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6 Tips for Managing Psoriasis Under Your Beard

Medically reviewed by Kevin Berman, M.D., Ph.D.
Written by Anika Brahmbhatt
Posted on January 11, 2023

If you have facial psoriasis and facial hair, you may find it difficult to manage your beard. About 50 percent of people with psoriasis have lesions on their face, and it’s a common topic of discussion on MyPsoriasisTeam.

“I have facial psoriasis. It’s driving me crazy,” wrote one member. “I can’t stop picking or scratching those areas on my face.”

Dealing with facial psoriasis can be more difficult if you also have facial hair. Many MyPsoriasisTeam members are curious about how to best manage their skin condition while maintaining their beards.

“Hi everybody, I suffer with psoriasis on my face,” wrote one member. “Can anybody recommend a good beard balm I can use that won’t give me irritation, as I’ve decided now to grow facial hair to help cover my condition?”

Another member wrote, “I’m not doing [too] bad with [my psoriasis]; it mostly shows and looks like dandruff, but everywhere I have hair on my head is hiding it. Under my beard is the [worst].”

The following tips can help ensure you are not irritating your skin while maintaining your beard.

1. Wash Your Face and Beard Daily

The first step to managing psoriasis under your beard is to make sure the skin is clean and healthy. Facial hair traps the regular debris and germs on your face for a longer time, which can become irritating and lead to acne.

Use a gentle cleanser that fits your skin type. If you have oily skin, you want to look for a face wash that will keep your pores unclogged. These may include salicylic acid or glycolic acid cleansers that also have exfoliating effects. These cleansers are also good for gently washing away scales. If you have dry skin, you may want to look for a hydrating face wash.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), people with psoriasis should avoid deodorant or dyed soaps and scrubs because they may be too harsh for your skin. Instead, use a moisturizing cleanser meant for sensitive skin. In general, it’s best to use cleansers that are unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction, because such reactions might worsen your psoriasis symptoms.

2. Moisturize Your Face

The best time to moisturize is when your skin is warm and moist. The AAD recommends moisturizing right after washing your face and massaging the product into your beard so it reaches the skin underneath. Make sure your beard has been thoroughly washed before doing this. This way, you won’t inadvertently rub any dirt and germs around your face, which can cause irritation.

If you aren’t sure what type of moisturizer to start with, a safe bet is one that’s fragrance-free and noncomedogenic (formulated not to block pores). These are usually the best for skin that’s easily irritated or prone to acne. Fragrance-free and dye-free moisturizers are best if you have psoriasis.

If you’re applying beard oil or beard conditioner, apply it right after you’ve washed and moisturized your face.

3. Trim Your Beard and Shave Carefully

If you have a longer beard, try trimming it with an electric razor or with scissors. If you’re shaving closer to the skin, make sure to change razors regularly to avoid dragging dead skin cells, germs, and dirt over your skin multiple times. Dermatologists recommend that everyone — whether or not they have psoriasis — change their razor blades every five to seven shaves. Doing so can help reduce irritation.

Additionally, when shaving your neck, take care to avoid getting cuts on your skin. Cuts, scrapes, and scratches can all lead to psoriasis flare-ups. One member wrote of their experience: “I get psoriasis wherever I cut myself.”

In general, be careful to avoid nicks and scratches when trimming or shaving. Around 25 percent of people with psoriasis experience something called the Koebner phenomenon, which means minor cuts and scratches can trigger psoriasis flare-ups in the areas of trauma.

4. Try Not To Scratch Your Beard

Avoid scratching your face and beard so as not to irritate your skin or break the surface, which can trigger a flare-up. Whenever you touch your face, you transfer germs, which can be harmful if your skin is sensitive to foreign substances.

If you have itchy skin, you may benefit from one of the aforementioned management options or a mild hydrocortisone cream. It can be tough to know what’s going on with the skin you can’t see, so it’s safest to take good care not to irritate it.

5. Check Product Labels

If you often have adverse reactions to skin care products, make sure to carefully review the packaging.

Look for a facial cleanser with “fragrance-free” on the label. Products that have fragrances can cause adverse reactions. Also avoid products that contain alcohol, which can cause dryness and worsen psoriasis.

Consider looking for the National Psoriasis Foundation Seal of Recognition as well. Products with this designations are generally accepted to be safe for people with psoriasis to use.

6. Talk to Your Doctor About Topical Treatments

Topical treatments, such as ointments, lotions, or creams, are sometimes used to treat facial psoriasis. These include over-the-counter products containing active ingredients such as salicylic acid, hydrocortisone, or coal tar, as well as prescription treatments.

Talk to your doctor about how to find the best topical treatment for you and how to best apply topicals if you have facial hair.

You Are Not Alone: Finding Support for Psoriasis

By joining MyPsoriasisTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with psoriasis, you gain a support group of more than 113,000 members.

How do you manage psoriasis and facial hair? What helps you look and feel good? Share your tips and experiences in a comment below or on MyPsoriasisTeam.

Posted on January 11, 2023
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Kevin Berman, M.D., Ph.D. is a dermatologist at the Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Anika Brahmbhatt is an undergraduate student at Boston University, where she is pursuing a dual degree in media science and psychology. Learn more about her here.

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