Suffering from an uncomfortable, annoying, itchy beard?
We feel your pain, brother.
Alongside stunted beard hair growth, hair loss and thinning, beard itch is up there with some of the most annoying beard growth problems you can have.
However, whilst beard itch might seem like bad news, there’s good news too – it’s easy to fix.
In this article, we’re going to impart everything we know about relieving beard itch, so you can get back to growing. Read on to find out more.
First things first – why does my beard itch?
In the first few weeks or months of growing a new beard, you might find yourself saying under your breath “damn, why is my beard so itchy?”“.
The bad news is you’ve got itchy facial hair – and we don’t need to tell you how annoying that is.
The good news is you’re not alone – and having an itchy beard is totally normal and curable.
The reasons behind your beard itch depend on where you’re at in your beard growing journey.
I have a new beard – and damn, it’s itching
New beard? No problem. Itching is totally normal when you’re first starting to grow a beard.
Why? Because for the last however many years of your life, your face has been used to not having hair on it. And it’s grown to like it.
Suddenly met with a torrent of new hair follicles sprouting out left, right and centre, it doesn’t know how to respond. Sadly, the response it chooses is inflammation.
As hairs grow older, the tips of them round off and become softer. But when they emerge from your face, they’re sharp as daggers, which causes tonnes of microscopic cuts across your face.
These sharp edges cause itching – and by scratching that itch, you’re only making the problem worse by further irritating your skin. You also run the risk of pushing unwanted bacteria into your thousands of newly-formed microcuts, which is about as nasty as it sounds.
I have an older, longer, full beard – …and damn, it’s itching
Ok, so you’ve been growing a beard for a while, and all of a sudden, you notice an itch.
It starts subtly at first and goes away with a quick scratch with your fingers.
But as the hours and days roll past, it gets worse. One scratch sets off a torrent of itching. You find it hard to ignore. It’s costing you sleep.
You’ve been loyal to your beard for a long, long time. Why, now, has it chosen to betray you?
The answer? You might not be looking after it as well as you think you might be.
Beard hairs are different from facial hairs – and require different care and attention.
Whilst the hair on your head can get by with a quick shampoo and occasional condition, your beard requires regular maintenance.
If it’s kicking off and itching all of a sudden, it’s likely you’ve got:
- Dead skin cells – clogging up your pores and causing new-found, unwanted inflammation
- Dry, coarse hairs rubbing against skin – causing it to dry out, flake and further dead skin cell build-up
- Ingrown hairs – caused by clogged pores creating even more facial hair irritation
Regardless of whether you’re rocking a new, short beard or are proudly boasting a longer beard you’ve had for years, there are a number of solutions you can implement to quickly and effectively cure your beard itch for good.
How to stop beard itch when growing a beard – 5 steps to hair follicle freedom
Wondering how to stop your beard from itching? We’ve got some itchy beard remedies that will have you covered.
Check out these 5 simple steps and you’ll banish the dreaded beard itch once and for all.
1. Rule out an underlying skin condition
Hold your horses, you coarse-haired cowboy. Before diving into beard itch solutions as a result of beard care issues, we need to rule out other factors first.
If you have a rash…
It’s a little difficult to know whether you’ve got a rash or not if there’s a beard covering it, but part the hairs with a comb – if you have a visible rash, it could be down to an allergic reaction or fungal infection.
Fungal infections can be nasty business, so if you suspect this, swing by your doctors or pharmacists for a second opinion.
And to reduce the risk of allergic reactions, patch test your beard care products before use.
If you don’t have a rash…
If you’re experiencing trouble breathing, stop reading this article and go and see your doctor, because this could be a sign of liver damage or Hodgkin’s Disease.
You could also iron deficient, be a little sensitive to something in your environment, or even be getting irritation off the back of the water in your shower or bath.
2. Keep that beard clean
Thinking about using regular shampoo? Think again. Head shampoo might be fine for your scalp, but the skin on your face is much more gentle and sensitive to the harsh chemicals that standard shampoo contains.
Instead, do your beard a favour and opt for a high-quality all-natural beard shampoo.
Beard shampoos are specially formulated to gently cleanse dirt and dead skin cells away from your pores without aggravating your skin.
Some of the best beard shampoos are formulated with ingredients that actually actively soften beard hairs – one of the best ways to treat dry skin, avoid ingrown hairs and cure that new itchy beard.
3. After you clean it, dry it
Think you’re done after you hit your facial hair with your new shampoo?
Think again. It’s often overlooked because many men like to shoot for the rugged, wind-dried beard look, but if you leave your beard to air-dry, you could actually be doing more harm than good.
By leaving it to dry naturally, you also run the risk of drying out underlying skin. So, after your next wash, properly towel dry your beard or hit it with a hairdryer on a low temperature.
4. Remove dead skin cells
If you want a badass beard worthy of the Gods themselves, focusing on your follicles isn’t enough – you need to look after the skin underneath, too.
Where you’d usually hit your skin with a flannel scrub once or twice a day, achieving the same with beard hair in the way is trickier for most men. As a result, dead skin cells can build up, causing blocked pores, inflammation and ingrown hairs.
The answer? Grab a high-quality beard brush and get to brushing, you bearded beauty. And not just any brush – boar bristle beard brushes are best.
With bristles stiff enough to penetrate thick beards and exfoliate skin but soft enough to not cause damage, these should be your first choice if it’s an option available to you.
5. Keep it hydrated
Dried your beard? Good job. Now it’s time to get it nice and hydrated.
In simple terms, your beard hair is kept soft by something called sebum, which is a type of oil your body produces and secrets from the sebaceous glands of your hair follicles. When your beard is nice and short, your facial hair follicles have enough sebum to go around.
But as it gets longer, sebum oil production can’t cover the demand, meaning you need to pick up the slack.
How? Beard care products like beard oil and beard balm. There are a few key differences between the two, but both will help you to keep your beard hairs hydrated and the underlying skin moisturised, stopping the dreaded dry skin, beard itch and flaking in their tracks.
Underdog Smoke-Spiced Bourbon Beard Oil – 30ml
How long does the itchy stage of growing a beard last?
Hang in there, and whatever you do, don’t pick up that shaver! Because the answer is “not as long as it took you to grow that beard.”
Beard itch doesn’t last long, and judging by the fact that you’re online, researching it and reading this article right now, we’d say you’re in the thick of it.
Beard itch can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Whilst it can clear up on its own, we always advise expediting the process with beard oil or balm.
Does itchy beard mean its growing?
If you’re new to growing a beard, yes – an itchy beard is a sign that hairs are growing. When new beard hairs grow, they grow sharp and create tiny cuts on your face, because your face isn’t used to having hair growing out of it.
Over time, with proper care, this itching will subside, but you fix your itchy beard faster with beard care products like beard oil which soften the hair.
If you’ve had a beard for several months and it starts itching, this isn’t necessarily a sign that it’s growing and could be an indication of a deeper issue. If this is the case, then the above tips should set you on the path to relief.