The Regimen

Men’s Skincare: Beard Acne and Other Prickly Issues

Whether you’re new to beard protocol (welcome, pandemic beard growers), or you’re a longtime bard of the beard, you are probably discovering that whiskers can come with some prickly skin problems, namely beard acne, itching, dry skin, and ingrown hairs. And mask-wearing can make all those issues worse.


So what can you do to keep your facial hair free of distraction? Here’s everything you need to know to keep your skin healthy while your beard prospers.


What causes beard acne?

Beard acne is caused by the same things that cause any acne, clogged follicles, bacteria, and inflammation. But in this scenario, your facial hair is compounding the traditional acne triggers by trapping oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, plus dust and dirt that your beard picks up during the day.


Best cleansers for clearing beard acne

Keep skin free of pore-clogging debris and acne bacteria by cleansing twice daily with a mildly exfoliating, antibacterial wash or scrub.


A mandelic acid-based cleanser is a top pick for keeping the skin under your beard smooth and calm. It’s an alpha hydroxy acid, which chemically exfoliates the skin by breaking down the cellular glue that binds dead skin cells. Mandelic acid is the gentlest of all the AHAs, so it won’t irritate. It’s also antimicrobial, so it kills acne bacteria while clearing cellular debris and excess oil.


Our Mandelic Acid Wash is a gentle, antibacterial, micro-exfoliating, and brightening cleanser. Prefer a scrub? Go with Mandelic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser.


For more resistant acne, benzoyl peroxide is your go-to. The acne-fighting superhero releases oxygen into the pore to kill bacteria and flush out impactions. Our BP 3% Acne Wash or BP 3% Exfoliating Cleanser are excellent choices.


Is beard dandruff a thing?

It is. Beard dandruff—itchy, scaly skin and flakes in your beard—is technically known as seborrheic dermatitis. It’s thought to be caused by yeast on the skin called Malassezia. If you’re one of the people whose immune system goes medieval on this particular variety of yeast, the reaction will show up as a scaly, flaky rash on the scalp, eyebrows, nose, mustache, or beard area.


Dandruff shampoos rely on chemicals like ketoconazole and zinc pyrithione to kill the yeast and bring things back into balance. But those chemicals can be harsh and irritating. For a less harsh but equally effective alternative, try our Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser. Technically a facial cleanser, this multi-tasking formula pulls its weight as a super effective shampoo and shaving gel. Studies confirm green tea-based shampoos perform as well as chemical-based shampoos in treating seborrheic dermatitis while reducing redness and inflammation associated with it.


Green tea is also antibacterial and sebum-reducing, making this the ideal cleanser if you have beard acne along with flakes.


Dealing with ingrown hairs 

If your clean-up shaving on the neck and chin areas leaves you with rashy razor burn and ingrown hairs, a mild exfoliating scrub, especially one with antimicrobial properties like our Mandelic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser, can help to release the trapped hair, knockout infection, and calm inflammation.


Follow your mandelic cleanse with Vivant’s clarifying Daily Repair Pads. These textured single-use pads contain mandelic, lactic, and salicylic acids to unblock pores and kill bacteria. The formula is balanced with healing and hydrating elements like niacinamide and zinc peptides.



Detox with a facial mask

You might think your facial hair would make it tough to use a facial mask. It depends on the mask and the beard. If your beard is short, you can apply the mask right over the hair. If it’s a little bushier, use your fingers to rub the mask onto the skin around the hairs.


A clay mask works well as it will easily wash out of your beard, though you may want to hop in the shower to make the job easier. Avoid peel masks that may pull the hair or sheet masks that won’t connect with the skin.


Vivant’s Sulfur Clay Mask is the ultimate healing detox, blending sulfur (an antibacterial mineral that fights breakouts), anti-inflammatory zinc sulfate, and salicylic acid in a bentonite clay base.


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