How To Keep Your Beard Clean And Hygienic

Growing a beard can be a fashion statement, a way to express yourself, or simply a personal preference. There are a handful of myths surrounding beard care that you've probably heard; for instance, it has been said that gray beard hairs are coarser than other hair shades, but if groomed and conditioned properly then that simply isn't the case (via GQ). Another myth is that shaving more often will lead a fuller beard, but that isn't scientifically backed; speculation around why the myth exists is based on the prickly sensation of new beard hairs emerging from the skin, giving the false impression that more growth is happening. Similarly, there aren't any vitamins or foods out there that will cause faster beard growth, though consuming enough essential nutrients in your diet should always be a priority for beard and skin health. 

Knowing exactly how to keep your facial hair clean and hygienic may seem confusing, especially with the multitude of grooming products on the market. To simplify things, you'll want to shop for products that are meant for your skin type, reports Forbes. The products designed for oily skin won't work for dry skin, and vice versa. And while you may not think of your skin when you consider your beard, the skin beneath your facial hair is equally as important. Demystifying beard care may answer some questions you've had since your first facial hairs made their appearance, so here are a few more pointers for beard hygiene.

Start with soap and sunscreen

Two products you'll want to invest in are a good cleanser and sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, washing both your face and your facial hair every day rids your beard area of dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria, pollutants, and excess oil that can block pores, cause acne, and irritate both skin and hair follicles. You don't want a skin issue that would require that you shave your beard to treat, so washing your face each day is paramount. To properly cleanse your beard area, it's recommended that you select a cleanser designed for your skin type. Oily and acne-prone skin should use a product containing glycolic acid or salicylic acid, while dry skin should be washed with a cleanser that's fragrance-free and hydrating. Sensitive skin should also be cleansed with a fragrance-free wash. If you're prone to ingrown hairs or clogged pores, you can add a mild exfoliating scrub.

While washing your face removes dirt and other potential irritants from your skin, it's equally important to ensure that it remains protected. Regardless of additional products you include in your beard care routine, sunscreen should be at the top of the list (per Forbes). Protecting the skin beneath your beard is critical in shielding you from potential sun damage and skin cancers. In turn, you'll want to ensure you wash your face at the end of every day so that the sunscreen doesn't clog pores overnight.

The benefits of beard oil and moisturizer

After you've thoroughly washed your beard and the skin underneath, the next step is applying moisturizer or beard oil to keep your skin hydrated and free from irritation (per OnlyMyHealth). During your shower, you can opt for facial cleanser or a specific beard shampoo and conditioner. After washing your face, while your beard is still wet, comb it with a beard brush and then apply beard oil. To do so, squeeze out a few drops of oil onto your clean hands and then gently massage it into your beard. After you've spread the oil throughout your beard, comb it again to even out the application.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends utilizing a moisturizer to soften beard hairs and prevent dry skin that can lead to an itchy beard. For skin that is acne-prone, the best way to moisturize is by using beard conditioner, while beard oil is suggested for both dry and normal skin. If you have sensitive skin, look for a non-comedogenic moisturizer that is fragrance-free. These tips are recommended for beards of all lengths, though you should refrain from using beard oil while still in the stubble phase and should instead wait for your beard to grow in. Finally, if you shave your neck or any area around your beard, be certain to change your razor blade at least once a week, or every 5 to 7 shaves.