Just like the rest of your face, psoriasis can affect the skin under your beard. But taking the time to change your skin care routine may help mitigate flakes and itchiness.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that can cause itchy, flaky, and inflamed skin all over the body. If you have facial psoriasis, you may deal with patches on your cheeks, including under your beard (unofficially called beard psoriasis).
Shaving and beard products can further irritate skin psoriasis, making it tough to get rid of flaky skin. However, changing up your facial hair products and sticking to a psoriasis-friendly skin care routine can help you manage beard psoriasis.
Your skin care routine should already show your beard some love. But if you have beard psoriasis, sticking to a simple and moisturizing routine should help treat flakes.
1. Wash your face and beard
Avoid harsh soaps that might irritate your skin. Instead, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) suggests using a gentle facial cleanser on your beard and face.
You should also cater your cleanser to your skin type. If you also have oily or acne-prone skin, look for a cleanser with salicylic or glycolic acids to help manage clogged pores and gently exfoliate psoriasis patches. If you have naturally dry skin, choose a cleanser that has more moisturizing ingredients to help hydrate the skin barrier. Using a fragrance-free cleanser can also help avoid further drying and irritation.
After you wash your face in gentle, circular motions. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat your face semi-dry, leaving it a little damp.
2. Use a moisturizer
Applying a moisturizer to clean, damp skin can help your skin soak in moisture and hydrate those dry, flaky patches. That means apply moisturizer to your beard too!
The AAD suggests using a non-comedogenic beard conditioner to avoid more breakouts and irritation if you deal with acne. If you’re more concerned about dryness and irritated skin, try beard oil or a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer.
Exfoliating your beard area with a chemical exfoliant 1 to 2 times a week can help you prevent ingrown hairs. These painful bumps will only make inflammation and psoriasis plaques worse.
Exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid can also help gently buff away flakes and dead skin cells.
6. Shave with care
If you shave your beard, or just tidy up the edges, shaving can further irritate your skin and prompt a psoriasis flare. The AAD suggests these shaving tips to avoid further irritation:
- Swap for a clean razor blade after 5 to 7 shaves
- Shave after a shower or place a warm towel on your face for a few minutes to soften the hair
- Make sure your skin and beard are wet
- Apply shaving cream, oil or gel prior to shaving
- Shave in the direction your beard grows, not against the grain
- After each pass of your razor, rinse it
- Use a moisturizer, beard oil, or beard conditioner right after shaving
Psoriasis is an autoimmune-mediated disease, which can cause inflammation throughout your body. Since your immune system is hyperactive, your skin cells produce way faster and can cause buildup before they have time to slough off. This creates those pink or red patches with silvery scales on lighter skin tones. You’ll see purple or dark patches with gray scales on darker skin tones. This can happen anywhere on the body, including under your beard, but common places include:
Environmental triggers like physical trauma, drug use, infection, obesity, stress, smoking, and excess alcohol may also cause psoriasis flares. In the beard area specifically, shaving and beard products may cause further irritation that triggers a flare.
The skin on your face is already sensitive, and beard psoriasis makes you even more prone to irritation. Here are some skin care ingredients to look for when dealing with beard psoriasis:
- Calamine, camphor, hydrocortisone, or menthol: These anti-itch ingredients help soothe itchy skin and redness.
- Coal tar: Treats itching, redness, flaking, and swelling. Plus, it helps slow skin cell growth.
- Jojoba oil: Moisturizes skin and hair to soothe dryness.
- Salicylic acid: Exfoliates scales and helps treat acne when used in moderation.
It’s also a good idea to look for the National Psoriasis Foundation’s Seal of Recognition on any over-the-counter (OTC) products for your face or beard.
And before using any new product, always do a patch test first to make sure you don’t have a reaction.
On the flip side, some products further irritate beard psoriasis and should be avoided. The most usual suspects include:
- Alcohol: When present in hygiene products, alcohol can further dry and irritate the skin.
- Fragrance. With a massive list of thousands of potential ingredients, fragrance can dry out the skin and aggravate sensitive skin.
If changing your skin care products and routine doesn’t help treat your beard psoriasis, there are alternatives methods that treat psoriasis as a whole.
Visiting a board-certified dermatologist can also help you figure out the best way to manage your psoriasis and get prescription-strength treatments. Your derm may recommend something like:
- vitamin D analogs
- calcineurin inhibitors
Stress can also trigger psoriasis, so finding ways to relax or avoid things that stress you out may help. Yoga or meditation are strong candidates to find your zen. Plus, scaling back your drinking, and avoiding smoking, may help.
Beard acne comes in varying degrees, and some cases are more severe than others.
If things get more serious, however, you should definitely speak to a medical derm. We’re talking symptoms like:
- hair loss
- bleeding or pus from the skin
- noticeable pain, rather than discomfort
- rashes spreading
- raised, red patches of skin
A doctor might refer you for treatments ranging from antibiotics to laser treatments for your skin to help calm your psoriasis.
If you have beard psoriasis, you have patches of psoriasis on the skin under your beard. However, a few simple adjustments to your skin care routine and avoiding triggers may help you manage a flare.
In more severe cases that result in hair loss, bleeding, or pain, head to a dermatologist for help. They can help you explore additional options to treat psoriasis under your beard.