Why is my beard itchy?
Maybe you are growing out your beard for the first time or even having one for a long time, it is not uncommon for the hair on your face to get itchy. Some of this itchiness can be very minor, so mild that you might not notice it for some time. And some other times, every inch seems to itch. From distracting you during important events of the day to waking you up in the middle of the night, itch in the beard can be very annoying.
Beard hair is not in any way like the hair on your head. Its growth is driven mainly by the testosterone and this is why it is called androgenic hair, the more the testosterone, the more the increase in the growth and thickness of this hair. And due to this fact, you have to treat and care for it differently from the hair on the other parts of the body.
Some itchiness of the beard can be minor, while others can be outrightly serious and require treatment. Itchy beards can be caused by the following causes:
Growing facial hair
The process of growing a beard can cause itchiness, this is depending on the ways that hair and follicles grow. After a shave, the sharp edge of the hair remains inside the follicle. And as this hair grows, the sharp edge scratches the follicle, causing itchiness. When are regular close shaven person starts to grow a beard, this may cause widespread irritation of follicles, and also resulting in considerable discomfort and itchiness.
Different people experience dry skin for different reasons. Most of the time it might be a reaction to soaps or skincare products, very hot water, some changes in the weather and even the lack of enough oil produced in the skin. One can actually treat dry skin with the uses of facial or beard oils.
Dry skin is also known as xerosis and it can be caused either by dry or cold weather or immersing your skin in hot water, particularly during a bath or shower. Most shampoos and soaps can wash off the natural oils in the skin, drying it and making the beard itch.
Ichthyosis is a condition which causes the skin to thicken and become scaly. There are 20 different types of this condition, its carriers are people who have faulty gene passed down to them from their parents. The use of emollients to moisturize the skin and brushing the hair to remove scales can help to manage this dis-figuration.
Severe dryness of the skin is also caused by Psoriasis and eczema. They too can lead to an itchy beard.
When an already shaved hair grows back into its follicle and not out of it is, that is known as ingrown hairs. The follicle is therefore inflamed making the beard itch. People who are prone to this are those who have tight, curly hair. You will notice this when the follicles get red, bumpy, itchy, and sometimes painful around the areas that you’ve shaved.
This disorder starts manifesting when the hair follicles containing the beard hairs get inflamed. This inflammation can be as a result of an infection from bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites.
A beard area where there is the presence of folliculitis the following symptoms are visible: the spot usually look red, painful and feels tender when touched, and usually results in a blister that oozes pus.
This inflammation happens as a result of the facial hairs growing from their follicles, cutting the skin inside the follicle or curve back around into the skin as they try to grow out. The symptoms of razor bumps are similar to those of folliculitis; red, bumpy, and pus-filled blisters are developed on the face.
This is a disorder of the skin condition which is responsible for making the skin scaly, red, and flaky. This disorder is known as dandruff, when on the scalp.
This condition is not limited to just the scalp, it also affects the face and around the beard, most especially if you have naturally oily skin. Yellow, greasy scales and red skin are the symptoms of this disorder. The flakes may fall off though when you rub your beard hair or facial skin.
Tinea barbae is a fungal infection found in the facial hair region. This fungal infection which is caused by a type of fungus called dermatophyte fungus, mostly appear as red, inflamed, and crusty skin around the mouth, cheeks, and even under the chin. It is almost the same as the ringworm of the scalp, which is known as tinea capitis.
The two most common types of tinea that cause your beard to itch are:
- Tinea mentagrophytes var. equinum, this is spread by contact with affected horses
- Tinea verrucosum, this can be spread by contact with cows or other affected livestock
Why is my beard so itchy – Treatment of itchy beards
As an itchy beard is a common occurrence, so are numerous ways to deal with these anomalies. Some of these methods are as simple as just maintaining simple hygiene and cleanliness routines.
Below are some common ways to find relief.
1. Keeping the face clean
Washing the beard and face on a regular routine prevents dirt and bacteria from accumulating. It will also keep too much oil away from the skin, thereby ensuring that the skin doesn’t become too oily. Wash the beard and face every day with warm water and cleanser.
2. Taking frequent baths or showers
Bathe or shower every day, or every other day. make sure to not use water that is excessively hot. And if you live in a very hot climate area suppress the urge to stay too long in the bath or shower.
3. Conditioning the beard
Using of conditioning beard oils on the beard hair will make it softer and less prone to irritate the skin. Ensure that your conditioning oil contains jojoba or argan oils in its nutrient, that is, if you cannot afford to get these essentials in its raw form can keep a beard conditioned.
4. Avoiding chemicals
Avoid chemicals completely during shaving or trimming the beard. Make sure not to use foams, washes, or lotions that contain harsh chemicals. It is better to opt for a natural alternative.
5. Allowing the hair to grow
When embarking on growing out a beard, as tempting as it may seem, always avoid shaving or trimming so that the hair can advance beyond the follicle. This will reduce irritation and follicle damage risks.
If the cause of an itchy beard is an underlying skin condition, medications can be prescribed by a doctor to address the issue.
And the common medications which can be prescribed include:
- Ointment or cream which contains lactic acid and urea. This greatly helps with treating dry skin.
- Mupirocin (also known as Bactroban) is well known for fighting bacterial infections.
- Antifungal cream to treat fungal infections.
- Ketoconazole (also Nizoral). This can be administered if the cause of the eczema is a fungal infection.
- Glycolic acid (which can be found in Neo-Strata) can be used in the treatment of pseudofolliculitis barbae.
- Topical antifungal therapy to treat mild cases of tinea barbae. Oral antifungal treatment, such as itraconazole or terbinafine, is also useful.
7. Surgeries and procedures
If the itchiness becomes acute, or if there is a display of frequent bouts of infection and inflammation, a doctor may suggest laser hair removal.
Alternately, a doctor may recommend the procedure which involves making incisions to drain boils or carbuncles. Carbuncles which are also known as skin abscesses are clusters of boils that can cause or aggravate infections.
Photodynamic (light) therapy is another treatment option.
Some home therapy for treating itching.
1. Sunflower seed oil
A study has revealed that sunflower seed oil greatly improves hydration when it is administered as a moisturizer on its participant’s arms.
2. Coconut oil
The natural oil from a coconut works well to treat dry skin. In a study conducted in 2014, it was found out that coconut oil just as petroleum oil, is as safe and effective for treating dry skin. It was also proved to significantly improve skin hydration, thus, increasing the number of lipids (fats) on the skin surface.
And in 2016, research explains, the presence of saturated fatty acids that have emollient properties in the coconut oil. A moisturizer which contains fat or oil and can function as filling the gaps in dry skin is known as emollient.
3. Oatmeal bath
Another natural ingredient that can greatly help in treating dry skin is the Oatmeal. You can add the powdered to your bath or even use creams that contain oatmeal as it helps to relieve dry skin.
A study conducted in 2015 found that the extracts from oatmeal had anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties; they suggest it can help treat dry skin.
4. Drinking milk
Research in 2015 showed that milk could also offer relief from dry skin, but definitely not when applied to the skin. The research suggested that a diet should include milk as it could improve dry skin.
Phospholipid, which is the fat found in milk, was concluded, in the research, to have greatly improved the skin barrier in mice when added to their diet. More research, they think, is needed to see if drinking milk has the same effect on skin in humans.
Reviewing some research notes, it was found out in 2012 that honey can be beneficial for many types of skin diseases. Some studies suggest that honey may be used as an at-home treatment to relive dry skin. These various studies show honey to have moisturizing, healing and anti-inflammatory effects.
These qualities all points to the fact that honey is an ideal home treatment suitable for relieving dry skin. It is completely natural and can be applied directly to the skin.
6. Petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly, which is otherwise known as mineral oil, has been used and recorded as a moisturizer for years.
Some researchers in 2017 found that the skin barrier in older people improved after they had applied petroleum jelly. This finding encouraged the use of petroleum jelly to treat dry skin, especially the ones caused by aging.
7. Aloe vera
Aloe vera gel may help provide relief from dry skin, according to a 2003 study.
This gel can be applied by persons with dry skin on their hands or feet. They can cover the affected area with a sock or glove. This routine might be preferred to be administered before going to bed, leaving the gel on all night.
If the dry part of the skin is on another area of the body, aloe vera gel should be applied liberally and allowing it to soak in may achieve a similar effect.
8. Good hygiene
Proper and good hygiene cannot be undermined in the care for the beard hairs. Always keep the face and beard clean to prevent oil, dirt, and bacteria buildup. Good hygiene can be tried in the following ways to prevent this beard itchiness:
- At least once a day, take a bath or just shower regularly.
- Sometimes, you might not have the chance to bathe due to some reasons but always make sure to wash your beard with warm water every day.
- Use the specific wash for the face and beard.
- Jojoba and argan oil should be included in the conditioner you want for your beard, as they are known to keep it naturally oily.
- Limit your shower and bath length, and don’t use extremely hot water.
- Always make use of natural aftershave wash or lotion after every shaving and trimming e.g tea tree oil and aloe vera. As much as it might look attractive, avoid products that contain too many harsh, artificial chemicals.
As beautiful as they can be on the carrier, beards can be extremely itchy, especially if you’re growing one out for the first time. A thorough practice of good hygiene and immediate treatment of any infections even at the early stage can help prevent any damage to your skin or hair follicles.