The harmful effects of sun-exposure on the skin are widely known, but its effects on the beard are less easily considered. And with the summer months rapidly approaching, many of us will be hitting the trails, beaches, pools, and parks. While most will apply a sunscreen to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation, we tend to not think twice about just applying our beard oil to "protect" our beards.
The sun breaks down the protein structure of the hair [disulphide bonds], and also draws moisture from the hair cells. The combination of these roughens the hair's cuticle [outer layer] and gives the impression of drier, coarser and frizzier hair. For those of us who maintain a beard, a coarse and frizzy beard is the last thing we want. So it makes sense to apply our trusted beard oil before hitting the great outdoors. But stop and think about this for a moment.
If you are older, like me, you may remember slathering baby or coconut oil on your skin before laying out to get that deep, dark summer tan FAST. You may also remember burning the hell out of your skin. I know that I suffered several bad burns during my carefree days of youth. The reason that oils will burn your skin is the fact that they magnify and concentrate the UV rays of the sun. This is bad news for your beard oil, as they can have the same effect by concentrating the UV radiation onto your beard hair. This can cause some damage, including split ends, beardruff, dry frazzled hair shafts, and even color pigment damage.
Before you toss your beard oil (no one would), there are several ways that you can still reap the benefits of beard products, while minimizing potential damage.
Use a high quality beard balm during the day. If you are not using a beard balm, I would highly suggest picking some up before the summer hits in full force. Look for a balm where the first two ingredients are cocoa and shea butter, and look for the inclusion of a natural wax. The butters produce much less "shine" than an oil, and the wax will dull what little shine results from the additions of essential carrier oils such as almond, hemp, or argan. In addition, the wax will create a protective seal on the hair shaft, adding an additional layer of protection from sun exposure. Also, look for Hawaiian kukui nut oil in the ingredients listing. Kukui nut oil has a high level of antioxidants and other protective qualities against sun damage, and has been used by Islanders for centuries to protect themselves from the sun. If the balm also includes vitamin E, even better. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that helps neutralize free radical damage on both the hair shaft, as well as the skin underneath.
After a long day in the great outdoors, wash your beard with a gentle cleanser designed specifically for beard hair. This will removed dirt, sweat, bacteria, oil buildup, and get your beard primed to receive a high quality beard oil. Towel dry your beard (remember, oil and water don't mix), and apply. Be sure and gently comb it through, and be sure to get it on the skin beneath your beard. Nothing is worse than having flakes in your beard or on clothing. And the drying effects of sun exposure can certainly dry out the skin under your beard.
So remember these steps this summer: Balm during the day. Gentle wash after playing hard. Beard oil or serum in the evening. Implementing these steps will only take a few minutes, but will keep your face mane looking and feeling fantastic all summer long.
I hope this short article has been helpful to you. Be sure and check out our complete line of premium beard products. And all of the above products are available as a set which will save you a few bucks.