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When Facial Hair is a Pain: How to Stop Beard Itch & Irritation

Man scratching his beard in pain

Nothing is more manly than a full, glorious beard. You’ve taken great care to grow out your bristles into an impressive man mane that would make a lion proud. But let’s face it: Keeping up that designer stubble can be a real pain – and we mean literally. 

Yes, brothers, beard pain is a thing. And though it may feel somewhat less manly to mention it, you shouldn’t be ashamed to try and find ways to soothe your suffering. If your face is stinging, tingling or aching, read on to find out how to stop beard itch and soreness and end your agony.

But before we get to the solution to your stubble trouble, let’s try and figure out what’s causing your beard irritation in the first place.  

Why Your Beard Hurts When Growing

Whether you’re a new beardsman or have been rocking your goatee, mustache or Vandyke for years, you may find yourself wondering at times: “Why does my beard hurt to touch?” Or perhaps you’re thinking “Why is my beard itchy?” You’re not alone.

There are things you can control with regard to your beard, such as the style, taming unruly hairs or keeping your bathroom clean by catching facial clippings. When it comes to facial hair irritation, though, you just have to roll with the punches.

There could be many reasons for your itchy or painful facial hair. Below are some of the most common explanations.

1. New growth

As a first-time beard grower, expect some discomfort. Facial hair hurts when growing, and beard tenderness and raw skin are just part of the deal. If your pain is most prevalent in the morning and you’re a new member of the beard club, you may just need some time to adjust.

2. Dry skin under your beard

If you want a luscious beard, dry skin is your nemesis. And while some causes of dry skin are unavoidable, such as seasonal weather changes, make sure you’re not inadvertently making things worse. Frequent face washing, especially with hot water, can lead to irritated skin under your beard and make you miserable, so don’t go overboard with your cleaning routine.

3. Dry beard hair

Excessive cleansing, harsh shampoos and shampoo residue can also dry out your beard hair. While removing dirt and grime is a good thing, you’re stripping away natural oils that are needed to moisturize your fleece. We’re not saying you shouldn’t wash your whiskers, but don’t overdo it and make sure you use products that are specially formulated for facial hair.

4. Beardruff

If you notice flaky skin scales around your itchy beard, you may be suffering from seborrheic dermatitis, or beard dandruff. Just like your scalp, your jawline can be afflicted by the disease. You can usually combat it with a good beard care routine, but if that doesn’t work, you may need to see a dermatologist.

5. Irritated skin or sores under your beard

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you don’t need to worry about what lies beneath your face. Even grown men get acne, and the reason for your sore beard may be as simple as a pimple. Other hidden sources of beard pain could be ingrown facial hairs or folliculitis, a painful infection of the hair follicles that may require antibiotic treatment.

6. Oil build-up

We already mentioned over-washing, but under-washing can also be a reason for beard or mustache irritation. Too much oil build-up, in combination with dead skin cells, creates a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive, which can cause skin inflammation and, you guessed it, pain. Therefore, it’s important to find the right balance between a dirty beard and an overly clean one. 

7. Brittle beard

If your beard looks dull and frizzy and you notice hair breakage, there may be a problem with your grooming routine. Not using a quality comb can splinter and break facial hair, and intensive heat from a hair dryer or beard straightener can parch your beard. If you’re looking to look like Billy Gibbon or Dumbledore, it pays to invest in some quality grooming tools.

Man applying beard oil to his face

Tips for Stopping Beard Itch and Discomfort

By now, you probably have a pretty good idea what’s causing your beard or skin irritation. The question now is: How do you stop your beard from itching or hurting? As with most things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so the best advice is to not let your beard become a pain in the first place. Here’s how.

1. Stay hydrated

Since dry skin is a leading cause of beard discomfort, it’s important to keep your H2O-balance in check. If your hair roots aren’t getting enough moisture from within, they will become dry and start hurting. This means drinking enough fluids – and we don’t mean alcohol or coffee, which are actually dehydrating.

2. Groom with care

Don’t overwash your beard – once or twice a week is enough – and use proper grooming products. When using heated styling tools, always ensure that your beard is completely dry before you do and use the coldest heat setting you can get away with to achieve the desired look.

3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

A good beard oil is a man’s best friend. It helps replenish lost moisture and gives your bristles the nutrients they need to grow into a healthy, voluptuous beard. Apply beard oils and balms frequently by rubbing them deep into the skin along your jawline, and you will soon have a soft chin curtain that begs to be touched.

There you have it. Not only do you know the reasons why your beard hurts or itches, but how to stop the itch and fix the underlying problem. Now it’s time to get your grooming regimen in order, so you can put your best (bearded) face forward and enjoy life as a caveman, hipster, or whatever motivates you to grow your face foliage.

Contributing Writer: Marion Rhodes

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