Sometimes growing a beard can be a way of hiding acne, but in other times under beard pimples are the reason men shave their beards off completely.
We get how annoying it can be to have beard acne pop up sporadically or suffer from it all the time, but that does not mean you have to shave, and it’s extremely likely that the beard is not even the cause of your breakouts.
What are you talking about? I have read multiple news reports on how beards are as dirty as toilet seats, so they have to cause acne too!
The original news report which claimed that was actually debunked several times, and it was found later that clean-shaven men have just as much bacteria in their faces as bearded men do (source).
Simply put; yes there is bacteria in your beard – some of it which might cause acne breakouts – but removing the beard isn’t a solution, as the clean-shaven face has all that same bacteria in it regardless.
Sure, face wash and shaving companies are glad to instruct you to shave regularly and wash your face twice per day to reduce breakouts and have a blemish-free face…
But the thing is that they’re just trying to maximize their own profits with such claims, as they will be the ones to supply you with the razors and face washes.
NOTE: While this article does cover helpful tips on preventing and stopping mild to moderate beard acne, we still suggest that you talk with a professional dermatologist if your acne is severe and you need some expert help on getting rid of that without sacrificing your facial hair.
So are you ready to crush facial hair acne for good? Great, then continue reading below. ↓
The Key Steps to Stopping Beard Acne
1. Stop Shaving Too Close to the Skin
Shaving close to the skin on a daily basis puts unnecessary and constant stress on the skin.
And when the beard hairs are cut so short that they’re practically at the level of the skin surface, then it’s much more likely that some of them will get trapped underneath the skin.
This is bad, as frequent shaving is the leading cause of ingrown beard hairs, which – if you have acne already – result in painful and inflamed beard pimples.
In fact, what many men believe to be pimples, are actually razor bumps instead, which can be caused by ingrown hairs, unclean blades, shaving against the grain, and using shaving products with mineral oil and other pore-blocking ingredients.
The best option is of course not to shave at all (and grow a mean beard in the process).
But if you absolutely need to shave for work, then consider getting a stubble trimmer that doesn’t shave too close to the skin, or better yet, grow a corporate beard that is accepted in many office jobs.
2. Wash and Condition your Beard
Just because facial hair can be as clean as clean-shave skin, it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t ever have to wash your beard.
To keep facial hair pimples at bay, it’s still recommended that you use gentle beard shampoo and beard conditioner on your facial hair 2-3 times per week (or just once if you’re not that active and have a clean job).
Can’t I use just regular shampoo instead?
You could, but it’s well known by most seasoned beardsmen that washing your face too often or with generic scalp-hair washes will result in the complete annihilation of the natural sebum oils from your beard skin.
This is really bad for the health and growth of your beard rate and will result in beard itch, beard dandruff, dry skin under the beard, facial hair split-ends, and worsening of beard zits and acne.
(more about the topic can be found in our beard shampoo vs. generic shampoo article).
Your beard acne is more than likely caused by a combination of bacteria and inflammation at the skin level, NOT because of the natural oils that actually are the perfect moisturizer for your skin and beard.
That’s why the best beard and face washing method is to use gentle and natural shampoos and conditioners, and use them sporadically so that you don’t disrupt the natural oil balance of the skin too much.
3. Use a Beard Exfoliating Scrub
If you look up any other guide about preventing beard acne, you can find them telling you to exfoliate, scrub, and then exfoliate some more, daily or twice per day in some cases.
Of course, these are the websites that also – very conveniently – sell you the face scrubs at the same time.
Sure, exfoliating the beard can help remove oily build-up, reduce blemishes, remove dead skin cells, and open blocked pores.
But you still don’t have to do it daily, and you shouldn’t.
Just like washing the beard, exfoliating it will also strip away all the sebum oils that would otherwise naturally moisturize and nourish the facial hair and the skin underneath it.
So scrubbing the skin can help prevent beard acne, but over-scrubbing can worsen it. How often should I exfoliate the skin underneath the beard then?
Most beard grooming experts would agree that it’s enough to exfoliate the under beard skin just 1-2 times per month, so about once every two months.
Once you deep-cleanse the beard skin, it will take weeks before there’s any real build-up of dead skin cells and debris, so exfoliating daily, is just borderline stupid and a grand waste of money.
You can learn more about this in our articles about how to exfoliate the beard and our review about the best beard scrubs. If you’re too lazy to read them, I would just suggest getting something like the Scotch Porter Face Scrub and using that once every two weeks.
4. Consider Getting a Beard Brush
While you shouldn’t be scrubbing and exfoliating the beard skin daily if you’re using an exfoliating lotion/scrub, there’s still one way to daily clean and mildly exfoliate the beard skin.
And that would be the use of a boar bristle beard brush.
The natural boar’s hairs will glide through your whiskers from root to tip, and effectively remove some of the dead skin cells, dirt, and debris that is stuck on your facial hair.
Better yet, using a beard brush does not strip the skin of its precious natural oils. So you can do it daily without any risk of dry skin, beard damage, or worsening of your acne symptoms.
For a good exfoliating beard brush that could be added into your beard pimple prevention routine, I would suggest something like the Seven Potions Beard Brush which has stiff first-cut boar bristles perfect for exfoliation purposes.
5. Moisturize the Skin Underneath the Beard
Healthy skin is a well-moisturized skin, and in the case of acne, it may seem counterintuitive to apply any moisturizer or worse yet; beard oil.
But the fact is that the risk of getting permanent acne scars and permanent skin blemishes is much higher if your skin is dry and lacks elasticity.
This is why you should always moisturize the beard and the skin underneath it with a light non-comedogenic (doesn’t block pores) beard oil. We also recommend that you apply beard oil after you wash or exfoliate the beard to quickly replenish the natural oil balance of the skin.
(again, remember that your acne and pimples are almost never caused by the natural oils, but instead by inflammation and bacteria).
But what sort of moisturizing beard oil should I choose to prevent beard pimples?
You should opt for something light and anti-comedogenic so that it absorbs quickly to the deep skin layers but doesn’t clog your pores.
Jojoba oil and meadowfoam seed oil would be the best choices, and I actually recommend you to make a DIY beard oil using those two and then add in few drops of peppermint oil and lemongrass essential oils as well, as they both can kill off some of the bacteria associated with acne growth.
Anti-Acne Beard Oil
- 1/2 oz. Organic jojoba oil
- 1/2 oz. Meadowfoam seed oil
- 4 drops lemongrass essential oil
- 2 drops peppermint essential oil
- Pour the carrier oils into a small measuring cup.
- Use a small funnel to pour them into a dark glass bottle.
- Add in the essential oils drop by drop (carefully).
- Shake the bottle well and close the dropper-cap
Acne and blemishes can be really embarrassing and discomforting.
when they’re hidden underneath your beard, it can be tempting to shave, thinking that this would more easily help get rid of the pimples.
But it doesn’t, as beard are just as dirty as clean-shaven faces, and there are multiple ways to fight beard acne even without removing your glorious whiskers.
How? Well, just follow the five tips we outlined above, and you should be well on your way to a blemish-free and clear face.