Whilst it was reported that the era of the beard may be drawing to a close towards the end of 2018, this has proved to be largely premature.
In fact, statistics have shown that thick facial fuzz is more popular than ever before, with 82% of women claiming that men with a beard look more attractive than those who are clean-shaven.
What’s more, 51% of women prefer beards over all other types of facial hair, so it’s little wonder why men are ditching the razor and allowing their bristles to grow untamed!
Dealing with Beard Realities – Why Does Your Facial Hair Itch?
However, anyone with thick facial hair will also be familiar with the dreaded beard itch, which is a frankly irritating sensation that’s even more maddening if you’re unable to address it.
OK, we hear you ask, but what exactly causes an itchy beard? Well, the bad news is that there are a number of potential causes, from poor hygiene and dry skin to unexpected and unwanted acne outbreaks.
However, you can usually narrow down the potential causes depending on the length of your beard and the precise growth stage that you’re at.
For example, if you’ve only recently started growing your beard, the itch is most likely caused by fresh hair breaking the skin as it emerges from the follicle (this occurs during both the anagen and catagen growth phases). Shaving or trimming can actually make this worse too, as this leaves a sharp edge to the hair which can further irritate the skin.
But what if you’re a more seasoned exponent of the art of the beard and have been growing your facial hair for a while. This is where the scenario becomes a little more complex, as this can cause significant issues involving the moisture levels in your skin over time.
More specifically, a thick beard that isn’t looked after will quickly become dry and brittle, leading to the potential damage that leaves the hair rough and coarse. A dry beard can also cause the follicles to feel tender and irritated, causing an endless itch that may make you want to tear your own face off!
We spoke earlier about personal hygiene, and this is another key factor that can cause the beard itch as your facial hair grows long. Make no mistake; if you’re unable to wash your beard regularly or properly, the underlying skin can become oily, porous and liable to outbreaks of acne.
Whilst this can be avoided by washing and conditioning your beard frequently, it’s important to note that excessive cleansing and grooming can also be potentially damaging over time.
This is particularly true if you use products that include alcohol or even trace amounts of potentially hazardous chemicals, as they can easily dry out your skin or cause sudden and sustained irritation.
You should also remember to rinse your beard thoroughly even after using organic shampoos and conditioners, as leaving even small amounts of residue can cause the skin to become dry and unbearably itchy.
Now for the Nitty-Gritty – How to Stop the Dreaded Beard Itch
OK, so now you have a broad understanding of what can cause the dreaded beard itch, whether you’ve recently started growing your facial or hair of having a thick and fulsome set of whiskers.
The question that remains is how do you negate these issues to create a cosy and aesthetically pleasing beard that leaves your skin untroubled? To help get you started, here are a few tried-and-tested tips that everyone in the bearded brotherhood continues to swear by!
Start with the Basics and Keep it Clean
As you’ve probably gathered, the dirtiest beards are amongst the most uncomfortable, with long and unkempt facial hair known to be a notorious hangout for trapped dust, dead skin and even food particles.
With this in mind, one of the most effective ways of avoiding beard itch is to keep your facial hair clean, as this removes these potentially harmful particles before they can mix with the sebaceous glands in the skin and sweat to cause sustained itching.
In terms of frequency, we’d recommend washing your beard two times a week with organic and alcohol-free shampoo, whilst you should also commit to using a product that’s suited to your specific skin type.
Once you’ve finished washing your beard, consider using a hairdryer at a mild heat level to eliminate any access water residue.
This is a major cause of skin irritation, but drying your facial hair or using a brush or beard comb to complete the grooming process can negate this risk entirely.
Avoid the Temptation to Over-cleanse
We know what you’re thinking at this stage; why shouldn’t I wash my beard more frequently if dirt and dust particles are a major cause of the beard itch?
The answer to this is simple; as over-cleansing with a beard, shampoo can strip your facial hair and skin of its natural oils.
This will cause both your hair follicles your skin to dry out over time, and you’ll notice that your face becomes increasingly irritated during this process.
So, whenever you create your own beard grooming regime, avoid washing your facial hair more than twice a week and try to keep it as free from dirt as possible in the meantime.
We’d also recommend that you use a dedicated organic beard cleanser rather than a standard hair shampoo, as this will help to optimise the moisture levels in your skin at all times!
Perfect the Art of the Double Rinse
We also spoke earlier about rinsing your beard after the use of shampoo, in order to remove any dampness and reduce the risk of residue irritating the skin.
However, there are a couple of important steps to ensure that you rinse the water from your beard as effectively as possible.
Firstly, be sure to rinse your beard thoroughly with clean, warm water, moving your facial hair in all directions to make sure that no trace of the product is left behind.
As well as preventing the skin from drying out, this will also minimise the risk of ‘beardruff’ turning your clothes into a winter landscape!
It’s also important that you perform a double rinse where time allows, as this improves your chances of removing all residue and leave your beard feeling clean, fresh and enduringly soft!
Use Beard Oil
It’s fair to surmise that if you use conditioner on your scalp, why wouldn’t you use some form of moisturiser for your beard?
We’d definitely recommend using organic and natural beard oil on your facial hair, as this creates a seamless barrier over the skin and locks in moisture.
As a result, your skin is far less likely to dry out, flake and (most importantly) itch, making beard oil one of the most important weapons in your armoury as you look to make the most of your facial hair.
To use this type of product effectively, simply massage the oil into your skin and across the full breadth of your beard. There’s no need to rinse the oil afterwards either, as using this as a type of leave-in conditioner will provide the optimal level of moisturisation and nourish your skin successfully over time.
This will also help to soften your beard and encourage healthy, sustainable growth, whilst minimising the likelihood of your tearing at your face on a daily basis!
Finally – Comb and Trim Like a Pro
We close with a tip that’s often overlooked by beard officials, as combing and grooming your facial hair regularly will help to tame even the most unkempt of whiskers.
This also has the advantage of helping to keep wild and sharp ends away from the skin, negating the chances of it irritating the skin and becoming a key source of itching.
To successfully achieve this goal, two tools that you can use are a beard trimmer and a quality beard comb.
The former helps you to trim away the dead and split ends that are most likely to irritate the skin, whilst the latter shapes your facial hair and stimulates sustained follicle growth.
By optimising and accelerating the hair growth cycle through combing, you’ll also find that all loose facial hairs are removed. This minimises the risk of irritation further, which is important as even the smallest details should be considered important!
The Last Word
So, there you have it; the reasons behind perennially itchy beards and the steps that you can take to resolve them!
By understanding the challenges associated with different length beards and following our brief grooming guide, you can hopefully maintain smooth and silky facial hair that’s extremely kind to the skin.
Otherwise, you’ll risk suffering from the dreaded beard itch forever, ultimately leaving you with little choice but to return to the land of the clean-shaven!