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Beard Tan Line: Why It Happens and How to Prevent
Trying to go clean-shaven after spending all summer in the sun? Find out what causes the dreaded beard tan line and how to prevent it from happening.
During the summertime, it’s not unusual for guys to ditch their thick beards in favor of a clean-shaven look. Though most guys have no trouble with going beardless for the summer, some are left with an embarrassing tan line where their facial hair once was.
Beard tan lines are not uncommon, especially if you happen to exercise or work outside. Fortunately, this problem is an easy one to fix and can usually be avoided in the first place.
Before we dive in, here are three things you need to know about beard tan lines:
- Beard tan lines occur most frequently in fair-skinned individuals who shave their beards after excessive UV exposure.
- Avoiding the sun and wearing sunscreen are key to reducing beard tan lines, as well as lowering the risk of skin cancer.
- Waiting a couple of weeks for your tan to fade before shaving can also reduce your beard tan line.
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What Causes a Beard Tan Line?
As with any type of tan line, beard tan lines are ultimately caused by the sun’s UV rays. They commonly occur in guys with fair skin and thick, bushy beards.
Beards are decent at blocking UV rays. According to a 2012 study published in Radiation Protection Dosimetry, a beard can provide up to 21 UPF protection rating (see claim: “The ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) provided by the facial hair ranged from 2 to 21.”)
While this offers yet another great reason to grow a full beard, it does have an unfortunate side effect. If you don’t take steps to protect the rest of your face from the sun, it can potentially result in unattractive tan lines on your face after you shave.
Four Ways to Prevent Beard Tan Lines
Just because you have fair skin and a beard doesn’t mean that beard tan lines are inevitable. With the following tips, you can go clean-shaven during the end of summer without worrying about your face being two different shades.
1. Avoid Tanning
For guys who love bathing in the sun, this tip may be difficult to follow. However, avoiding excessive sun exposure is important—not just for preventing beard tan lines, but also for reducing your risk of skin cancer.
Make no mistake—even a slight tan alters the DNA in your skin cells. According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, researchers found an association between chronic sun exposure and an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma (see claim: “Lifetime sun exposure was predominantly associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma.”)
If possible, stay out of the sun during peak hours. Besides lowering your risk of skin cancer, you can avoid tanning your face and creating an awkward beard tan line.
2. Wear a Daily Moisturizer with SPF
If you work out in the sun regularly or spend a lot of time outdoors for work, avoiding the sun may not be an option. This is where wearing a daily moisturizer with SPF can be immensely beneficial.
Along with protecting your face from UV rays, applying a daily moisturizer with SPF will reduce tanning on your face. This way, if you decide to shave your beard off at the end of summer, you won’t have an obvious tan line where your facial hair once was.
If you’re sporting designer stubble, you can simply apply sunscreen as you normally would. For thicker beards, you don’t need to worry about the sun nearly as much.
Keep in mind, however, that you still need to apply sunscreen to any sun-exposed areas of your face.Take the skin care quiz
3. Hide Beard Tan Lines with a Fake Tan
So, you shaved your beard and now have an embarrassing line where your facial hair once was. Now what?
You may also want to consider hiding your beard tan line with a spray tan. Though a spray tan won’t make your beard tan line disappear entirely, it will make it much less noticeable.
4. Hold Off on Shaving
If you’re worried about getting a gnarly beard tan line, simply wait a few weeks before shaving it off. Suntans typically last a couple of weeks at the most, so you won’t be waiting too long.
Plus, your beard probably took months for you to grow. In the grand scheme of things, waiting two more weeks to get rid of your beard is nothing.
A Daily Routine Is Key to Avoiding Beard Tan Lines
The best way to prevent a beard tan line is to avoid excessive sun exposure and take better care of the skin on your face.
With Tiege Hanley’s daily skin care system for men, you can avoid getting embarrassing beard tan lines and achieve healthy, glowing skin after just a couple of weeks. Your skin will be so amazing afterwards that you won’t even miss having a beard.