My beard is on the short side (less than one centimeter). I tend to keep it this length by trimming it every week with an electric razor. To be honest, I never really had a problem with this simple grooming routine...until now.
Several months ago I suffered from an annoying breakout of spots under my beard, all along my right jaw line. It started as a single spot and over several weeks a few more of these nasty buggers appeared, turning the skin underneath red and itchy.
Fearing that the breakout was due to poor hygiene I upped my cleanliness game. I tried everything including frequent washing (twice a day) and moisturizing but nothing seemed to reduce the inflammation!
Eventually, I had enough (and so did my wife). I booked an appointment with my GP to see what the hell was going on. After a few minutes of consultation, it was clear that I was suffering from a skin infection. The likely culprit according to the GP...ingrown hairs that were left untreated. I was prescribed an oral antibiotic and topical cream to use. Thankfully, after about a week the spots and
redness cleared up and my skin returned to normal.
You see, the problem with trimming (and short beard hair in general) is that it is possible for the newly cut hairs to curl inwards and grow back into the skin. If this happens, the body recognises the invading hair as foreign and launches immune response. The area soon becomes red and inflamed and can often result in an acne-like spot (Folliculitis Barbae).
To prevent this inconvenient fate, I’d highly suggest incorporating exfoliation into your beard care routine, especially after trimming. I’ve recently started using sisal bags for the job and so far they're working wonders. Sisal is a soft, natural material made from cactus fibers that’s gentle on the skin,but course enough to clear away dead skin that can trap hairs.
Bottom line gent’s...if you’re sporting a short beard start exfoliating!