When I ask friends why they have done the horrible and abandoned their splendid beards, 9 times out of 10 they give me the same excuse–it was the itch.
Photo credit: Jo Jakeman on Flickr
Yes, for those who don’t know, the first few weeks of growing a manly beard come packaged with some itchiness that can be quite a bother, especially if you are not used to it. I’m here to tell you fellows that the itch is temporary, and that the greatest pleasures in the world await your chin if you only power through the itch.
Someday, if you have patience, your beard will be soft and downy. On that day, your woman will find comfort in your beard as she nuzzles up to you. When she has a hard day, your beard will be a beard to cry in, absorbing her precious tears.
Photo credit: Garrett Meyers.
When you become a manly father, your child will find endless fascination with your beard. He’ll grab it, pull it, yank on it, play with it. Power through the pain like you powered through the itch. The boy is just showing his appreciation of your beard.
When you join the workforce, all of your coworkers will stand in awe of your beard. Walking into work with a beard instantly gives you command and dignity. Coworkers will flock to you for advice and counsel. You’ll receive promotion after promotion for your wisdom and hard work. In short, my bearded friends, if you power through the itch, the world will respect you.
GROW A BEARD.
How to Cure Beard Itch – Beard Itch Relief
During those first few weeks, it may be rough dealing with the itch. Here’s a 5-step plan on how to manage it. Many of these steps are important even after your beard itch is gone, too.
1) Clean your beard.
Every day, the human face sheds thousands of dead skin cells and up to 50 beard hairs. On other parts of the body, these cells and hairs fly away, but a beard catches them and holds them close to the skin, which can agitate it, causing your face to itch.
Regular shampoos are meant for head hair, not androgenic (or terminal) beard hair. Many regular soaps and shampoos come with waxes that can clog pores and dry skin out, making beard itch even worse. Thus, it’s important to use a cleanser designed for androgenic hair. Thankfully, you can buy formula designed for beards, including tar-based beard soap or beard shampoo that can help with red chin skin and flaking.
2) Repair your beard.
If you already have a long-ish beard, your beard hairs might be damaged from heat styling (if you straighten it) and harsher soaps and shampoos. Damaged beard hair tends to spread from tip to root, slowing the growth of the hair and causing the hair to scrape the follicle as it emerges. Beard hairs can be “healed” by absorbing proteins and other conditioning agents that bring moisture back into the strand, revitalizing it. Bluebeard’s beard repair is a good choice.
3) Condition your beard.
Just like head hair, androgenic beard hair needs to be conditioned if you ever want it to become soft and downy. Again, regular hair conditioners are meant for head hair, and are not recommended for beard hair. A quality beard conditioner will coat beard hairs with anti-tangling agents that make them resistant to knots and snags, protecting them from damage and keeping them smooth.
Also, it is useful to use a beard stubble softening agent while your whiskers are short and growing, to prevent them from scraping your follicles and face. This stuff works wonders, making your bristles soft so that they itch you less.
4) Moisturize your beard.
My favorite product for beards is beard oil. I use mine daily. It not only adds a nice sheen to my beard, but it gives it weight and sway. There are dozens of different beard oils to choose from–just make sure you select one that includes an oil easily absorbed by beard strands and your follicles, such as jojoba oil.
Now, there may be some of you who don’t like the thought of an oily beard. I like the feel–just don’t use too much oil (a few drops will do), but there are other products that you can try. One of my favorites is Honest Amish’s Beard Balm, which feels like melted butter when you apply it, but really gives your beard a silky feeling after it dries. See my collection of beard glosses for more items like Honest Amish.
5) Remove any ingrown hairs with tweezers.
Ingrown hairs can occur on you beard, just like on other parts of your body. They are painful, can snag other beard hairs, and damage them. Remove them as you would normally with tweezers, and then dab on a little ingrown beard hair remover to help remove and prevent ingrown hairs.
6) Use T-Gel
If you’ve waited and waited and your beard STILL itches, then use T-Gel. T-Gel is a coal tar product designed to help people who suffer from dandruff and psoriasis, but it also helps stop itchiness. You won’t need to use it forever, but if you simply can’t stand the itch any longer, one bottle of T-Gel should see you through.
Also, see my article on beard dandruff, which contains a selection of other anti-flaking beard products, which can help with itch.
Why Do Beards Itch?
Photo credit: bokeh burger on Flickr.
Beards itch for two reasons. First, when you first start growing a beard after having shaved all your life, your beard hairs are sliced off, leaving a sharp edge on the hair. If you shaved really close to the skin, then the beard hair can sometimes get sucked back into the follicle. This means that as it grows, it scrapes the edges of the follicle as it comes back out, causing itch.
Second, if you have a full-grown and manly beard, but it itches, this is due to a combination of dry skin and a wiry, scraggly beard. If your beard is not moisturized or conditioned, it will get dry, brittle, and coarse. During the course of a day, it will rub against your cheeks and chin, causing irritation and itch. The cure is to go through the steps I outlined above to soften beard hairs and soothe your face irritation.
ENJOY YOUR BEARD.