We recently wrote about why skincare is important, and what you need in a basic routine. Our sources stressed that everyone, even men, should use sunscreen daily, and usually moisturizer, too. But one commenter piped up to ask: uh, what if I have a beard?
Illustration: Sam Woolley
That commenter is Platypus Man, and here is his exact question:
Any advice for beards? I know that just because a lot of my face skin is out of sight doesn't mean it should be out of mind, but I'm afraid that a lot of skincare measures are either made difficult by beards, made unnecessary by beards (sunscreen?), or is actively bad for them.
"A great question and a legitimate concern," says dermatologist Dr. Fayne Frey. It may be difficult to apply products like moisturiser, but you should still be thinking about sunscreen.
And sun is still a concern whether you realise it or not. "Although I have never diagnosed a sunburn (due to UVB rays) under a long haired dense beard," she says, "UVA rays, the long wavelength rays that cause ageing & skin cancer may penetrate the beard and cause long term skin issues under the beard."
If you have a short beard, it's best to apply sunscreen anyway — just pretend that the beard isn't there, and work in the sunscreen as best you can. A light sunscreen made for the face will probably be easiest to apply.
For longer beards, you may not be able to get total protection from sunscreen. A few things you can try:
- Try to massage some in anyway
- Stay out of the midday sun
- Shade your face if you can, for example by wearing wide brimmed hats.
I also checked with Dr. Alan Parks, a dermatologist who wears a beard himself. He too recommends using sunscreen with a short beard. He also adds: "speaking from personal experience I think it's a good idea to use conditioner on the beard as it helps cut down on itching and irritation."