‘Does beard oil cause acne?’ If you're growing a beard, this question may have crossed your mind or from time to time. After all, oily skin is generally associated with an increased likelihood of breakouts so it would seem natural to think that adding oil would do something similar. In this article we examine when to use beard oil depending on skin type, as well as how to choose a beard oil that is less likely to cause problems with break-outs.
How Skin Type Plays a Role in the Effectiveness of Beard Oil
The first thing to note is probably obvious, but nonetheless important. If you have signs of ongoing acne break-outs it’s best to avoid putting any products (including beard oil) on your skin without getting prior medical advice. There could be an imbalance in skin pH, natural oil production, bacterial growth, hormone levels and/or other factors that is causing breakouts and applying cosmetic products could complicate the situation.
If you don't have a particular problem with acne, you might be one of those folks that has ‘oily skin’ which, in certain circumstances, can result in pimples forming under the beard. One of the main reasons for this is that this natural oil (or sebum) can fuel pimple-forming bacteria on the skin. For people in this situation, a beard oil is typically of little benefit to the skin in any event, because they produce sufficient amounts to keep things moisturised. Generally, they would not need a beard oil unless they are growing a long beard that is drying out at the tips. In this situation, applying beard oil or beard balm just to the ends of the hair will help keep it healthy (avoiding problems like split ends) without affecting the skin.
At the other end of the spectrum are those with neutral to dry skin and no ongoing issues with breakouts. For them, an appropriately formulated beard oil should only help to moisturise and soften their skin and hair without causing problems.
How to Choose a Beard Oil that’s Good for you
As beneficial as beard oils are, some formulas can contain significant levels of ‘comedogenic’ (pore blocking) ingredients. Once the hair follicles are clogged, all it takes is a bit of acne-causing bacteria to seep through and trigger blemishes. You may even notice friends or other random beardsmen that suffer from this. Typically they will have acne breakouts of white bumps that are not excessively red or painful like hormonal acne.
If you want to go deep on this, there are various lists of comedogenic ingredients available on the internet. However, be aware that these lists sometimes conflict (for example, I’ve seen hemp oil listed as ‘completely safe’ and ‘highly comedogenic’ on two different sites). Also, these lists do not reflect the impact of an ingredient in the final formulation.
You may see a claim that flax seed oil is comedogenic and assume a product containing it is bad without realising that only small amounts have been used so that the final formulation does not tend to cause any problems. To help make a rough assessment, you can look at the order the ingredients are listed on the label. These labels should list ingredients from highest to lowest concentration so you get an approximate idea of how much has been used. If flaxseed oil is listed first, maybe that’s not a good sign.
A quicker and easier method is to look for a light beard oil formulation that absorbs readily without leaving a slick on the skin. Ask for samples before choosing a beard oil brand to stock and try them out first. You might also look at product reviews to see if customers have had problems with that particular beard oil.
Finally, the way you advise your clients to use beard oil is also critical. Typically, it’s recommended to apply the beard oil right after washing the beard so that it doesn’t cling to built-up dead skin and debris, exacerbating the growth of bad bacteria. In doing this, it’s also important to note that a little goes a long way when it comes to beard oil. A very light application is all that’s needed to give your client healthy skin & hair without any of the downsides.