When you first decided to grow out a beard you thought it would be an amazing upgrade to your appearance. You were likely right, but you may have not realized some of the growing pains of actually growing a beard.
Moisturizing the skin under your beard is something we all have to learn as our beards grow. The skin can become very dry and it causes you pain when your beard moves. It's actually a common problem for the skin under your beard to be dry but the good news is there are several techniques you can do to reverse this issue.
Have you started using any beard oils or began a separate routine just for beard maintenance? If you don't have a dedicated routine to maintain your beard we'll help you get off on the right foot.
Products We Mention Below
Smooth Viking Beard Brush - Your beard brush will play a key role in assisting beard oil to do its job. There's no other way to get beard oil in all the needed places and to the roots and skin without a beard brush.
Fuzzworthy's Beard Shampoo - Using an all natural ingredient beard shampoo is vital to the health of your beard. If you think you can use a normal hair shampoo you're wrong and you'll learn why below. Grab a beard shampoo that's formulated with natural ingredients suited to benefit your beard and the skin underneath.
Gentleman's Beard Oil - We like this beard oil over some of the others because it's also a conditioner and softener. It'll reach down deep to your roots and improve your overall beard and skin health. If you've never used beard oil before you're going to experience a huge improvement in your skin's dryness.
Why's Skin Under Your Beard Dry?
Your skin being dry can mostly be blamed on your facial hair. It kind of comes with the territory but when you've reached a point to where the skin under your beard has become painful you need to take action.
Facial hair takes up resources to grow. It requires genetics, testosterone, and the natural oils your skin produces. If your skin is dry then you're not producing enough natural oil to sustain your beard. This can lead to brittle beard, split ends, pain, and skin irritation.
Outside factors can also play a part in your natural oil production. Harsh cold weather will dry your skin out all on its own and reduce the oil you're producing. Other than that it could be your very own actions causing the problem.
If you're washing your beard to frequently or not the right way can also lead to dry beard. When it comes to maintaining your beard it's a mixture of an art and a science. Beginning a good beard maintenance routine is your key to a healthy beard.
Moisturizing the Skin Under Your Beard
Before we even begin know that you cannot use normal products on your beard. Using your favorite shampoo such as a head & shoulders is bad for your beard. These head hair products contain chemicals that will have adverse effects on your beard.
Your beard hair isn't like the hair on your head. You can simply rub your hands through it and look at it to see there is a difference. Instead, use products designed and formulated just for beards. They're actually very affordable and if you want a healthy beard you're going to have to use them.
Here's your new beard routine:
Step 1) Brush Your Beard
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Always begin your routine by brushing out your beard. Yes, brush and not a comb. Brushing has a different effect on your beard. It actually separates the hairs individually and preps them for the next steps.
If you were to use a beard comb, while fine for styling, it actually creates clumps when you take a closer look. A beard comb is great for a quick styling and managing your beard through the day but when it comes to maintenance start off with a beard brush.
The main reason we're brushing first is to help remove dead skin cells. We want to scrub and brush before taking a shower in order to go in with a fresh top layer of skin.
Step 2) Time to Wash Your Beard
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Don't forget earlier where we mentioned not using your normal shampoo. These hair shampoo's contain chemicals which are not very beard friendly. Your beard hair and head hair are quite different and you're going to need your own beard shampoo.
Using a 100% all natural beard shampoo is what you want to use. It'll help with moisturizing skin under beard the most and without causing any negative impact. The same guys we recommend for shampoo also make an excellent beard conditioner and I recommend picking up both.
During your routine I recommend washing your beard last. Go ahead and wash your hair and everything else before your facial hair. This way the last thing to run through your facial hair is the specific beard shampoo you purchased and it'll have a better effect.
You shouldn't wash your beard everyday. The commonly recommended amount is between 2-3 times per week. That's typically how often you want to focus on washing your beard. However, that's just for washing it and for the other parts of this routine you can do daily.
When you wash your beard and if you followed directions it'll be the last thing you wash before getting out of the shower you should wash it with low temp or cool water. Using a lower temperature water helps close up skin pores and helps prevent dryness how water can cause.
Hot water strips more of the natural ingredients of your beard shampoo away. This causes you not to receive as much of the product as you can with colder water. It's overall a win-win for your beard and the skin underneath.
Step 3) Hand Dry Your Beard
After coming out of the shower make sure you dry your beard thoroughly. Since your skin's dry under your beard make sure to avoid blow dryers. Instead opt of a good towel and when you've dried your beard go back and dry it again.
The point here is we often think we've done a good enough job of drying our beards and if you have a decently long beard it can be difficult.
Why's it so important? Well, unfortunately the water coming out of our showers isn't exactly chemical free. There's actually chemicals added to water to improve its drinkability but we don't want to allow the minerals in hard water linger behind.
If we leave these minerals they lead to dry skin.
Step 4) Replenish and Repair
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If you've been a member of the beard community for any length of time you'll know that keeping your beard moisturized is very important. If you start and continue using beard oil you'll notice a big change to the dryness of your skin under your beard.
Beard oils are the most popular beard products out of them all. That's because they're essential to your beards health and the benefits they provide can't be denied. You will likely notice an improvement in your skin condition the first week of using beard oil.
There are key times when you should be using beard oil. Always apply beard oil after drying your beard after taking a shower. This helps replenish the natural oils which were removed by taking a shower.
Apply a smaller amount of beard oil when you go to bed. You want to keep your beard healthy throughout the night. If you shower before bed then you can knock out two birds with one stone.
Apply a normal amount of beard oil in the morning before you begin your day. It only takes 2-3 drops of beard oil to cover most beards. If you've got a much larger beard you may require more drops.
Depending on your daily activities you may require another application sometime after noon. If you work outside or live in a colder climate you should reapply during this time.
Since we want to be moisturizing the skin under our beards make sure you get a beard oil that avoids synthetic ingredients. Also if you can find a beard oil that contains argan or jojoba oil it'll be rich with vitamin E and it's amazing for your skin.
Step 5) Brush After Beard Oil
Anytime you apply beard oil if you want to take full benefit of it then brush your beard. As we mentioned earlier brushing your beard separates the hairs and this makes it easier for beard oil to reach more of your beard.
You're also assisting the beard oil by bringing it deeper down to your roots. Getting beard oil to the base of your beard where the roots and skin are is the most important. This helps rejuvenate the skin and makes your beard future a healthy one.
Other than the times you're apply beard oil you don't want to brush to often. Some men turn brushing into a habit and do it out of habit and not because it is needed. Brushing this way can actually cause beard damage such as split ends and decreased growth in some spots.
That being said brushing when needed, around twice a day when beard oil isn't involved, is great for aerating your beard, increasing blood flow which means growth, and removing dead skin cells for healthier skin.
Other Ways to Handle the Dryness
While we often don't want to admit it diet and exercise are very important to have healthy skin. There are no absolute guarantees you'll never face skin dryness or other beard issues by following a regimen and having a good beard maintenance routine but you're definitely putting the odds in your favor.
Eating foods rich in certain vitamins can help improve your skin condition naturally. Vitamin A, C, and E will directly benefit your skin health. These vitamins help repair skin tissue, provide your skin with healthy fats, and help you produce more natural oil which is great for your beard.
It's hard to make a complete change to your diet but if you take one small step at a time and begin adding foods rich in these vitamins slowly you'll eventually be on one heck of a healthy diet. Plus who said you could never have that cheeseburger ever again?
Vitamin A - You'll get a lot of this from your dairy products. Your milk, cheese, and butter for example. You can also pick up vitamin A by mixing in some orange foods that carry Beta Carotene. Foods such as carrots or sweet potatoes carry this and your body converts it into vitamin A.
Vitamin C - Promotes sebum production which is the natural oil from your skin. It helps lubricate your hairs and plays a big role in the health of your beard as it becomes larger. A lack of it leads to dry skin under your beard.
Grab some oranges, green peppers, and even broccoli to add a healthy amount of vitamin C to your diet.
Vitamin E - This vitamin helps with similar issues that vitamin C does. However you can grab it through different foods such as wheat, peanut butter, and almonds.
One thing I always found curious is how our hair is composed of mainly keratin (a protein made of amino acids) and our bodies do not produce amino acids. We have to take in protein from other sources that our bodies can then convert these proteins into the amino acids we need.
The best source of this protein comes from omega-3 fatty acids. You can begin grabbing fish, eggs, poultry, rice, and milk for your diet to gain more of these healthy proteins. Omega-3 has many other benefits and some of which I'm sure you've heard. It's great for your joints, hair, skin, and heart health.
If you don't believe a healthy diet will make a huge change just give it a dry for one single month. Going one month on a healthy diet is a lot harder than it sounds. Remember to drink plenty of water!
The only correlation between exercising and the health of your beard is testosterone. The more testosterone you produce the easier it'll be to grow a beard and keep it healthy.
The entire process is somewhat of a viscous cycle. You need to workout more to produce more testosterone and if you stop working out your testosterone levels will drop. Your testosterone levels also lower with age.
Weight lifting activities are the best to produce testosterone. Exercises such as the bench press, dead lifts, and push ups are good examples.
You can also take testosterone supplements but I recommend talking with your doctor first.
Habits You Should Avoid
If you're truly going to take your beard and skin health seriously you're going to have to avoid some things.
Avoid Stress - Stress is a leading factor in a range of skin conditions. Simply by avoid stress or releasing stress through an activity you'll improve your overall health. Find an activity that lets you focus and get rid of negative energy. Try a punching bag or meditation.
Stop Smoking - The chemicals contained in your smoking habit land on your beard. In fact these particles can sit on your beard and cause beard damage. It also makes your beard smell like smoke and it's just an overall bad habit. Kicking this habit will improve your health, your beard, and keep more money in your pocket.
Stroking - I'm not talking about stroking your favorite thing but maybe the second favorite. Stroking your beard can easily be habit forming. We end up doing it while we're thinking, sitting, or just needing to do something with our hands. Stroking your beard removes naturals oils and will stop growth.
Have you noticed beards where it has stopped growing in the middle? That's often from the man stroking his beard in that very common area. This will make the left and right side continue growing while stunting the growth in the center.
Trimming - Avoid trimming your beard to often. Just give your beard some natural grow time. You may appear homeless for a period of time but this growing time is important. After your beard has reached the desired length do you then begin trimming.
None of the Above
If you've tried everything above and moisturizing the skin under beard just isn't working for you, and as much as I hate saying this, you may want to shave it all off.
Shaving off your beard will allow you to better evaluate your skin condition. If you're still experiencing dryness after shaving and trying to resolve the problem you may want to contact a dermatologist.
Hopefully that's an extreme you don't have to get to.
I hope you enjoyed our little how to guide for dealing with dry skin under your beard. It's a dreaded condition and an experience anyone rather avoid. You're well equipped with the knowledge now to deal with it. Pick up the beard tools you need and you'll be ready to tackle the problem!