Can You Apply Sunscreen on Your Beard?
Curious about how to use sunscreen with a beard? Learn why applying sunscreen is crucial, no matter how big and bushy your beard may be.
When summer arrives, every bearded guy must make the tough decision to either shave or keep his beard.
If you’ve decided to ride out the beard sweat and keep your hard-earned facial hair, we applaud your willpower.
But rocking facial hair for the summer brings up one important question: Can you apply sunscreen to a beard?
And if so, how?
Whether you’re rocking some five o’clock shadow or a full beard, applying sunscreen to the skin underneath your beard is crucial. Read on as we explain why you need SPF and how to use sunscreen on a beard.
Before we dive in, here are three things you should know about applying sunscreen with a beard:
- While beards offer some protection from the sun, it may not be enough to prevent skin damage.
- The easiest way to apply sunscreen to the face and beard is by using a facial moisturizer with SPF.
- You should apply sunscreen on a daily basis, regardless of whether it’s cloudy or sunny.
Do You Need to Use Sunscreen with a Beard?
The short answer: most likely, yes.
You may have heard (or guessed) that facial hair protects the skin from UV rays.
While this is true to some degree, your beard may not protect you from the sun nearly as much as you think it does.
Facial hair has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) range of 2 to 21, according to a 2012 study published in Radiation Protection Dosimetry (see claim: “The ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) provided by the facial hair ranged from 2 to 21.”)
UPF, which is similar to Sun Protection Factor (SPF), is the standard that The American Society for Testing and Materials has developed to label clothing as sun protective.
Big and bushy beards could potentially have a UPF of around 20, which is generally considered good for UPF.
To put it in perspective, the Skin Cancer Foundation requires garments to have a UPF 30 or higher to earn their Seal of Approval for safe and effective sun protection.
But remember, that’s only if your beard is super thick and dense.
If your beard is patchy or thin, the skin underneath your beard isn’t going to get enough sun protection, which can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Err on the side of caution and apply sunscreen to the skin underneath your beard.
How to Use Sunscreen with a Beard
So, how do you use sunscreen with a beard?
Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated.
Here’s how to apply sunscreen with a beard, plus a few tips to help you pick a winning SPF.GOT WRINKLES?
Consider a Chemical Sunscreen
You have two basic choices of sunscreen: chemical or physical.
Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays while physical sunscreen sits on top of the skin and blocks UV rays.
Although both are equally effective at reducing UV-induced skin damage, you may want to stick with a chemical sunscreen if you have a beard.
The reason for this is because physical sunscreens are more likely to leave a white cast behind on your skin.
If you have a dark beard, this white cast is going to be particularly noticeable.
Use a Facial Moisturizer with SPF
You need to use sunscreen daily.
You also need to moisturize your face daily.
Why not knock out both at the same time?
By incorporating a daily moisturizer with SPF into your skin care routine, you can keep your skin hydrated while reducing your risk of skin cancer.
And since it’s formulated specifically for your face, it will likely result in less acne breakouts.TAKE THE SKIN CARE QUIZ
Apply a Generous Amount
Don’t skimp on the sunscreen.
Research has shown that most people don’t apply nearly enough sunscreen before they go outside.
For maximum sun protection, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying one ounce of sunscreen to your entire body—or about one shot glass full.
If you aren’t sure if you applied enough the first time, apply it again as a precaution.
Wait 15-20 Minutes Before Going Outside
If you’re using a chemical sunscreen, be sure to wait approximately 15 minutes before you go outside.
Chemical sunscreens need time to sink into your skin in order to absorb UV rays and provide optimal protection.
If you’re applying a physical sunscreen, you don’t have to worry.
Since it sits on top of your skin, you can go outside immediately after applying it.
Beards Out for the Summer
No matter how big and lustrous your beard is, there is no guarantee that it will provide enough protection from the sun’s UV rays.
For that reason, a daily sunscreen should be your first line of defense.
And remember that sunscreen should be applied approximately every two hours for optimal protection.
Parisi, A V et al. “Dosimetric investigation of the solar erythemal UV radiation protection provided by beards and moustaches.” Radiation protection dosimetry vol. 150,3 (2012): 278-82.
Skin Cancer Foundation