Beards and bathing suits go together like peanut butter and jelly. But just because you have a beard doesn’t mean you won’t get burnt. To avoid those dangerous ultraviolet rays, you have to make sure you’re wearing sunscreen.
Both you and your beard need to be protected. But you got a dilemma to face: do you oil the beard before or after you apply sunscreen?
The short answer is that both are acceptable, but the safest is to apply beard oil after the sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks UV rays from damaging your skin. Applying sunscreen first allows it to have a tighter hold on the skin and is therefore more protective and less likely to wash off and leave you exposed. The downside of this is that you won’t be able to get the moisturizing benefits that beard oil offers the skin, as it will be coated in a layer of sunscreen.
To understand why it can be dangerous to apply beard oil first, we’ll need to take a more in-depth look at how sunscreen works. It can suck to miss out on the moisturizing effects of your beard oil treatment, but you can fix this by being mindful of the sunscreen you purchase.
Using Sunscreen and Beard Oil Together
While the sun is great for your tan and the warmth feels nice, the truth of the matter is that the sun is trying to kill you. Whenever you go outside, the sun is there trying to burn you up. The rays of the sun are ultraviolet. So not only will your skin burn if you’re outside for too long, but they can cause you to develop skin cancer.
Yet despite this, we love hanging out at the beach.
That’s why we invented sunscreen. Sunscreen is a really fascinating substance when you look into it. Sometimes called sunblock, most people think that blocking out the sun is all that it does. But if this were the case, then you could just walk around with a veil over your face and call it protection.
But sunscreen actually works in two ways. Ingredients like zinc oxide are used to reflect UV rays away from the body. This is the blocking quality it is known for. But other ingredients in sunscreen don’t block UV rays, but rather they absorb them instead.
These ingredients are chosen because they change their chemical composition when exposed to UV rays. In doing so, they change the UV rays as well. So, while sunscreen does block the sun, it also welcomes it in and tames it. You can find out more about the properties of sunscreen by checking out this short but detailed article from Yale Scientific.
Beard oil, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with leaving your beard feeling soft. It also moisturizes the skin beneath the beard to reduce irritation. Beard oil needs to be applied to the beard for the soften effect; but without access to the skin, it can’t moisturize.
Applying beard oil before applying sunscreen would certainly keep its moisturizing role in check, but it could also create a slippery surface over your skin, making it hard for sunscreen to be properly applied.
Beard oil has no ingredients that help to protect us from the sun’s harmful rays. So, when you need to choose between applying beard oil first or applying sunscreen, consider what is more important to you. Do you want your beard to feel great right now or do you want as much protection from skin cancer as possible? My guess is that you’ll want the protection.
Apply the sunscreen first to create a tight seal on your skin. Next, apply your beard oil. This will still soften up your beard and leave it looking great, but it won’t have any effect on the root of the hair and the skin around it. Because of this, you may experience irritation. This is an unfortunate side-effect but considering all the sand that gets trapped in your beard when you go to the beach, itchiness is just part of the experience.
While losing the moisturizing component of your beard oil can be frustrating, you can make it easier on yourself by purchasing a sunscreen which boasts that it moisturizes your skin. Then you don’t need to worry about losing any of the positive effects of your beard oil.
It’s important to look after your skin, even when you have a beard. Sunscreen is an essential part of skin care. So, apply it first, then apply your beard oils.
Does My Beard Offer Me Any Protection?
Yes, it can actually offer you a lot. Depending on the shape and fullness of your beard, you could get a ton of natural protection from sunburn. A long beard could reduce the risk of sunburn by up to 95%!
That’s a lot of protection attached to your face.
But just because your beard offers protection doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wear sunscreen. Your beard might be useful for reducing burns to your face and lower neck, but the rest of you is still going to be exposed.
Not only that but most beards won’t get anywhere near this 95% protection number—many will be lucky to reach 50%. While some people go so far as to argue that a beard replaces the need for sunscreen, we believe in being safe as possible.
So, while your facial hair can offer some protection, you still need to meet it halfway by applying sunscreen.
Why Does Sunscreen Make My Beard Itchy?
While sunscreen can work with a beard, it isn’t made for beards. You shouldn’t be surprised if your beard is left feeling itchy or sore afterwards. The ingredients in sunscreen are meant to keep your skin from burning or developing cancer. They aren’t so concerned with how your beard feels.
One way to make this easier is to use a beard oil designed for anti-inflammation. After you wash off the sunscreen from your face, apply some beard oil that will soften the hairs and reduce the irritation you feel. Wild Willies’ Hemp Beard Elixir, for instance, uses hemp seed oil. This wonderful beard oil will calm down that irritation and relieve the itchiness.
How Do I Pick the Right Sunscreen?
What sunscreen is best for you is really your decision. How long you are out in the sun, how fair your skin is, how large your beard is, and how much you sweat are just a few of the considerations you need to balance when picking a sunscreen.
While most guides to sunscreen focus on keeping men safe, there isn’t usually anything about beards in their rankings. You can find out what brands are best suited for your needs from this amazing video on sunscreens that are safe to use with beards. While almost every kind is safe, Laurent’s focus is on those that won’t leave you with a white, lotion-soaked beard.
Will Beard Oil Wash My Sunscreen Away?
It is highly unlikely that beard oils will wash your sunscreen off. It isn’t impossible, as some ingredients might cause a reaction with the sunscreen, but for the most part your sunscreen will stay right where it is so long as it’s applied correctly.
You must make sure to apply the sunscreen and work it into the skin under your beard fully before you apply oil. If you can, give the sunscreen a couple of minutes to settle first. If you try to apply beard oil too soon afterwards, runny sunscreen is much more likely to occur.
As the sunscreen settles, it will be less prone to getting washed off by beard oil or the water. You’ll want to reapply throughout the day depending on how much time you spend in the sun or water. You may find it easier to skip the beard oil until after you’re done for the day and cleaning the sunscreen off.
So, there you have it—why you should always, always put on your sunscreen before your beard oil. If you want to protect yourself from skin cancer, sunscreen is a must. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for irritation. Get a moisturizing sunscreen and it can actually feel refreshing to apply it before your beach day.
Remember that the thicker your beard is, the less you’ll deal with issues like sunburn. Still, nobody is immune, not even Rip Van Winkle with his mile-long beard. Stay safe out there so that beard of yours doesn’t bring regrets. And tell your friends how important it is to use sunscreen, even when they have a beard. Many men don’t know and they’re putting their health at risk because of it.
Be part of the solution. Save lives. Save beards.
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