Welcome to Problem + Fix, a series where we explain the most common skin, hair and grooming issues guys face every day, plus quick and long-term solutions to help regain control over the way you look.

ingrown beard hairs
Joining the #BeardGang has become a huge trend that’s taken hold for the past couple years—and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. While it may not seem like a big endeavor, growing a beard takes proper upkeep in order to get the right look and alleviate issues that may occur when dealing with hair growth—specifically, ingrown beard hairs. Male Standard agrees that while ingrown hairs can be extremely painful and sometimes serious, thoroughly cleansing your skin every day (especially the areas beneath the hair) is tremendously important in preventing the problem in the first place.

Why It Happens:  It’s essential to use your favorite cleanser at least twice a day to thoroughly strip the skin of dead cell build-up. Not doing so  will cause microorganisms to grow in the spaces where hair growth is occurs. If you’re not mindful of the direction in which you shave, your hair will tend to grow in all sorts of directions and cause irritation in areas that can become inflamed. This happens because the hair curls back into the skin instead of breaking through to the surface. Old as well as already-used razors promote impurities building up which can play a big part in ingrown beard hairs occurring as dead skin can sometimes if not always clog your hair follicles. Make sure you are breaking out a new single-blade razor each time you are ready to shave.

Quick Fix:  If you’re experiencing an ingrown beard hair, exfoliating the area with a great facial scrub will help to tease the hair to breakthrough the skin barrier. Try Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub ($75). This scrub not only hydrates your skin but also features actual micro-Ruby Crystals to help polish away dull skin and reveal a renewed glow. It is a truly life-changing product! Hot compresses with a clean hand towel are also a big help, as the heat will help the hair follicle rise. If you need and are able to, remove the hair using a sterilized tweezer (try one with precision from Tweezerman), followed by applying a potent and effective antiseptic serum such as Dermalogica’s Overnight Clearing Gel ($50) that’s got salicylic acid and tea tree oil to soothe irritation. This purifying treatment can be used as both as spot-treatment or overnight as the name suggests.

Long-Term Solution:  Investing in a simple, solid, and effective skincare routine is crucial to alleviating problems with ingrown beard hairs  that may occur down the line. Washing your face first thing  in the morning (as you’ve been rubbing your face all over your pillow) and at night before bed is a great first step in preventing dirt and buildup. Keeping a cleanser on-hand in the shower makes it easy for those who are forgetful. Shaving in the evening for the closest shave and with the freshest of razors will also be critical to the way your hair grows afterwards. Shaving in the evening allows for you to complete your shave slow and steady as opposed to rushing through it in the morning. Since our skin heals overnight, this will also allow for your skin to heal and regroup. Exfoliating two to three times per week as your beard begins to grow will help aid in prevention of ingrown beard hairs. The guys at GQ advise to moisturize daily as well as to use an aftershave immediately after shaving to take advantage of the still-open pore. Clinique for Men’s Broad Spectrum SPF 21 Moisturizer ($27) is a wonderful option for a daytime moisturizer that’ll help create a wonderful barrier on the skin. It’s also one of the few men’s moisturizers on the market that features the added bonus of SPF, which is super important for skin health and wrinkle prevention. Recipe for Men After Shave Balm ($26) is a great non-oily men’s after-shave lotion which soothes any irritation you may be prone to after a close shave with the added ingredient of ginger. This after-shave balm comes with a great pump dispenser to keep the product from oxidizing.