Men’s Grooming: How to Care for Facial Hair - Tips from Board-Certified Dermatologists

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For many, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in less shaving and more beard-growing. However, how does one properly groom facial hair? According to dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, healthy-looking facial hair starts with healthy skin.

With the right skin care, it's possible to prevent problems like dandruff, ingrown hair, acne and itch under beards, goatees, and mustaches.

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"Whether your beard is close-cropped or full and bushy, skin problems can develop beneath it," says board-certified dermatologist James Ralston, MD, FAAD. "While it's common to limit facial hair hygiene to a rinse in the shower, a few extra steps can go a long way in preventing any issues and keeping your facial hair and the skin beneath it well hydrated."

To keep your facial hair healthy, Dr. Ralston recommends the following tips:

Wash your face and facial hair daily. Use circular motions to gently massage a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic cleanser into your skin and beard. Then, rinse it out really well, and gently pat your face dry with a clean towel.

Consider using an exfoliating product once or twice a week if you have stubble and are prone to ingrown hairs. Choose an exfoliator that contains salicylic acid and look for the terms "gentle" or "sensitive skin" on the label.

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Moisturize your skin and facial hair immediately after cleaning or exfoliating, when your skin is still damp. Massage the moisturizer through your facial hair to your skin. If you have stubble, protect your skin from the sun by choosing a moisturizer containing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Use a beard comb while your facial hair is still wet to detangle and style your facial hair. You can also use a beard comb to comb out the hairs when trimming your beard with scissors.

Use the proper shaving technique. To prevent irritation, apply a fragrance-free shaving oil, cream or gel before trimming or shaving your facial hair. Shave at the end of or right after you shower when your hair is the softest. Shave in the direction your hair grows and rinse your razor after every swipe. Apply your moisturizer, beard conditioner, or beard oil immediately after you shave.

Keep your hands off your facial hair. It can be tempting to touch or stroke your facial hair, however doing so transfers germs and dirt from your hands to your face and can cause skin problems.

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"It can be tricky to tell what's happening under facial hair," says Dr. Ralston. "If you notice a skin problem under your beard, goatee or mustache or have questions about how to care for it, talk to a board-certified dermatologist."

These tips are demonstrated in "How to Care for Facial Hair," a video posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel. This video is part of the AAD's "Video of the Month" series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails.

To find a board-certified dermatologist in your area, visit

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About the AAD
Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 20,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), Instagram (@AADskin1), or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).

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