Beards are Back: A Guide to a Healthy, Happy Beard
Beards are back. A YouGov poll conducted in 2017 found that beards were on the rise – with 44% of men sporting full beards, compared with 29% five years prior. The poll also concluded that facial hair is also becoming more popular with British women.
But a less well-kept, unhygienic beard can cause irritation and skin problems. So, if you fancy yourself some whiskers, here’s the Treated.com guide to a happy, healthy, beard.
How to Maintain and Keep a Healthy Beard
Like the rest of your body, it’s important to keep a beard clean. Specialist beard shampoos, oils, ointments and conditioners are available on the market – but a healthy beard needn’t cost a fortune. A regular shampoo made with natural ingredients will do the trick.
Massage the shampoo carefully into the beard, and be as thorough as possible. Rinse well with warm water, ensuring no shampoo is left.
We recommend a good beard wash once or twice a week. Without a regular wash, your beard might become a squatting site for bacteria, food and skin cells which could create itchiness. But if you wash it too much, you might strip your hair of its natural oils and this will cause it to dry out.
As you hang up your razor blade and begin to grow your facial hair, you may notice the odd ingrown hair. This is fairly common. Try not to touch it, and see if it naturally disappears before taking action. If it doesn’t go away, gently pry it out using a sterile pair of tweezers. It’s better to not remove it with your hands, or you may spread bacteria or risk infection.
As it begins to take shape, trim your beard regularly to your preference. This will help to remove split ends.
Remember, like your hair, your beard is an extension of you, and your lifestyle habits can affect its quality. Try to eat as healthy and balanced diet as possible, so your beard gets all the nutrients it needs.
“Vitamin A is essential for cell growth, including hair. Good sources of this include beef liver, cod liver oil, sweet potatoes, spinach and broccoli.” Dr Daniel Atkinson comments,
“A B-vitamin called biotin is very good specifically for hair, some foods with this vitamin include eggs, almonds, cauliflower, certain cheeses and mushrooms.
Vitamins C, D and E are also said to be helpful for hair growth.” He concludes.
How to Avoid a Rash?
Facial hair can bring irritating rashes, but this should not dissuade you from growing a beard. Beard rash is the result of dry skin, bacterial buildup, the weather, over or under-washing or shaving in a way that leaves too many cuts.
The first piece of advice is not to shave for a while, allow the skin to avoid further irritation and give it time to heal naturally.
This may not solve the issue of dry skin, however, particularly if it’s the result of cold weather. Moisturize your beard and the skin underneath to keep it from feeling dry.
Plant based oils are also said to have useful anti-inflammatory effects.
Once it comes time to shave again, ensure razors, beard trimmers and scissors are kept clean. It’s an easy thing to forget or overlook. A dirty razor interacting with a cut or rash is the last thing you want, and will far worsen the issue.
Finally, keep your beard clean. Follow our guidelines and you’ll maintain a happy, health beard. If the rash doesn’t go away, and acne is prevalent, even after doing what we’ve recommended then you should seek medical advice or consult with a dermatologist.
Is my Beard Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat?
You may have read or heard about news articles about how beards carry more harmful bacteria than toilet seats, and can even attract dog fur particles. While this may be true of some of the samples used in the study, it needn’t be cause for panic. Nor should it persuade you to shave your beard off.
Everything contains bacteria – your beard is no exception. Some bacteria is good and some is bad. Healthy skin and hair is about maintaining a good balance: not ‘under’-cleaning but not ‘over’-cleaning either. So wash your beard enough to rid yourself of the bad bacteria, but not so much you strip it of the natural good stuff.
What if I Can’t Grow a Beard?
If you find yourself unable to grow a beard, you’re not alone. Many men struggle to grow facial hair until a later age. Some argue that regular exercise and a healthy diet are paramount to facial hair growth.
However, facial hair growth is stimulated by the chemical dihydrotestosterone, which is synthesized from testosterone – the hormone that affects a man’s muscular structure and sexual development.
Most men who can’t grow stubble are simply less sensitive to testosterone than their counterparts. Rarely, they might have lower circulating levels of testosterone. You can read more about low testosterone levels here.
It has nothing to do with masculinity. It’s simply a question of genetics. It’s important to keep this in mind, and not feel like you are any less of a man if you struggle to grow facial hair.