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Whether you have just started growing your beard or you have had it for a long time, you have probably experienced itching and discomfort in your beard. An itchy beard is a common occurrence and it usually occurs when you are growing your beard for the first time. However, in certain cases, you may have an itchy beard due to an underlying skin condition that requires medical treatment.
The itchiness can range from mild to severe and it can be unpleasant and uncomfortable as scratching the skin constantly will leave your skin feeling irritated.
In this article, we will explain what causes an itchy beard and how it can be treated.
What Causes An Itchy Beard?
Some causes of an itchy beard are minor, while others can be serious. The most common causes of an itchy beard are:
• Facial hair growth
When you shave your beard hair, the sharp edge at the end of each hair remains inside the follicle. As the hair starts growing, the sharp edge of the hair scrapes against the edges of the follicle and causes itchiness.
If you have been shaving and starting to grow a beard, you will experience itchiness.
• Dry skin
Dry skin is another cause of itchy beard. Weather changes, using soaps and other skin care products that affect the skin's natural oils, using certain medications or skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can cause dry skin.
• Ingrown hair
Ingrown hair occurs when a hair that has been shaved grows inwards, back into its follicle instead of growing out. This results in inflamed follicles and causes itchiness.
• Tinea barbae
It is caused by a type of fungus called dermatophyte that causes fungal infection in the bearded and moustache area of the face and neck, mainly around your mouth, cheeks and under your chin. It causes the skin to become red, inflamed, crusty and itchy .
It is characterised by the inflammation of hair follicles. If folliculitis occurs on the face, it can cause your beard to itch. Folliculitis is usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection .
• Seborrheic eczema
Seborrheic eczema, also known as seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff is a skin condition that causes your skin to become red, scaly and flaky. It most commonly affects your scalp; however, it can also affect the beard region .
• Pseudofolliculitis barbae
Pseudofolliculitis barbae, also called razor bumps is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs when facial hairs growing from their follicles cut your skin inside the follicle or curve backwards and grow inside your skin. It happens as a result of shaving and causes red or pus-filled bumps to develop in the beard region .
How To Treat An Itchy Beard?
Minor causes of itchy beard can be treated by practicing some facial hygiene methods. And if an itchy beard is caused by a serious skin condition, it can be treated with medications.
• Keep your face and beard clean
It is important that you wash your face and beard frequently to prevent the buildup of dirt, oil and bacteria. Here are some tips on how to keep your beard and face clean to prevent an itchy beard:
• Take a bath everyday and avoid bathing in hot water and taking bath for too long.
• Wash your face and beard with warm water and cleanser daily.
• Use a beard face wash that is only meant for beard care.
• Use jojoba oil or argan oil to keep your beard conditioned.
• When shaving or trimming your beard, do not use face washes, foams or lotions that contain harsh chemicals. Instead, use a natural aftershave wash or lotion like aloe vera or tea tree oil.
• When you are growing your beard, avoid shaving or trimming the hair. Allow the beard hair to grow to prevent follicle damage and ingrown hairs.
Your doctor may prescribe some medications depending on what skin condition you have that's causing your beard to itch.
• Ointments or creams with lactic acid and urea can help treat dry skin.
• Mupirocin, an antibiotic medication used to treat bacterial infections .
• Antifungal cream to treat fungal infections.
• Topical corticosteroid cream for non-infectious skin conditions.
• Glycolic acid to treat pseudofolliculitis barbae .
• Hydrocortisone, clobetasol and ketoconazole medication for treating seborrheic eczema .
• Itraconazole and terbinafine for treating tinea barbae .
If you have a chronic skin condition that causes your beard to itch due to constant infections and inflammation, your doctor may suggest laser hair removal.
Your doctor may recommend a procedure that involves making incisions to drain boils or carbuncles (cluster of boils) that are making your infections worse.
If you are growing your beard for the first time, you may experience an itchy beard. Maintaining proper face hygiene can help prevent minor causes of itchy beard. If an itchy beard is caused due to an underlying skin condition, seeking early medical treatment can prevent further damage to the skin and hair follicles.