How do I take care of this beard?
It seems the number of beard products hitting the shelves in our local pharmacies and retail stores has skyrocketed over the past few years and having all these choices can be intimidating. Beards, when taken care of properly, can be a sophisticated accessory to any guy’s personal style but just like the hair on our scalp, the hair on our face requires a little TLC too! I will help to break down a few key steps that can help a first-time beard grower as well as a seasoned vet.
The key to a healthy beard starts with healthy skin. Washing your face and beard daily is a key first step in maintaining a healthy beard. This simple and quick action removes dirt, excessive oils, debris, and dead skin cells that tend to build up in your beard throughout the day. Choosing the right facial and beard cleanser can be a daunting task given all the options we now have. A great place to start is to look for the term “non-comedogenic” on the labeling, meaning that it will not clog your pores or contribute to acne. If your skin tends to be a little more on the oily side, a foaming or gel cleanser are good options to help absorb this excess oil and prevent a “shiny” build-up on the skin throughout the day. A hydrating, fragrance-free cleanser would be a great place to start if your skin tends to be normal to dry.
When washing your face and beard it is best to use lukewarm water and gently massage the cleanser into your beard using your fingertips in small circular motions to create a lather. Rinse your face well, ensuring that all the cleanser is out of your beard, then pat your beard dry with a clean towel.
So check out your local pharmacy or retail store for a good face and beard cleanser. Or to make it easy, stop by the office and pick up our moisturizing Argan Oil & Acadia Honey Facial Wash or our non-comedogenic Glycolix Elite 10% moisturizing cleanser.
Moisturizers? Balms? Oils? Oh my!
One of the most frequent complaints that I hear from my patients regarding their beard is that it becomes itchy and dry, especially in the winter months. Developing a good moisturizing routine for your beard will keep your beard soft, itch-less, and can also help prevent ingrown hairs and flaking. Beard itch is one of the more common reasons why guys decide to part ways with their whiskers! But wait, we can help!
Beard moisturizers come in many different formulations depending on your desired look and skin type. If you have a shorter beard, oil may be a good option for you. 2-3 drops is all that you will need for your entire beard. Work the oil through your beard by using a brush. I have found that beard oils soften, give a shine, and also can provide a soothing aromatic experience throughout the day. Jojoba and Argan oil are two common ingredients to look for when choosing a beard oil. To work that oil all throughout your beard, I would recommend a brush with natural bristles such as boar’s hair, as this can provide a static-free brushing experience as well as a gentle exfoliation. Brushing your beard on a regular basis not only keeps your beard looking groomed, but it can help prevent ingrown hairs as well as detangle.
Beard balms are more of a solid and come in a small jar. They are applied with your fingertips and are more suited for those with a long beard who are looking to shape or style their beard. Beeswax and shea butter are frequently found in balms and provide natural hydration, volume, and the ability to shape your beard. For our early beard growers, it is especially important to also apply a moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30 on a daily basis to help protect your skin from harmful UV damage.
As with most things in our body, overall health and well-being can play key roles in the health of our beard as well. Exercise, proper nutrition, a balanced diet, and stress reduction techniques all play a role in our beard’s health and growth. Now, even if you do everything right, it’s still possible that you can be tormented by an itchy beard, beard acne, folliculitis, beard dandruff, ingrown hairs, and bald spots. If this is the case please schedule an appointment to discuss some of these issues and how we can help control them if what you’re doing isn’t helping.
Some of the products that I have had success with personally are listed below.
Le Labo Beard Oil (Nordstrom.com $62)
Why I like it – I use this beard oil a few times per week. It makes my beard feel soft and can provide a nice shine or shimmer to your beard depending on how much you apply. It has a very gentle but intoxicating scent of bergamot and lavender.
Glycolix Elite 10% Moisturizing Cleanser ($34)
Creamy and light, this product moisturizes as it cleanses while exfoliating and brightening the skin. It leaves my skin and beard feeling smooth and clean!
EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 ($34)
Why I like it – It’s all about the feel of sunscreen for me, and this feels like you aren’t wearing anything. It protects against UVA/UVB and doesn’t leave much of a residue in your beard. Being oil-free it’s a great option for our acne or rosacea-prone patients.
II hope you find this information helpful and interesting!
Charlie Capaci, PA-C