, an ideal would be to use masks featuring natural fabrics like cotton (look for multiple padding for extra protection) as opposed to the synthetic fabric masks available in the market. If you have a thick beard, you can also consider using beard oil or serum to tone down the frizz.
LSA Recommends: The Man Company Argan and Geranium Beard Oil (Rs 298) is great to keep frizz in check, your beard to smell fresh, and to keep it well-groomed, especially if you have to wear a mask.
In our tropical climate, sweat, dirt, and oil build up in the beard during the day, and this can lead to acne if it is not taken care of. You need to give your beard a thorough cleaning twice a day with a beard wash or cleanser. This will gently remove all the unwanted dirt and excess oil from your skin. Also regularly moisturise the skin under the beard, as dry skin is often said to cause clogged pores and acne. Also, exfoliation is an assured way to keep the skin healthy and free of dead skin. One of the many common beard-related skin issues today.
LSA Recommends: L’Oréal Men Expert Barber Club beard face and hair wash (Rs 450) and L’Oréal Men Expert Barber Club long beard and skin oil (Rs 949), which has a light texture and is perfect for mild moisturising. Also, Himalaya Herbals Men Face & Beard wash (Rs 144), which ensures a deep cleanse and soft feel after.
Dr Kiran Lohia, MD, wellness & skin specialist based in Delhi, also adds that shaving habits do cause beard acne. “You must sterilise your razor to prevent infecting the follicles. Avoid aftershave lotion as it often can cause acne, given that it is sometimes comedogenic, which means it clogs pores. If a particular beard product or serum is too oily, give it a break as this could also be a cause.” Skin specialists also recommend that you keep your bed linen and pillow covers clean, and change them every couple of days.
LSA Recommends: Bombay Shaving Company’s beard grooming kit (Rs 1,301)with a special beard shampoo and conditioner, a light leave-in beard oil, a moustache wax and a wooden beard comb.
This is also known as razor bumps, and this is particularly common among men with curly beard hair. “This is unsightly and painful, and the bumps in the beard and neck area can make shaving difficult,” says Dr Apratim Goel, dermatologist and laser surgeon at Cutis Skin Solution, Mumbai. She also adds that ingrown hair can lead to the formation of boils in the affected areas, primarily the neck and beard. “Men can opt for permanent laser hair removal, as this is the only way to reach trapped hair under the skin. Laser hair removal is a permanent solution,” she says.
This is a frequently experienced problem and is more common among men with curly beards. It can be caused both due to dry skin or oily skin. Dr Apratim Goel says that the best way to deal with this issue is to use a good aloe vera gel, which is both hydrating and soothing, and this must be left on overnight for the best results. Alternately, a good beard oil or beard balm can also be used at night.
LSA Recommends: Beardo Godfather Beard Lite Oil (Rs 315) contains almond oil and aloe vera and is great for day or night use, in case you want to keep your frizzy beard in check.
Folliculitis Barbae (hair follicle infection)
As one of the most common beard-related skin issues, this is a bacterial infection that affects a large number of bearded men. It is a natural bacteria in our nose and nail beds, but when it spreads to the beard, it causes painful acne. It can also happen if you shave against the hair growth or due to an unsterilised razor. Dr Jaishree Sharad, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist explains, “Folliculitis is caused often when people do not sterilise their razor with hot water before use. Certain products or colours could irritate the hair follicle and cause this reaction.
“If you are suffering from this, then you need to stop using all beard products like oil, gel, or serum. Thorough cleansing and shaving in the direction of hair growth are two important steps to be followed. If you already have this infection, you need to use an anti-bacterial cream like Mupirocin ointment, twice a day. If there is a lot of pus, you will need antibiotics as recommended by a dermatologist.”
Hair loss on beard
Bald patches that appear on the moustache and beard are an autoimmune condition. It is largely seen in round patches in the beard area. While experts suggest that it is hard to predict and treat this condition, much like hair loss on the scalp, there are a few steps that one can take to combat it, under the strict supervision of a specialist. “Coal tar derivatives and intralesional steroid injections are a helpful treatment done under the supervision of an expert,” concludes Dr Goel.
All images: Courtesy Getty