What To Do About Beard Acne (And Other Shaving Gripes)
Effective skincare is fundamentally the same, whichever gender you identify with. But when facial hair is thrown into the mix, there are added concerns to contend with.
Whether you like to sport a full beard, are never without a goatee or prefer being completely clean shaven, the ability to grow facial hair can cause all manner of nasties for your skin. We’re talking anything from gnarly pimples to a dry, itchy chin rash. And we’d bet neither of these are ever going to score high on your skincare wishes.
But all is not lost, because most shave-related skincare concerns are easily resolved with a few smart skincare choices. So, if your beard is causing you to breakout or your ‘stache is giving you the itch, it’s time to hone your grooming skills.
The Problem: Beard Acne
What Causes It: Breakouts around beard hair is a very common problem and comes mostly down to hygiene. How so? Because, even if you’re fairly vigilant about cleansing the skin on your face, grooming your beard often gets forgotten about. Massive mistake. Beard hair collects dirt, dust, grime and all sorts throughout the day, which, if left to their own devices breed bad bacteria and aggravate your skin, causing blocked pores and unwanted acne flare-ups.
The Solution: Make sure you cleanse your face, chin and neck thoroughly, morning and night. But don’t be fooled into buying oil-stripping cleansers that suck all the life out of your skin as these will make it way oilier which could lead to further breakouts. Instead, choose a mild, but effective face wash like our Skin Clearing Charcoal Face Wash. This combines activated coconut charcoal which draws out bacteria and toxins from the skin, while aloe vera and lavender help soothe and heal.
The Problem: Razor Rash
What Causes It: Anyone with slightly sensitive skin knows that feeling of burning, red raw skin you get after shaving. Things like shaving your skin while it’s dry is terrible for aggravating your skin and causing razor rash (aka razor burn), because it strips away the top layer of your skin. Using a crappy blade that’s been around longer than your toothbrush is also asking for trouble.
The Solution: Soak your skin with warm water for a good couple of minutes before shaving to soften both your skin and hair, and swap out your razor blade often to make sure you only ever shave with a sharp blade. Exactly how often will depend entirely on how frequently you shave, but if your razor starts to pull at your skin or feels rough or snaggy when you use it, that’s a sign right there.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) also recommends downsizing your tool to just a single- or double-blade razor as multi-blades can sometimes be a tad too efficient, especially if you have sensitive or dry skin.
After shaving, always finish with a gentle moisturizing serum or lotion to preserve moisture and protect your natural barrier function. Our awesome Hyaluronic Acid Serum will take care of business nicely.
The Problem: Crazy Dry Skin
What Causes It: Shaving inevitably exfoliates your skin by removing the top layers as you glide your razor across your face and neck. And while gentle exfoliation is generally a good thing, shaving every day can be too much and may end up compromising your skin’s natural barrier which is important for keeping toxins and irritants out, while sealing moisture in.
The Solution: Dry, sensitive skin is mostly genetic, but if you employ a few simple shaving solutions you'll easily avoid exacerbating the situation. Your best bets are to keep well away from shaving foams, creams or gels that contain known skin irritants such as fragrance, alcohol and dyes; don’t be heavy-handed with your razor and try a single- or double-blade for a kinder shave.
Of course you must also moisturize, moisturize and maybe moisturize a wee bit more. Even better, moisturize when your skin is still slightly damp after shaving to help seal in water and keep your skin soft and supple for longer. Try our Vitamin C Daily Facial Moisturizer which contains jojoba oil and shea butter for next-level moisturization, minus any of that sticky residue many moisturizers often leave behind. Just remember, as with all new skincare products, perform a patch test first – especially if you have super sensitive skin.
The Problem: Ingrown Hairs
What Causes It: If you’re often plagued with painful, red bumps on your neck or jawline, you’ll hear us when we say how annoying ingrown hairs are. Well, if it’s any consolation (probably not), they happen to almost everyone. However, they’re especially common for those with wavy or curly hair. They occur when a hair that’s been shaven, plucked or even waxed does not leave the follicle, but grows back into the skin and under the surface. This often causes inflammation in the follicle which results in red, skin-colored or dark (depending on your hair color) bumps that are often mistaken for pimples. Ingrown hairs can also become itchy, but scratching and picking at them will just cause further infection and hyperpigmentation. So, don’t do that.
The Solution: Practising smart shaving is paramount so, as with razor rash, always shave after soaking your skin in warm water for a few minutes and never use anything less than a sharp blade. The Mayo Clinic also advises you avoid pulling your skin taut while you shave because this encourages hairs to grow inwards rather than out.
Keeping your skin soft, exfoliated and well moisturized is super important with this one because dry, dead skin cells block your pores, causing further issues with ingrown hairs. Try applying our Tea Tree Clear Skin Super Serum regularly which contains salicylic acid and retinol to encourage cell turnover, as well as anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory tea tree oil.
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.