This is the number one complaint of men who are trying to grow a beard. While a little itching is normal during the first days or weeks of beard growth, as the newly grown hair begins to touch the skin, a beard should not remain itchy. If your beard continues to itch after several weeks or even months after growth, you’ve got a problem.
For itchiness during the first phase of growth, the solution is simple. New growth is often thicker and rougher than hair that has had time to wear down a bit as it’s exposed to the elements. You can reduce the itching by softening the hair with products like conditioners, balms, beard butters, and oils. Itchiness that lasts past the first stage of growth is likely an issue of hydration or hygiene. If your skin tends to be dry, it may be that your beard is exacerbating that dryness. Use a hydrating balm, oil, or beard butter to keep your skin feeling soft and itch-free. For hygiene issues, incorporate a gentle soap to cleanse the beard and skin underneath.
Brittle Beards and Breakage
Beard hair is often thick, curly, and more brittle than the hair on our heads. Because of this, it is common for men to struggle with keeping the beard soft and healthy. The best way to combat this issue is by giving the beard the attention it needs. Your specific regimen may depend on your beard’s texture, but most men benefit from a beard oil or balm. These products are high in lipids that substitute or complement the natural oils our body produces. These oils help maintain the health, hydration, and sheen of our hair. Be careful when using these products. A small amount is all that’s necessary. Too much can leave your beard feeling heavy and greasy and promote dandruff.
Beard Flakes and Dandruff
Beard flakes and dandruff can have two causes. Depending on which one affects you, your strategies to fix the issue are very different. If the skin on your face tends to be dry and ashy, having a beard can exacerbate that issue. You may notice that scratching the beard leads to fine flakes of dry skin that fall onto your shirt. If this sounds familiar, you need to up your beard care. Using a dry brush is one of the best ways to help exfoliate the skin underneath your beard. Additionally, shampooing your beard regularly will help you clean out the dirt and dead skin. Once you’re out of the shower, using a balm will help keep your skin hydrated and smooth and keep the flakes off your chest.
Beard dandruff is a slightly more complicated issue. Dandruff is more than just dry skin, it’s the result of a bacterial infestation living on your skin. Yeasts live on your scalp (or in this case, your face) and feast on the sebum secreted naturally by your body. While dry skin can benefit from oils and balms, applying these products to dandruff can make the problem worse. These balms and oils are food for the yeast and simply help them multiply and grow even more rapidly than before.
For dandruff, the best solution is to treat the bacteria causing the problem. Pine tar shampoo and soap are a great, gentle way to treat dandruff on the face and scalp. Pine tar creates a natural relief for the itching and irritation that dandruff causes. Additionally, it works as an anti-dandruff shampoo with natural antiseptic qualities. If a gentle solution like pine tar soap does not work, you may require specially medicated soaps. Look for products containing ketoconazole, a chemical which is used to treat fungal infections. With regular use, that dandruff should clear up in days to weeks.
Ingrown hairs are caused by sheaths of hair that fail to exit the skin, instead growing back into the follicle. When the follicle is blocked, secretions and bacteria are trapped inside and cause redness, irritation, and slight swelling. The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is by practicing good hygiene, especially when it comes to shaving.
Shave right after you get out of the shower, when your skin and beard growth are softest. Use a gel or shaving cream to decrease friction as you shave, which in turn prevents irritation. To prevent cutting your beard hairs too close to the skin, shave in the direction the hair grows. Shaving against the grain will increase the likelihood of ingrown hairs and razor burn. After shaving, rinse with warm water and use a quality, unscented moisturizer to prevent any post-shave irritation.
Men with textured, curly hair may consider adopting a hairstyle that doesn’t require a close shave. Because curly hair has an easier time growing back into the follicle, it’s best to avoid giving your hair the chance. Using trimmers instead of razors and maintaining a little bit of growth is the easiest way to avoid those ingrown hairs.
Sparse, patchy beards
Unfortunately, this problem comes down to simply genetics. If your beard only grows in patches, your best solution is to find a style that makes the most of what you have. Mustaches, goatees, and Van Dykes are classic styles that should work for men with limited facial hair. Beware of tonics that promise to fill in those patches. Unless they’re serious hormones prescribed by a doctor, they won’t help your beard grow anywhere it doesn’t want to naturally.
Most issues with beard maintenance can be solved with proper hygiene and grooming. Just like the hair on your head needs to be washed, combed, and groomed, the hair on your face does too. Packer’s Pine knows how important hygiene and grooming are to men, that’s why we’ve developed rugged, high-quality soaps and shampoos with a recipe that hasn’t changed in more than a century. Give our natural pine tar products a try.