Beard Acne: Causes & Treatment (get rid of pimples)


Beard Acne Pimples

If shaving causes your skin to break out with beard pimples or ingrown hairs, then you may need to simply stop shaving. However, that may still not cure your beard acne, so you may need to improve your beard care.

Beard acne is related to hygiene and forms when skin oil (sebum) and dead skin cells don’t clear away completely, then combine with beard bacteria, forming breakouts. Sensitive skin may also be prone to acne from dirt, debris, improper shaving or allergies to certain shampoos or face washes.

Our guide can help pinpoint the cause and work to get rid of beard acne for good. Keep reading.

Causes of Beard Acne

If you woke up today a zit under your beard area, then it’s likely you haven’t been washing your beard with the right cleanser or shampoo.

Get Rid of Beard Pimples
Say Bye to Beard Acne

There are a few reasons this happens:

Dirt and Bacteria

Think about all the dirt, food, and debris that can collect in your beard throughout the day. When you’re clean-shaven, you probably wipe it right off, but with beard hair in the way, this stuff can hang around.

Not Washing Your Beard Daily

For those with acne-prone, oily skin, you need a good beard wash that can cleanse underneath and get rid of all the debris collecting around your hair follicles.

Toxic Cleansers & Shampoos

If you wash your face with harsh sulfate and alcohol shampoos or washes, then you may be irritating your skin.

Skin Condition

Some people suffer from folliculitis and ingrown hairs because their follicles are prone to inflammation. You’ll need a doctor’s help to sort out these persistent issues.

Sometimes, you may be experiencing ingrown hairs instead of acne. A pore typically swells up, whereas a hair follicle may grow inward, causing a foreign-body response. This also develops into a painful red bump resembling a pimple.

Ingrown hairs can result from improper shaving or trying to maintain a short beard length.

How to Treat Beard Acne

Dermatologists recommend you wish your beard in the morning and at night with a moisturizing facial cleanser. In addition, wash your bed sheets and pillowcases every week, and vary your shaving techniques.

Here’s a step-by-step treatment plan if you’re experiencing beard pimples:

  1. Use a mild face wash or beard wash to clean your beard when you wake up and before you go to bed.
  2. If you spot ingrown hairs, use a good beard exfoliant to clean your follicles.
  3. Apply moisturizing beard oil or beard balm to treat dry skin that clogs pores.
  4. Always dry your beard after you shower, and before you start your skincare routine.


It’s best to speak with a dermatologist before starting any new medications to treat your acne.

Beard Pimples Treatment
Prescription medications can help fight stubborn beard acne.

There are a few over-the-counter cleaners and spot treatments that can prevent beard acne:

  • For Whiteheads and Blackheads: Clean & Clear Acne Triple Clear Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid.
  • For Severe Cystic Acne: Differin Adapalene Gel .1% Retinoid Acne Treatment.
  • For Excessive Oily Skin: Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser with Benzoyl Peroxide (2.5%).
  • For Oil-Prone Skin: Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash.
  • For All Skin Types: SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF.
  • For Dry Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost with Hyaluronic Acid.
  • For Dry, Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer.
  • For Spot Treatments: Clean and Clear Persa-Gel.

We recommend trying these products a small amount at a time to see if they work and whether they produce side effects or skin irritations. If you know that your skin is sensitive, seek medical advice as your first step.


Antibiotics can treat persistent acne, but it’s the anti-inflammatory effects that really achieve the most skin-clearing success.

Dermatologists may prescribe a series of antibiotics if your acne doesn’t go away. This could indicate a skin condition requiring acne antibiotic treatments like tetracycline.

How to Shave with Beard Acne

If you experience acne after shaving, such as whiteheads or even small red razor bumps, you may need to change up your shaving routine.

Shaving with Beard Acne
Improving your shave routine helps prevent future breakouts.

Check out our new guide: Prevent Pimples After Shaving – 5 Quick & Easy Tips

  • Clean Your Razors: Dirty and old razor blades are the biggest culprits of acne after shaving.
  • Irritating Shaving Products: Your shaving cream or beard wash may be irritating your skin. Use products free of sulfates, dyes, and fragrances.
  • Rinsing with Hot Water: If you splash hot water on your face after shaving, you’re actually opening your pores up for dirt and debris. Instead, rinse with lukewarm water. 
  • Not Washing Before Shaving: Your pre-shave beard care routine should include a moisturizing wash and possibly applying a pre-shave oil to further prepare your skin for close shaving.
  • Shaving Against the Grain: Invest in new blades if shaving with the grain doesn’t quickly remove facial hair.
  • Dull Blades: As mentioned, use new blades or try another brand if you’re constantly seeing red bumps or getting razor burn.

Persistent Acne

If your beard breakouts persist, then it’s best to seek professional treatment from your dermatologist. You may have underlying issues that require a more aggressive regimen, like Accutane.

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I'm the founder of Bald & Beards, an amateur barber and I've been obsessed with men's grooming, styles, and trends for over 20 years.