Beard Oil Side Effects: Read This Before Applying

There are always associated risks when introducing a new product to your grooming regimen. Beard oils are no exception.  Common side effects of applying beard oil that some people experience include allergic reactions, dry skin, slower beard growth, and more.  

While most beard oils on the market are tested heavily before release, given the light regulation of the beauty industry, it’s important to be aware of these possible risks.

When shopping for beard oils, consider only those from trusted brands and composed of natural oils.

Here are some of the side effects of using beard oil.

Beard Oils May Cause Allergic Reactions

The most common side effect when applying oils, creams, and balms to your skin and facial hair is an allergic reaction. While many beard oils contain essential oils and natural ingredients, this does not necessarily mean they are safe to use for your skin (source). Therefore, do a small patch test before applying; this will help to limit any discomfort. 

Beard oils are usually a blend of carrier oils and essential oils. There are hundreds of different carrier oils and essential oils that can be combined to make beard oil, but the most commonly used are those like: 

  • Jojoba oil 
  • Almond oil 
  • Argan oil 
  • Grapeseed oil 

Any of these oils could cause an allergic reaction when applied topically. An allergic reaction may present as redness, itchiness, swelling, cough, or shortness of breath. If these symptoms arise, stop using the oil immediately and try to avoid itching the area, as this may worsen the irritation. 

Some Beard Oils May Cause Dry Skin and Dandruff

Another side effect that you may experience after using new beard oil is dandruff. Many beard oils are rich in fatty acids, and an overabundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids from the oil can harden on the skin. This can lead to dry, flaky skin and cause beardruff. Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, has been demonstrated to reduce the build-up of fatty acids, preventing the effects (source). 

Some Beard Oils Can Inhibit Beard Growth

Despite many beard oils claiming to encourage facial hair growth and thicken the beard, some beard oils may actually contain ingredients that inhibit beard growth. For example, oils containing tea tree oil and lavender, which studies have shown may contribute to prepubertal gynecomastia. This is the growth of breast tissue in men and is caused by an imbalance of the sex hormones within the body. The study found that it might be possible that tea tree oil and lavender oil act as external causes of this imbalance (source). 

However, some oils may have positive effects on beard growth. These include peppermint oil, which has been proven effective (source). It may also help to prevent hair loss. 

Some Beard Oils Increase Sensitivity to Sunlight

Each essential oil has its scent and properties; some benefit the skin, and some do not. In addition, some essential oils may increase the risk of sun damage when outside for an extended period. This is important to know if you work outdoors, go out often, or are generally an ‘outdoors’ person. 

Additionally, some essential oils are photosensitive. The structure of them may be subject to sensitivity, meaning that the oil may change scent and may become unusable (source). 

Beard Growth Oils May Contain Potent Chemicals

Many beard oils are largely natural, but some may contain chemical compounds to help provide your skin and hair with additional benefits. One of these chemicals is minoxidil. It is the active ingredient in Rogaine, and it helps fill in a patchy beard, but it also has a few possible side effects. These include: 

  • Irritation
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Contact dermatitis  

It is also recommended that you do not use it if you’re likely to come into close contact with women, children, or pets, as negative reactions may occur (source). 

Beard Oils With Synthetic Fragrance Oils Contain Many Chemicals

Some beard oils rely on synthetic fragrances or ‘parfum’. These chemicals can contain up to 3,059 different materials (source). These might result in allergic reactions or sensitivities, especially for anyone with sensitive skin. 

Anyone with sensitive skin should use a more natural oil and check that all of the fragrances are fully named and disclosed within the beard oil ingredients list.                                                                                 

Expired Beard Oil May Cause Unknown Side Effects 

The structure of natural oils may change over time, so expired or contaminated beard oil may lead to unpredictable side effects as it is impossible to know how the oil will be affected, especially since we don’t know how the oil was handled during harvesting and shipping.

Beard products may have a shelf life written on them, but if not, check out what we found out about beard conditioners and their shelf lives

Speak With A Family Doctor or Dermatologist if Experiencing Side Effects

If you do find yourself experiencing any side effects from beard oil or any skincare or beard grooming product, always speak with a physician or dermatologist. They can answer any questions you may have and aid in reducing the symptoms you’re suffering from. 

If you notice any side effects from applying beard oil, stop using it immediately. 

Benefits of Beard Oil

Aside from these side effects, beard oils offer many benefits for both the skin and facial hair.  

Beard oils are used widely and effectively to moisturize dry skin underneath the beard, keep your pores clean, and help both the skin and the beard hair remain healthy. 

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more. When Adam isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his two little kids who keep him both on his toes and young at heart.

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