Picture it. You’re looking in the mirror, admiring how epic your beard looks. You turn your head side to side, up and down and... wait hang on, there’s a big red pimple right on your jaw underneath all the hair. You touch it and it bloody hurts. This is probably not the first beard pimple you’ve had and now you’re fed up with them. So how can you avoid getting beard acne and the associated beard rash?
First let’s find out what the cause is. You may have found that when you were clean shaven, pimples hardly occurred, but now with a beard they have appeared more often. During the day, your beard has the unfortunate ability to trap dirt and grime. The natural bacteria that live on the skin and in the hair follicles will then thrive in your beard because they have something to feed on. These guys can cause infection and inflammation, leading to a puss-filled pimple. The situation can be made worse because the beard shelters your skin from sunlight, which might otherwise reduce the likelihood of developing pimples (because visible light targets bacteria that can cause acne).
Another reason why pimples occur is because of ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs are hairs that have wrapped around and have either grown back into the skin or haven’t been able to penetrate out. If you are one that likes to shave the edges of your beard, you may find that these ingrown hairs tend to pop up where your shave. This may be due to improper shaving technique, like shaving against the grain or shaving with dirty skin or a dirty razor. Ingrown hairs cause inflammation because your body thinks it’s a foreign particle trying to get into your skin. This will make your immune system to try and break the hair down, which causes symptoms of pain, redness and bumps.
So what can you do to prevent pimples appearing?
Wash your beard daily
By washing your beard daily with a good beard cleanser, you will remove the dirt and grime build up. The bacteria will then have no food to eat and will not reproduce and infect the skin. A beard wash will also help to physically remove some bacteria living in the beard.
Exfoliate the beard 2 to 3 times a week to remove the top layer of dead skin and dislodge debris stuck in there. This will allow hair to penetrate though the skin and grow straight, and thus reduce the chances of ingrown hairs. Exfoliation will ensure that fresh, young skin will rejuvenate, leading to a healthier beard. Using a beard comb or beard brush up against the grain of the beard hair & back down again will help exfoliate the beard. Be sure to get in nice and deep on the beard so there is good skin contact.
If you shave the around your beard lines, make sure your shaving technique is correct. This includes:
- Pre-shave exfoliation – to remove dirt from the skin and create a smooth surface. Make sure your skin & your razor are clean.
- Shave with the grain – shave in the direction that the hair grows or diagonally across it. If you shave directly against the hairs, there is a good chance you will cut them below the follicle, or you will cause the hair to split. Either of these can lead to ingrown hairs. Using a clear shave gel will drastically improve the visibility of the hair so you can ascertain where the grain is running and it will help you get a closer and more symmetrical shave.
Other articles that might interest you:
Or visit our BLOG ARCHIVE
Author: John Porreca