Welcome to another of our HOW TO blog series; educating the beards of the world, on all things beard.
What is ingrown beard hair?
Nothing is worse than ingrown hair; nearly everybody with a beard will get them at one point. Ingrown hairs are simply when the hair shaft grows back into the skin, or sometimes when the hairs curl around before they even exit the skin’s surface. This is because beard hairs are coarse and often curly, and if you shave, you're even more prone to them because the sharpened edge of the hair can easily poke back into the skin. Ingrown hairs can be painful and unsightly buggers, but we've got the knowledge and know-how to keep them at bay...
How to prevent ingrown hair
Prevention is the best cure. Exfoliation is key here; using a good face scrub (St. Ives is a good'un) will help the circulation and enable the hair to exit the skin as it should. When shaving and tidying up, shave in the direction of the hair growth, using a good quality razor and shaving cream. Finish up with a good beard oil like our Old Joll's and it'll keep the pores and skin healthy, as well as softening up the new hair nicely. The simplest way to prevent ingrowing hairs is to let the hair grow naturally and stop shaving - good news for beardies!
How to deal with ingrown hair
If you find yourself with an ingrown hair, you’ll probably see a red inflamed area around the hair follicle, which may resemble a pimple or spot, possibly with some pus. The best course of action here is to leave it be for a while, as ingrown hairs can sometimes just resolve themselves without any interference. Try not to pick at or pop the spot, as tempting as it may be, as this can lead to infection and scarring. Instead, hold a warm, clean and damp cloth to the affected area to open up the pores. Then use a clean pair of tweezers to carefully ease the ingrown hair out of the skin (as long as the hair is not too deep under the skin’s surface). Finish by washing the area to avoid infection. Voila!
Sometimes the situation can be worse than the odd ingrown hair here and there, and the follicles can become infected and more inflamed. Applying some mild antiseptic can be helpful, and refrain from shaving for a few days. If there is no improvement in a couple of weeks you should see you doctor for further advice.
What are split ends?
Moving on to split ends...like head hair, your beard needs regular trims to keep the hair from splitting; even if you’re growing it out, a trim is a good idea once every couple of months to avoid this issue. Split ends occur for several different reasons: for example it can be down to poor beard care, nutritional issues or environmental factors.
How to prevent split ends
Firstly, it’s important to have regular trims. We’ve put together some tips on discussing a beard trim with your barber or learning to trim your own beard which will help you keep split ends at bay. In addition to this, to prevent split ends, keep the beard nourished and conditioned; using a proper beard shampoo and using an oil and beard balm will keep the beard healthy in between trims.
Proper nutrition is also important - we’ve talked in the past in our series of blogs about eating your way to a healthier beard so check out our guides - full of recipes and tips for ensuring you eat a well balanced diet. Ensuring you have all the vitamins and minerals you need can help maintain healthy hair growth.
When washing your beard, don’t be too vigorous! Shampoo it with care and condition it regularly. When you dry it, pat it dry and comb it through gently to minimise the chance of hair damage.
And, after all that, if you do find yourself with some split hairs, don’t fret: simply trim the split ends as soon as you notice them, as they sure do like to make friends. If you take our advice above you should be able to minimise their occurrence, and deal with them as and when they appear.
And there you have it!