Common causes of an itchy beard:
1) You have a dry or damaged skin.
Dry skin can cause itching because moisture cannot reach the area where hair follicles are located. If your skin is not moisturized, then it will become inflamed and irritated. Itching may occur if there is some irritation from shaving, rubbing alcohol, soap or other irritants.
2) Your beard is too short.
Hair grows at different lengths depending upon the person’s age and growth rate. Short hairs grow quickly while longer ones take time to grow out. When you shave off a few inches of hair, it means that the follicle is no longer producing enough oil to keep the hair healthy and strong.
A thinning beard may result in itching because the follicles are now less able to produce sufficient amount of oil.
3) You have acne.
Acne is a common skin condition that causes pimples and redness. Itchiness may occur if there is any inflammation from acne lesions.
4) You use harsh chemicals on your face such as shampoos, soaps, and lotions.
These products strip away the natural oils in your skin which results in dry skin, which leads to itching.
5) You suffer from psoriasis or eczema on your body.
These contribute to dry skin and may cause itching.
6) There is a buildup of yeast or bacteria on your face.
Antibiotics are powerful drugs that kill both harmful and helpful bacteria. If you have not eaten a healthy, balanced diet then harmful bacteria will multiply quickly. Your body needs friendly bacteria such as lactobacilli in the digestive tract to help with the digestion of food.
If your diet is lacking in probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut then harmful bacteria will multiply unchecked throughout your body.
7) A lack of magnesium in your diet causes itchy skin.
Magnesium regulates the nervous system by promoting relaxation and diminishing anxiety. It is also involved in the promotion of bone growth and the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
8) Too many acidic foods in your diet can cause itchy skin.
These are foods such as meat, fish, eggs, grains and beans. An acidic environment promotes the growth of yeast and harmful bacteria. If you suffer from heartburn then you might suffer from an overly acidic stomach.
Food allergies or food sensitivities may be the cause of your skin irritation.
9) A lack of essential fatty acids in your diet can cause dry skin.
Your body doesn’t produce these oils, so you need to get them from your diet. If there is not enough linoleic acid in your body then your skin will start to dry out. This essential fat can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds and certain types of oils.
10) You may have a hormonal imbalance such as too much or too little testosterone. The latter case leads to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the intestines and digestive system.
Foods rich in nutrients for a healthier beard:
1) Garlic is a healthy vegetable that is useful for treating itchy skin.
It contains a powerful antioxidant known as diallyl sulphide. This chemical serves as an anti-fungal and antibacterial agent that eliminates yeast and harmful bacteria from your body. Garlic also contains allicin, which is beneficial for the healing of wounds.
2) Onions are also high in sulphur.
This makes them useful for treating the inflammation and itchiness of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Onions are rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. They also contain quercetin, which is an anti-histamine that relieves allergy symptoms and inflammation.
3) Tomatoes are a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C.
This helps to eliminate the free radicals in your body that cause skin conditions such as eczema. Tomatoes also contain antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamins A and E. These work together to fight inflammation and damage in the skin.
4) Bananas are rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals in your body.
They also contain biotin which is a B-complex vitamin that promotes healthy skin.
5) Kiwi fruit is rich in antioxidants.
It also contains vitamin C and biotin, which help your body to form collagen. Collagen is a protein that keeps your skin firm and elastic.
6) Broccoli promotes healthy skin due to the content of sulforaphane in this vegetable.
This chemical fights harmful bacteria in your body and helps to eliminate them. Sulphoraphane also promotes the healing of wounds by stimulating the production of collagen. It also has anti-inflammatory effects on your skin.
7) Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamin C.
These antioxidants fight free radicals in your body, which can cause the inflammation associated with itchy skin. Vitamin C also promotes collagen production which keeps your skin firm and elastic.
8) Walnuts are rich in the amino acid arginine.
Your body converts arginine into nitric oxide. This chemical is essential for healthy blood flow. When there is healthy blood flow in your skin, it can reduce the amount of inflammation and dryness.
9) Spinach is rich in zinc, which is essential for a healthy immune system.
Your body uses zinc to create superoxide dismutase (SOD). This is an enzyme that eliminates free radicals from your body. Free radicals can cause dryness and itchiness in your skin when there are too many of them.
By eliminating free radicals, SOD enzymes can help to soothe your dry and itchy skin.
10) Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid arginine. Your body converts this into nitric oxide. This chemical dilates your blood vessels, which can improve blood flow.
Improved blood flow can reduce dryness and itchiness in the skin.
What NOT to do for itchy skin:
1) Avoid consuming sugar and refined carbohydrates.
These foods spike your blood sugar levels, which can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. High blood sugar levels can also increase the production of histamines in the body, which can worsen the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
2) Avoid drinking alcohol.
Alcohol is toxic to the liver. The liver is your body’s primary organ for detoxification. By damaging this organ, alcohol can make your skin condition worse due to the build-up of toxins in your body.
3) Avoid eating a low-fiber diet.
Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. It helps to eliminate waste from the body efficiently. The low-fiber content of modern foods such as white bread, pasta and processed foods can contribute to sluggish bowels.
Sluggish bowels can aggravate conditions such as eczema due to the toxins that are being reabsorbed into the bloodstream as a result.
4) Avoid consuming dairy products.
The proteins in dairy products can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema. Many people find that their condition improves when they eliminate dairy from their diet.
5) Avoid using soaps and shower gels that are strongly perfumed.
Many perfumes often contain ingredients such as alcohol, citrus oils and vitamin A compounds. These substances can be very drying to the skin. Dry skin is more prone to itching and irritation.
6) Avoid using fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
These products can coat the skin and trap moisture within the fibers of clothing. This can lead to skin irritation if you have sensitive skin.
7) Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals that are intended to clean your clothes or washroom.
These chemicals may be harmful to your skin and should only be handled by someone with training in safe handling procedures.
8) Avoid using medicated soaps on your skin unless you have been advised to do this by a medical professional.
9) Avoid scratching broken skin or broken blisters.
Doing so can introduce bacteria into the damaged skin, which can result in an infection.
10) Avoid picking at or squeezing swollen lumps or blisters on your skin. This can introduce more bacteria into the affected area, which may result in a more serious infection. If you have a swollen lump or blister on your skin, see a medical professional to have it examined.
Some General Tips:
1) A good first aid solution for minor burns.
After handling or coming into contact with an irritant such as the hotplate in your kitchen, you can quickly soothe the burn by immersing your hand or forearm in a bowl of cold tap water for several minutes.
Avoid pouring very cold water on to the burn as this may result in the skin tightening and causes the heat to be held in the skin, which can aggravate the burn injury.
2) How to ease discomfort from sunburn.
Cover the sunburned area with a thin layer of plain yogurt. The lactic acid in the yogurt helps to alleviate the pain and burning sensation. Leave the yogurt covering on for at least one hour.
You can do this several times a day until the symptoms of sunburn subside.
3) How to ease chigger bites.
If you have chiggers in your clothing or on your body, you may develop small red itchy bumps where the chiggers have punctured the skin and drawn blood. To remove the chiggers, pour a little dry detergent into the affected area and rub it in with your fingers. You may need to repeat this several times to remove all the chiggers.
A shower will wash away the remains of the dead chiggers.
4) To prevent excessive sunburn and skin damage, always apply a high factor sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 30 minutes before going outdoors.
Re-apply the sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating a lot.
5) To prevent chafing in sensitive areas, use a little petroleum jelly (petrolatum) on the skin before you start your trip.
6) Always carry a small amount of over the counter medicine such as paracetamol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen or naproxen in your first aid kit.
These drugs can help to relieve pain from headaches, fevers, muscle aches, colds and sore throats.
7) If you have allergies, wear comfortable clothes that do not irritate the skin and pack your medication in your first aid kit.
8) If you have a weak stomach, especially if you suffer from travel sickness, eat dry foods such as crackers and cereal for breakfast, bring them with you on the trip and snack on them during the day.
If you can buy medicines that prevent travel sickness, do so and take them as directed.
9) If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair and your prescription in your first aid kit.
10) If you wear contact lenses, bring an extra pair and your prescription.
11) See a doctor before your trip if you are taking any regular medication. You may need to increase the dosage to ensure that you have sufficient supplies for your trip.
12) If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, bring your medication and related equipment such as needles, syringes and blood sugar testing kit with you.
13) See a dentist before your trip, if necessary for the fitting of a filling or temporary crown. It is often difficult to find a good dentist at short notice.
14) If you are going on an overseas trip and will be traveling through areas with questionable water supplies, consider having a medical taping of Rocephin (an antibiotic) to guard against any waterborne diseases.
15) Always have a few extra pillows in your hotel room. Sometimes it makes a big difference to how you sleep.
16) Don’t just sit in the sun all day. Be smart, and re-apply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating a lot.
1) A good first aid kit is essential for any trip.
2) Check your kit before you go and remove any medicines that are past their use-by date.
3) If any of the party is allergic to anesthetics, penicillin or aspirin, ensure that the first aid kit is clearly labeled and contained in a safe place where it can be easily found.
Planning a trip to the great outdoors?
Find out how to stay safe with these handy tips.
1) Check with local authorities about what vaccinations are recommended for your destination.
2) A good first aid kit is essential.
Also, make sure you know how to use any medicines in your first aid kit, and carry them with you when you travel.
3) When you buy your travel insurance, find out what standard of medical facilities are available in your planned destination.
If you are going a long way from home, find out if the insurance covers any evacuations you might need to have.
4) Check with your doctor about which preventative measures (such as vaccinations or malaria tablets) you will need for your destination.
5) If you are going trekking, be sure you have sturdy, comfortable and correct fitting shoes.
6) Be aware of the dangers of dehydration, so make sure to take water with you on your trip and carry a water bottle with you when you walk around.
7) If you are going to be traveling in remote areas, make sure someone back home knows where you are going and how long you intend to stay.
8) Carry a first aid manual in your first aid kit and read it before you leave.
It may seem like common sense, but a surprising number of people do not know how to deal with minor injuries when away from major centers.
9) Always let someone know where you are going and how long you intend to stay.
Make sure someone else in your party has this information as well.
10) It is important to let someone know if you are feeling ill or unwell in any way. Fellow party members should be aware of changes in your condition, and you should contact the closest medical help if a member of your party is unwell or injured.
11) Be aware that medical facilities can be limited or non-existent in some areas you are traveling to. Always carry the phone numbers of your local doctor, an emergency medical service or an ambulance service and keep them with you at all times.
12) Not all first aid kits are the same. Make sure you have a good quality one with you at all times.
13) If traveling with children, make sure the first aid kit contains special medicines or treatments for them (such as children’s pain killers).
14) Whistle – to attract help if you get lost. Don’t shout as this uses up valuable energy; just blow the whistle and wait.
Sources & references used in this article:
Chronic scarring pseudofolliculitis of the Negro beard by H Pinkus – Archives of Dermatology and Syphilology, 1943 – jamanetwork.com
Bald patch in the beard by M Khodaee – American Family Physician, 2014 – aafp.org
A Practical Treatise on Nervous Exhaustion,(Neurasthenia;) Its Symptoms, Nature, Sequences, Treatment by GM Beard – American Journal of Psychiatry, 1880 – Am Psychiatric Assoc
Infection of the Beard area. Kerion: a review of 2 cases by D Wall, M Fraher, W Kanbal, B O’Connell, R Watson… – 2014 – lenus.ie
One thousand beards: A cultural history of facial hair by A Peterkin – 2001 – books.google.com
Interventions for the treatment of acute hereditary angioedema attacks by M Frese, N Beard, P Mere, C Katelaris… – Cochrane Database of …, 2019 – researchgate.net
Interventions for the long‐term prevention of hereditary angioedema attacks by N Beard, M Frese, P Mere, C Katelaris… – Cochrane Database of …, 2019 – researchgate.net
Insect toxins and venoms by RL Beard – Annual review of entomology, 1963 – annualreviews.org