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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Beards & the skin they cover

I George Clooney—couldn't resist!
My husband has a full beard. I was wondering what he needs to do, if anything, to keep the skin underneath healthy. Is it better for the skin to be covered with hair or clean-shaven?

My husband’s skin underneath his beard is beginning to itch, and it’s driving him (and me) crazy! What is causing this, and how can he remedy it?

Deciding to have facial hair or not is purely personal preference. And although having a beard may seem easier on your skin than being clean-shaven, the skin underneath does go through its own hardship. The hair inhibits some of the skin’s natural exfoliation, whether it be from shaving or just having that skin rubbed or touched throughout the day. Since the hair is in essence shielding any activity in the covered area, this skin needs exfoliation. It will keep the skin from itching and flaking as sometimes happens underneath a beard.

Since exfoliating underneath facial hair really cannot be done through conventional means (scrubs and gommage), this is a good application for AHAs. Fruit acids help to exfoliate just by lying on top of the skin. After you have done your morning or evening routine (assuming you have a skin care routine), take some AHA cream or gel and try to get it onto the skin under your beard by massaging it in with your fingertips. What you don’t want to do is pile on a bunch of moisturizer just because it contains AHAs, so be careful how much you use. Towel off any excess.

Using a manual facial brush can help to exfoliate the area under your beard. You want to be careful not to irritate the skin by using the brush too aggressively. And you always want to thoroughly wash the facial brush after every use. 

Glycerin is another option for getting needed moisture to the skin underneath your beard. Pure glycerin is a runny liquid that can be massaged into the area with the excess blotted off the hair. This should not cause any adverse effects, yet can really help to keep that skin soft and moisturized.

Finally, if you are experiencing severe problems underneath your beard, it may be time to shave it and see exactly what is going on. If you choose to shave, getting a facial before you regrow your beard would be an excellent idea. Getting that skin in good shape before the hair covers it up will help, even if temporarily. If the skin doesn’t respond to exfoliating and moisturizing, you may want to visit your dermatologist and see if there is something more serious going on.