Does Beard Oil Cause Acne

There is a common misconception that beard oil causes acne and can clog pores. Some people think that using beard oil will cause them to break out in acne and get beardruff (flaky, dry skin). However, beard oil does not necessarily cause acne or clog pores; the ingredients that make the beard oil clog your pores. 

For instance, almond oil will moisturize, but it is an emollient (softens rough skin), so it helps by making your beard softer. Beard oil containing jojoba and argan oils help to reduce inflammation in the skin.

Therefore, jojoba and argan oils should provide you with better results than other oil varieties (with similar purposes). However, even though these two ingredients do not cause acne on their own, other comedogenic ingredients in beard oil can trigger acne breakouts.  If this happens to you, make sure to look at the other ingredients and consider switching to another brand. 

Generally, formulated beard oil does not clog pores because of its low comedogenic rating (grades 0-5, with 0 being non-comedogenic and 5 having an extremely high chance of clogging pores). 

It’s important to remember that if you use a product intended for your face and your beard (or anywhere else) that contains higher grades (3+) of comedogenic oils, it could lead to clogged pores/or breakouts.

Most people think that beard oil causes acne because if they use products intended for the face on their beard (and their skin breaks out), all facial products will do the same. That is not true, however–the facial product ingredients are different from those in a facial hair product, so using both could cause an overload of pore-clogging oils on your face. It’s best to avoid doing this altogether because you never know if or when your skin could become irritated by excess oils.

If you’re questioning whether or not your skin can handle beard oil, start by using a minimal amount of beard oil, maybe enough to cover your thumbnail. Use this for about two weeks before you decide if the product is right for you or not. You can even experiment with one side of your face using facial products intended for that area only and compare it to the other side, which uses beard products explicitly formulated for beards. 

Facial Oil vs. Beard Oil

Although most beard oils can moisturize and condition your hair follicles, some oils are of higher quality than others. For example, coconut oil will give you incredibly hydrated skin and hair. Still, if you use it on your facial skin or even just on your beard, the chances are that you will experience breakouts (mainly if it is rich in lauric acid).

Ideally, you should choose a beard oil with only natural ingredients and no chemical additives. This includes essential oils like peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, etc. Do not purchase any beard oil product if you cannot accurately read the list of ingredients or don’t know what something does (or if it’s even safe). There is plenty of flaxseed oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, etc., that will give you all the conditioning and moisturizing you desire without potentially clogging your pores or otherwise irritating your skin.

Beard Oil Breakout Tips

1) Keep it clean – Washing your beard often will ensure that your pores will not clog with any hair, skin cells, dirt, or anything else.

2) Rinse thoroughly – It’s essential that you rinse the shampoo entirely from your beard as some products (like those that contain essential oils) can clog your pores and cause acne.

3) Conditioner – Some people swear by conditioning their beards weekly; it’s like getting a mini-massage, which is sure to make you feel pampered.

4) Wash the beard brush – I know that sounds weird, but if you have a boar bristle or other kind of brush that gets your facial hair ready for the day, wash it from time to time because bacteria can accumulate and lead to skin issues.

5) Leave-in conditioner – You can choose to leave in a little bit of beard oil after you have applied it, as long as the ingredients are all-natural and don’t contain anything that could harm your skin.

6) Give it a rest – If you’re very acne-prone, avoid wearing your beard oil for 2-3 days in between shampoos. It is beneficial if you are trying to figure out whether or not beard oil is causing your acne breakouts.

Beard Oil Brands That Don’t Clog Pores

Avoid any brand that does not contain jojoba or argan oil if possible–both have low comedogenic ratings and are unlikely to cause ingrown hairs or trigger a breakout. In addition to the oils used in a beard grooming product, check for ingredients such as witch hazel, SD alcohol 40-B (or denatured alcohol), fragrance, and vitamin E.   

These ingredients are more likely to cause acne than the oils themselves because they are harder to break down or metabolize by your skin, so it would be wise to avoid them if you do not want clogged pores.

Although not all beard oil brands are created equal, this does not mean that using any facial product formulated for coarse beards will result in breakouts. If anything, you should look for beard products containing jojoba or argan oil because they are less likely to cause problems with sensitive skin types! You can also experiment by applying only beard grooming products with ingredients that have no comedogenic rating to your skin and see how your skin reacts after 2-3 months of use.

If you want to avoid clogged pores and acne from occurring on the skin where your beard is growing, be sure to look at all of the ingredients listed on any products you plan on using. If there are any comedogenic oils or nut-based oils, then it would probably be best to use something else that is less likely to cause problems with your skin.

The goal should be to find a product that contains oils that do not cause acne themselves, such as castor oil, argan oil, or jojoba oil. And then, experiment with these products applied regularly for 1-2 months before deciding if they will work well with your facial skin.

Other Tips For Preventing Beard Oil Breakouts

1) Use moisturizer underneath beard grooming products to help reduce clogged pores.

2) Apply beard grooming products to your beard before bed after showering or washing your face; this will give any ingredients that may irritate your skin the whole night to settle in and prevent breakouts!

3) If you are prone to getting ingrown hairs, try applying beard oil after showering. Your facial hair is still damp, so a post-shower beard oil treatment can help soften up any stubborn, prickly hairs, which could lead them pimples or acne breakouts.

4) Make sure your shampoo is not triggering your acne breakouts. Sometimes people incorrectly believe beard oil is the culprit of their acne breakouts when they actually need to change to an acne-friendly shampoo.

Originally Published: January 20, 2022

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Dr Kiran Dambalkar (MBBS, DVD & MD)
Analyzed by Dr Kiran Dambalkar

Dr Kiran Dambalkar (MBBS, DVD & MD) is a Dermatology and Venereology Consultant. He’s worked extensively in public health with the Govt of India where he held various important positions and retired as Senior Chief Medical Officer. In his 40 years of service, he’s earned appreciation awards for Leprosy Control work and implemented Public Health Programmes (AIDS Control, Leprosy Elimination and Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis Control) at both state and National level. He lives in Delhi with his small family. His interests include travel, star gazing, health and religion.

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