“Guys in beards” is one of the few concepts which both men and women agree upon. Guys love beards because it’s a sign of masculinity and virility. It can also make people with a “babyish” face look more mature and distinguished.
Women, in large part, have similar sentiments toward guys in beards. Naturally, that’s why so many guys are motivated to grow out their beard in the first place.
If you’re one of those guys, then you surely know what happens shortly thereafter, when you first start growing out your beard: the dreaded “itchy beard.”
So many guys have undertaken the process of growing a beard, and quickly regretted doing so, because of how bad the beard started to itch them. The majority of those guys end up shaving it right off. This makes the process of growing the beard nothing more than an exercise in futility.
Why does this happen? Let’s take a deep dive into this issue, and how you can prevent it in the first place.
Why Is My Beard Itchy?
All the hair on our bodies grows out of follicles. These are essentially like little pockets for the hair to grow out of. When your hair first starts growing out of these follicles, they glide out smoothly without any irritation.
When you shave the hairs on your face, your razor blade essentially lifts up their hair slightly out of the follicle, and slices off the hair at an angle, dropping the remaining portion of the hair back down into the follicle. It makes this angled cut, so it leaves a little bit of a sharp edge on that hair it left behind.
So, when the hair begins to grow and reemerge from the skin, that sharp edge rises back to the top, and those edges start to irritate the skin. These hairs continue to become more jagged from repeated shaving, which means they’ll keep irritating the follicles.
Trying to Grow Out Your Beard
That’s basically where the first part of beard itch comes from.
The worst part of growing out your beard is during the first couple of weeks. That’s when the skin on your face and the grown-out hair are really getting accustomed to the different level of exposure and friction taking place. Once you’re able to get over this initial barrier, you’ll find that this itching sensation will start to decrease.
Word of caution: this process can take some guys as long as three weeks, so make sure you have some patience around this.
You’re not quite “out of the woods yet,” even after you cross this threshold.
Your Skin Could Be the Cause
The second major cause of beard itch has nothing to do with the beard itself, per se. Rather, this itch stems from the fact that the skin below your beard has become dehydrated and dried out.
After your beard is grown, you may find that your skin underneath your beard becomes itchy. That’s because the grown-out hair will start to draw your skin’s natural oils away from your face and into your hair, making your skin drier and susceptible to irritation (and itch).
So how do you avoid the tradeoff of having and keeping a beard, and overcoming this beard itch?
We have several suggestions.
How To Stop An Itchy Beard
Your beard ends up acting like a giant lint roller that’s attached to your face. It’s going to grab and hold onto any loose debris that it comes in contact with. That includes anything from rogue food that doesn’t make it in your mouth, to the dead skin on your face, to the dust that’s in the air you breathe in.
At some level, any or all of those will get stuck in your beard. That’s just the tradeoff of having a beard in the first place. That being said, having a beard doesn’t mean you’re faced with the trade-off of it being a vacuum for loose particles.
Just like with any other body part, if you take care of your beard, you can enjoy the things that come along with it. Any good beard maintenance process encompasses two key components:
Brush Your Beard
This might also sound a bit ridiculous, but you want to brush your beard as well. You can do so as often as a few times a day. This depends on the level of itch, how much relief you find from brushing your beard, and how much debris you might have in it at a given time.
Brush your beard before you wash it, and then brush it again after you’re done washing it. The first brushing will loosen up all the “cling on’s” in the beard, and the second brush helps keep your hair soft and tangle-free. Treat both brushing processes like you would with the hair on your head: you want to go in the direction it’s supposed to grow.
We’ve heard great things about using brushes made from 100% boar’s hair. These brushes are uniquely designed to carry “sebum” — an oily substance created by the hair follicle — from your skin up to the top of your hairs. When you spread the sebum as such, you’re going to actually strengthen your hair and give it more of a shiny, healthy look.
These benefits, unfortunately, are exclusive to brushes with boar’s hair. Your standard plastic or vinyl brushes won’t do the same thing.
Condition Your Beard
As ridiculous as this might sound: your beard is made of hair, and the purpose of conditioner is to make your hair soft, silky, and smooth. When you condition your beard, you’re softening the edges of those hairs, so they’re going to itch less as they protrude through the skin.
However, you don’t want to apply the same stuff that goes on your head onto your face; the standard conditioner that you use when shampooing and cleaning your hair has a lot of harsher chemicals — which it needs to penetrate the hair and skin on your head — that can do a number to the far more sensitive skin on your face.
Similarly, they also allow you to have a greater measure of control if you’re trying to style your beard. It’s definitely recommended you look into a beard conditioner if you find that the hair that grows on your face is coarse, thick, or wiry.
You apply the beard conditioner using the same process you would when conditioning your hair. Get a good full wash of your beard first, then take a small amount of conditioner and rub it into your hands, and then start running your hands through your beard.
You want to make sure you evenly spread the conditioner throughout your beard. During this process, the heat and the friction from your hands will essentially “activate” the conditioner to start doing its work.
99 Cent Razor has a fantastic solution for both washing and conditioning your beard: Every Man Jack’s Beard Wash made with cedarwood. This solution both washes and conditions your skin, while ensuring both your beard and the skin beneath it gets the nutrients and hydration they need to stay healthy.
Use a Beard Oil
A growing number of guys are also using beard oil, which as the name would imply, prevents the newly grown out hair from irritation the skin on your face as much, and also moisturizes the skin underneath your beard. Your skin underneath your beard is prone to having dandruff, which is essentially tiny little particles of dead skin that’s dehydrated and flaking off.
In order to prevent this, you want to moisturize. Your body has a natural mechanism for this as well, where it will start producing oil on your face. However, this is what leads to things like breakouts and further inflammation of the skin.
All of this is easily solved with a little beard oil, which can work some serious wonders when applied correctly. Just a few drops go a long way in keeping your skin nourished and your beard hair soft.
99 Cent Razor has another great option, for those looking for a beard oil: Every Man Jack’s Beard Oil made with sandalwood. This beard oil will soften your beard, and hydrate and sooth your skin, using essential oils of rosemary and sage.
How To Prevent An Itchy Beard
One of the other big benefits for guys thinking about growing beards is that they believe it will reduce the amount of time they’ll need to shave and/or take care of their face. This, unfortunately, couldn’t be further from the truth.
You likely won’t need to worry about spending a certain amount of money on shaving gel and razor blades. But, having a beard doesn’t basically give you carte blanche for not taking care of your facial hair.
Instead of dealing with beard itch as it arises, why not head it off in the first place, and minimize this issue as much as possible?
The wilder and out-of-control your beard might be, the more likely it is to pick up “unwelcome visitors” along the way. From both a functional, as well as an aesthetic, standpoint, you want to keep your beard well groomed. That doesn’t mean you need to start tinkering with it after the first thin layer of hair sets in.
As a rule of thumb, wait somewhere around 12 weeks or so before you start worrying about trimming your beard. That’ll give it time to properly grow and fill out areas where the hair growth isn’t quite as rapid.
One quick tip, along those lines: you might find that the hair around your mustache area grows a bit faster than the rest of your beard. If that’s the case, you can take any regular pair of grooming scissors and trim the mustache to stay in line with the rest of your beard.
From there, you want to make sure that the grooming and conditioning processes remain staples of your facial preparation routine.
Non-Shaving Related Fixes
Also, if you want to take it one step further, many people don’t realize how the things they eat can have such a major impact on the quality of things like their skin, their nails, and their hair.
For the latter, you want to make sure you’re getting enough foods that are high-quality sources of Beta-carotene (which will create healthy sebum levels after the Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A inside the body), Vitamin D (which can help open up newer and stronger hair follicles), and Biotin (which has been linked to improved hair health.
A diet filled with lots of multi-colored vegetables and eggs (as farm-fresh as possible) can supply you ample amounts of all three nutrients.
And, of course, drinking lots of water will always go a long way in keeping your skin firm and moisturized.
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