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11 Common, But No So Common Beard Problems And Ways To Treat Them

Beard needs a lot of maintenance and care. The health and hygiene of the beard matters as a number of diseases can hide in them, which may progress and cause lifestyle problems in men.

The facts about beard problems are they are often unnoticed and unrecognisable. Men who take care of their beard in a healthy way by properly shaving, washing, drying and oiling them may face no or fewer problems, compared to men who pay less attention to grooming their beard.

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In this article, we will discuss some of the common beard problems and how to treat them. Also, don't forget to incorporate these tips into your life.

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Beard Problems That Men Face

1. Beard lice

Lice in the beard and moustache are often the result of the spread of lice from the pubic region, precisely through oral sexual contact or skin-to-skin contact with the infected areas. A study published under the title "Pubic Lice In Facial Hair" talks about a single man who was diagnosed with phthiriasis of the facial hair which he acquired through oral sexual contact.

The symptoms were noticed three days prior to the contact with yellowish deposits on the facial hair, followed by itching and sensation in the area. The diagnosis revealed crab-shaped parasites (lice) with thick claws, along with their translucent nits. [1]

2. Beard mites

Demodex are tiny parasitic mites that live near or in the hair follicles and cause certain dermatological conditions. Mainly two species of Demodex i.e Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis affect humans. Though the infestation usually remains asymptomatic, skin problems occur when the person has a weakened immune system.

These face mites can spread on the beard through physical contact and cause tiny white bumps like acne or whiteheads, along with itching, redness, irritation and burrow marks in the face. [2] Another type of mites that may affect the beard is Sarcoptes scabiei which causes scabies mites. [3]

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3. Fungal infection

Fungal infections in the beard are common as it is often transmitted by contaminated hairbrush, shaving tools and hats. Dermatophytes are fungi that mainly invade keratin of the skin for their growth, and cause infection referred to as tinea, which is categorised as per body sites that are affected.

Tinea barbae is a dermatophyte infection that infects the beard and moustache and may cause inflamed red lumps, pustules and crusting in the beard areas. It is also called a barber's itch and beard ringworm. [4]

4. Beard dandruff

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a condition that mainly affects those areas of the skin where there is a rich supply of sebaceous glands, including the beard. It is mainly caused by a yeast called Malassezia or due to dry skin. The symptoms of seborrhoeic include stubborn dandruff, scaly patches and inflamed red rashes on the skin.

Seborrhoeic could be severe in patients with immune conditions like HIV. [5]

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5. Shaving problems

According to a study, shaving or plucking the hair can onset an inflammatory reaction in the area resulting in a condition called Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB). Though the cause of PFB is multifactorial, it is mainly caused by penetration of the skin into the sharp growing tips of shaved hairs, leading to problems like itching, pimples, pus and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

The PFB mainly occurs in the beard due to frequent shavings but can also appear on other shaved body parts. [6]

6. Problems with dense and curly beards

Pseudofolliculitis corporis is another condition of the beard, similar to Pseudofolliculitis barbae. It is an inflammatory disorder that occurs in men who naturally have coarse, dense and tightly curled beards.

After the shave when the hair starts growing, sometimes, instead of growing straight out of the follicle, the hair curls back into the skin, sometimes with multiple folds, causing inflammation and resulting in Pseudofolliculitis corporis. [7]

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7. Dirt

Some anecdotal studies say that beards carry more germs than dogs carry in their fur. As our face is exposed to several types of germs and dirt on a daily basis, the same goes for beards.

The hairs of the beard catch dirt particles when exposed to them, and if not brushed or washed properly, can cause breakouts due to friction of the particles on the skin and result in irritation, itching, redness and other skin problems.

8. Beard hair loss

It is characterised by bald spots or patches on the beards. Some of the main causes for beard hair loss are alopecia, ringworm infection and chemotherapy. Beard hair loss can come suddenly, go away suddenly or can stay for a longer period. They vary in size from person to person and cause symptoms depending on the cause.

In alopecia, beard hair loss could be autoimmune and non-contagious; in ringworm infection, it could be due to sharing of infected objects; and in chemotherapy, it could be due to harsh radiations.

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9. Beard acne

Acne near, over or underneath the beard areas could be frustrating and painful and can lower your confidence due to appearance problems. It can be due to many reasons such as harsh shaving, shaving tightly curved beards, dry skin and bacterial and fungal infections.

Severe forms of beard acne due to infections can cause permanent hair loss and scarring on the skin.

Photo credit:health.clevelandclinic.org

10. Unwanted facial hairs

Androgen, a male sex hormone helps in the physique development in males, including the growth of beard. Though the hormone is also found in women, the production is only limited to the growth of pubic and underarm hairs. Sometimes, the androgens in males get uncontrolled and result in unwanted facial hairs, especially near the beards areas.

According to a study, electrolysis or permanent hair removal is the only solution to it as frequent shaving or epilation of the beard are temporary methods and can also cause dryness, redness, itching, hyperpigmentation and other skin disorders. [8]

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11. Smelly beard

Poor hygiene of the beard can result in a smelly beard. The smell from the beard is often a result of bacterial infections and excessive sweating in the beard area. Some of the other causes include unhealthy diet, poor hydration and certain bad quality beard products.

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How To Get Rid Of Beard Problems?

1. Washing

  • Wash your beard regularly and twice a day with good quality products specially made for beards.
  • Don't forget to moisturise them to prevent dry skin.
  • If you have acne problems, wash with beard creams that may help reduce the production of excessive oils from the beard.
  • You can also exfoliate the beard in proper ways to free it from dead skin.
  • 2. Shaving

    • Shave with less pressure.
    • Perform pre-and post-shave skin treatment or stop shaving altogether. [9]
    • Avoid using old razors and change their blades after 5-10 shaves.
    • Sterilise the razor frequently to prevent infection of the follicles.
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      3. Grooming

      • Use a special beard shampoo and conditioner to make them soft and combable.
      • Apply beard oil and a moustache wax that will help them stay soft
      • Use good quality beard products. Perform a skin patch test before using them.
      • You can use aloe vera gel as a night cream to keep the beard healthy and soft.
      • 4. Sweating

        • If you have sweating problems in the beard, always carry a sweat towel and wipe your beard and head and keep them dry.
        • Wear a sweatband to prevent the dripping of sweat into the beard.
        • Avoid using creams that may trigger sweating.
        • 5. Others

          • Keep your hands clean as you might be frequently touching your beard which may allow the transfer of germs, dirt or infection.
          • Eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated as these factors also affect your beard health.
          • Beard absorbs the smell of the environment and can make it stink. Therefore, if you are in an environment where there is excessive odour and pollution, cover it with a cloth to prevent it.
          • You can go for permanent hair removal of unwanted hairs grown around your beard if you have dense curly beards.
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            To Conclude

            Experts suggest to never ignore beard problems and take good care of them. This is because the beard is an important part of a man's body and ignoring it can result in skin problems, which can affect your quality of life. Also, make sure all the treatment methods are done under the supervision of a medical expert.