5 Essential Skincare Tips for Men With Beards

If a beard obscures half your face, does that mean you can cut your skincare regimen in half? Unfortunately not. Quite the opposite, in fact: You need to tend to that skin even more closely, to prevent things like acne, beard itch, beard dandruff, and dermatitis. On the upside, it’s fairly easy to manage, since you can combine your beard care regimen and your skincare regimen. Above all, just don’t ignore that skin under there—for the same reason guys shouldn’t ignore their scalp when it’s underneath a mop of hair.

Read on for a roster of skincare tips for bearded men, with added expertise from board-certified dermatologist James Collyer of Modern Dermatology in Seattle.

Table of Contents

    Skincare Guide for Men with Beards

    1. Cleanse Twice Daily (and Shower Daily)

    This goes for bearded faces and bare faces alike: You need to wash your face twice a day—first in the morning after waking up, and again before bed. This will precede all other products you use in the regimen, and helps refresh your skin by flushing away any buildup of oil, sweat, grime, and more. Most facial cleansers are perfectly fine to use in the beard, too, so be sure to give things a thorough scrub in order to build a lather and reach the skin beneath the beard (followed by a thorough rinse).

    Collyer says to shower regularly, too. If you don’t shower regularly, you will most likely start developing seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), which is generally driven by overgrowth of normal skin fungus,” he explains. “This manifests as flaking skin, commonly confused with dry skin. If you develop flaking skin in your beard, increase your beard-washing frequency.”  

    Bottom line, make sure your face wash matches your skin variables—like if you have dry skin, your cleanser should have more nourishing properties, or if you have oily skin, the cleanser should be a little more purifying without dehydrating things.

    Bonus tip on beard dandruff: Collyer adds that some men should consider using an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream if they can’t get control of this flaking by increasing washing alone. 

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    2. Use Chemical Exfoliants

    Exfoliation is often considered an essential skincare step, in that it removes the surface level of dead skin cells in order to keep skin smooth, bright, and blemish-free. (Those dead cells can easily amass, or stray ones can lodge themselves inside your pores and cause breakouts.) There are two different ways to incorporate exfoliation into your regimen. First are scrubs, which provide physically gritty buffing. They can be as simple as a washcloth, a dedicated liquid scrub or even combined into a daily cleanser. (However, usually it’s important to exfoliate once every few days, at most.) Many scrubs are a little difficult to distribute evenly, especially beneath a bushy beard. (Plus you run the risk of over exfoliating and irritating skin.) 

    This is why Collyer endorses the second means of exfoliation: Chemical exfoliants, like alpha hydroxy acids (lactic acid or glycolic acid), fruit enzymes, as well as beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid). Some like AHAs and fruit enzymes will remove dead surface-level skin cells, while BHAs will seep into the pores and free up trapped skin cells while also flushing out any buildup of oil. You can find chemical exfoliants in many facial serums, or can seek them out in cleansers or spot treatments, too.

    3. Swap In a Beard Oil

    Many guys mistake beard oils as being solely for beards. While they are terrific at nourishing and softening facial hair, beard oils are also the primary means of facial moisturizer for the skin underneath the mane. A couple of drops goes a long way here, too. This is probably the single best way to prevent flaking and itching (and doubly so on itching, since softer whiskers yields less itching and scratching). Any significant others will appreciate this too! 

    Keep using your regular facial moisturizer on the rest of your face, and on shorter beards that are sparse enough to allow for facial cream or gel.

    4. (Still) Use SPF Under There

    “Don’t forget that the skin underneath the beard still gets exposed to the sun,” says Collyer. Hey, if UV rays can seep through clouds and glass, then some will still find a way to hit the skin obscured by your whiskers. As such, Collyer says that it is crucial to apply sunscreen to the entire face—including the bearded area—on a daily basis. Make sure to use an SPF 30 or greater that is formulated for the face, and to apply it over top of your daily moisturizer products (so, after you moisturize and apply beard oil). 

    5. Keep It Gentle

    Ingredients are everything in both skin and hair care, and Collyer notes the importance of using gentle products on their beard (especially when it comes to cleansers and exfoliants). Cleansers in particular can strip away natural oils, he notes. This in turn causes dry, brittle hair as well as irritated skin. This underscores the importance of using products specifically formulated for the face and beard, as opposed to head shampoos that might over-strip moisture from the face (if used to wash the beard), or body cleansers that are often too aggressive on the sensitive facial skin. Not only will your skin benefit from these gentler products, but your facial hair will be softer and less scratchy, too.

    Find Your Custom Skincare Routine

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