I like facial hair as much as anyone — but what I really don’t like is the way my face feels after making out with it…
The start of autumn means we’re in what I like to call full-blown “Lumberjack Season.” If you want to get out there and chop some wood, by all means, but what I’m talking about is more of an aesthetic shift toward flannel shirts, knit caps, apple-picking Instagrams, cider donuts, warming spices, cozy blankets, etc. Along with these Pinterest-perfect scenarios, Lumberjack Season also means the first whispers of the annual “I think I’ll grow out my beard this winter” declaration.
Listen, I like facial hair as much as anyone — particularly when it comes in the form of those insanely long, detailed, twisted mustaches that you know take hours to perfect every day. But what I really don’t like is the way my face feels after making out with someone sporting a beard, mustache, goatee, soul patch, mutton chops, chin strap, or any combination of the sort. What makes it all even harder to deal with is the fact that when temperatures drop and beards make a comeback, our skin is at its most sensitive due to changing weather, drier air and general lack of moisture. Enter: Beard Burn.
You love making out with your partner but you do not love the side effect it can have on your face. Short of not ever kissing, what can you do? Sometimes, I’ve found my skin just gets used to it after some regular exposure to the whiskers, especially if the facial hair is growing out and getting longer and softer. (Stubble is an absolute killer.) But if you’re not down to wait or know it’s not a matter of time before your skin acclimates, there are a few things you can do to make Lumberjack Season easier on your face.
Recognize that the facial hair may be causing you to over-exfoliate.
Facial hair tends to be rougher and coarser than other body hair. When it’s rubbing all over the already-delicate skin around your mouth and chin, it acts as a physical exfoliant. If you’re already using non-facial hair exfoliating products like scrubs, masks or chemical exfoliants as part of your skincare routine, you’re getting a double dose of skin cell removal without realizing it. You (hopefully) wouldn’t use a harsh scrub right after an acid peel, so don’t do it here either. Otherwise, you’re looking at a lot of irritation, tiny abrasions and red patches.
Treat your skin…then treat the source.
Keeping your own skin as healthy as possible is your best bet in the fight against beard burn. Not only is it something you can control, but the healthier your skin, the less it’ll react to potential damage caused by offending facial hair.
As stated above, consider laying off the exfoliating products for a while, or at least on the lower half of your face. Then make sure you’re loading on the moisture. Ingredients like ceramides, fatty acids and hyaluronic acid will work wonders to prevent beard burn. If you’re already afflicted and really struggling, consider an anti-inflammatory like hydrocortisone and, sorry to say, lay off the kissing for a few days (ditto scrubs and peels) and your skin should heal itself.
As for treating the source, you’ll need to get your partner on board. Regularly conditioning that facial hair with oil will make the hair softer and therefore less abrasive. (Bonus: The right oil can also clear pores and reduce the appearance of ingrown hairs!) Look for oils that contain rosehip or argan for maximum softening potential.
Listen to your skin!
Get to know your skin and what its limits are. If you can get ten minutes into a makeout session without any irritation, go for it. But as soon as you start to feel your skin may be rebelling (or, better yet, before you get to that point), switch it up! Try different angles and pressure. Consider holding your partner’s face in your hands while you kiss so you have control over where their hair rubs your skin.
Kissing is the best; don’t let scratchy facial hair get in the way of living your best Lumberjack Season.