Avoid using hot water for rinsing the beard, as it may aggravate the itchy beard sensation. Beardless is passe, and the bearded look is in vogue. No longer youngsters want to keep their stubble short. The trend of growing a beard is fast catching up, and has already made a mark in the fashion world. However, one common complaint among bearded men is the full-fledged beard itch. No one enjoys this scratchy, itchy sensation, that accompanies particularly when growing a beard. Following are the best itchy beard remedies that you could try, if you are troubled by this problem.
Remedies to get rid of Itchy Beard
Condition the Beard
When you are growing a beard for the first time, you are likely to experience itchiness on the skin. This is because, initially, the hair shafts that are very near to the follicle (pouch that contains the hair root) have very sharp edges. As the length of the hair shafts start increasing, these edges act like follicle scraping agents. They scrape against the hair follicles, which can trigger skin irritation and itchiness. Moreover, as the hair strands begin to grow, they eventually curl, hitting back the face with their sharp needle-like edges. This too can cause irritation and make the beard itchy. This is a temporary phase of growing a beard, which goes away within 2 to 3 weeks.
During this phase, you need to condition the beard by applying a few drops of olive or jojoba oil, or even baby oil. You can also use beard oil that is specially formulated for this purpose. These conditioners soften the beard, and moreover the sharp edges of hair strands also, causing less itching.
Shampooing the Beard
An itchy beard indicates that it needs a thorough cleaning. Shampoos are not meant only for your head hair; they can also be used to clean your beard. However, one shouldn’t use regular shampoos, as they have not been formulated for beards. You can use a mild baby shampoo or beard soap or shampoo (twice or thrice a week), as these products are designed for this purpose. However, for serious issues such as a dandruff itch, you might have to use Head and Shoulders or the Selsun Blue shampoo.
You can also use an anti-itch beard wash to clean the beard. Wash your beard under the shower twice or thrice a week, and you will soon notice that it no longer itches. This needs to be followed by conditioning the beard.
In some cases, despite using a shampoo and a conditioner regularly, one may still experience an itchy feeling. This indicates that the skin under the beard has become fairly dry, and requires the use of a moisturizer. So, apart from conditioning, make sure that you apply a moisturizer (3 to 4 times in a week) that infuses your skin with deep-down hydration. This too can help to alleviate the itchy feeling associated with dry skin.
Allowing the moisturizer to sit on the beard can give a feeling of discomfort. So, instead of a moisturizer, you can rinse your beard with a moisturizing soap, such as Dove.
This is essentially an anti-itch cream that may work to get rid of the problem. OTC creams containing 0.5% hydrocortisone are found to be helpful in relieving an itchy sensation.
An itchy beard can also be a symptom of a fungal infection. Also referred to as ringworm of the beard, or tinea barbae, it is a rare form of dermatophytosis, in which the fungus thrives in the bearded areas of the face and neck. The infection caused by T. mentagrophytes and T. verrucosum species of fungus is marked by papules and pustules. Due to this infection, the hair may become brittle. Beard ringworm can be treated with antifungal creams such as terbinafine and miconazole. In severe cases, treatment involves taking an oral dose of antifungal agents like griseofulvin, itraconazole, fluconazole, and ketoconazole, for a period of 2 to 3 weeks.
The problem can also arise due to ingrown hair, a condition that commonly occurs due to improper way of shaving. Ingrown hair means that the hair does not come out from the hair follicles (pouches that contain hair roots), and instead, it moves sideways, piercing the follicle wall, and grows within the skin. This results in the formation of very tiny pimples, with hair shafts emerging from their center. Treatment involves applying acne creams containing retinoid, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid. Severe cases of ingrown hair may require oral intake of antibiotics.
In rare cases, if the problem is severe or not going away even after trying out these remedies, it might be due to some other underlying condition, and it is best to consult your physician for further diagnosis and treatment.