I grew up with my dad sporting a beard ever since I could remember. It is a part of him that I loved as a kid because it tickles when he gave me kisses. That is why I kind of hated it when he started clean shaving his face. Lucky for me, my dad’s beard did not cause any allergies or itchiness. But I could not say the same, especially for babies.
There are limited researches that are trying to prove beards harboring more germs than a dog’s fur. So, the fact that dads can infect their babies with illnesses remains debatable. But what is apparent though is the fact that stubbles can cause allergies and irritations to infants. Owe it to their sensitive skin that even the wrong food or product can cause flare-ups. More common are rashes and itching when stubbles come in contact with their skin. Is it time for dads to reach out to their razors, or is there a way to still sport it without harming their little ones? Read on to find out.
Beard irritation in babies
Some babies are fascinated with their dad’s beards, while science says that some children are not. Parents also have differing opinions about that. For men loving their stubbles, they may want to hang onto it. Those who don’t may take the effort to shave their face daily in favor of their babies. Moms are likely on their edge detesting daddy’s stubbles on their baby’s face.
But whichever side of the coin you may bet, here is what will likely happen if you kiss your baby with stubbles.
All babies have extra sensitive and delicate skin that overreacts to stress. When exposed to such stress, it would exhibit redness and rashes. Sometimes, even the diaper or cloth rubbing on their skin is enough to cause abrasions.
Daddies with short and spiky stubbles may also wreak havoc on their baby’s skin. Beard burn, or let’s call it a dad rash, is due to the friction of the scruff on the baby’s skin. The hives or rashes can last for about a few minutes up to a couple of days. Although harmless and do not necessarily cause any complication, the itchiness may be unpleasant for your little one.
Beard burn from kissing babies with stubbles is not a cause for alarm. There are more harmful things that can happen like kissing a baby with a cold sore.
How to prevent beard burn on babies
If your baby develops splotchy skin after kissing you with stubbles still on, it may set off the wife. So, some dads may have no other option but to razor it up every day. Men’s facial hairs grow at a rate where the stubbles are already piercing just a day after.
But going clean-shaven is not always practical for some dads too. A few men may develop skin irritation if they shave close enough. It is due to ingrown hairs, so some men opt to grow their beards longer instead.
Caught up in the middle? Here are some neat things you can do to protect your baby’s delicate skin:
Keep your dad beard at medium length
A five-o’clock shadow stubble will surely cause irritation spots in your baby. Since its edge will be mostly sharp, the result is often unpleasant. Grow your stubbles for a week or two. And instead of shaving it off, you can trim it down to keep it well-kept.
Growing your beard is often a low-maintenance fashion you can sport. All you have to do is to keep it clean and tidy. It is ideal for busy dads who juggle between their works, family, and baby care.
There are a lot of beard styles you can sport that are neither too short nor too long. You can try them on to see if it matches your face. What is quite anecdotal though is when dads who normally have long beards shave it off. It often surprises and confuses babies at some point.
Some babies are even terrified of their daddy’s new look. There are even viral videos on the internet featuring baby’s reactions to their daddies shaving.
Clean and condition your beard
Daddies, please beware. If you are using some beard care products, there is a high chance that your baby will have an allergic reaction to it. Often, the hives that it causes are more serious than the stubble rash itself.
At some point, your baby may also start grabbing on your beard and this poses more safety concerns. You can go for more natural beard products like coconut oil. Watch out if your baby suddenly shows an allergic reaction. If it happens, stop using the product and try something else.
Moisturizing your beard regularly will prevent friction from roughing up your baby’s skin. Your beard can become a haven of dirt and debris since one of its purposes is not just for sporting a tough-guy fashion. It is also a protection against weather and other elements. So before smooching your infant, make sure that you have a clean face and beard.
Go and shave it off
If you have plenty of time for your daily facial care routine, a clean-shaven face is a way to go. Beard rash is re-triggered every time the stubble grows back. But it is often subjective, and not all dads are happy with the idea. If you want to dad-proof your baby from beard burns though, it is the best thing you can do.
According to scientific research, not all toddlers are happy about their daddy’s tickly kiss. To little children, men with beards are stronger and older. But they are not the “best” face from a child’s viewpoint.
Well, whatever. To every child, their father is always the perfect dad. And newborn infants are too young to tell the difference. They are just the receiver of beard burns from dad’s giggly kisses.
Kiss your baby mindfully
You can stop irritating your baby with your stubbles using different ways. For example, you can cover your chin if you kiss him. You can also try to kiss him on other spots like the head or toes instead of the cheeks.
Give your little one a quick peck instead of a ticklish smooch. We know you cannot always help it. But if your kid is highly-sensitive, we recommend that you must.
Dad rash damage control
Beard burns do not normally last as long in babies. The skin irritation from the stubbles is different from a skin allergy. Skin irritation is mostly just red and splotchy spots that fade over the hour. Skin allergies, on the other hand, may have bumpy and raised spots.
There are also other possible reasons if your baby has red cheeks. But if you think that the splotches are a dad rash, here are some tips for it to fade quickly.
- Apply a hypoallergenic moisturizer.
- Lather some breastmilk on the rash.
- Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer for both the baby’s skin and daddy’s beard.
Are beards really dirtier than the toilet?
We heard that poo-particle theory is grossly thriving in our phones’ surfaces too. There is no scientific basis to back up the claim. Accordingly, humans, with and without beards, are a potential carrier of who-knows-what germs and debris in our faces.
When should I worry about beard burn in my baby?
The friction from the stubbles, or the sharp ends of the hair, causes inflammation on your baby’s skin. These are mostly just red splotches. But if the rash exhibits some cuts and openings on your baby’s skin, it is a different story. Bacteria and irritants may enter the surface and can cause skin infections.
Can I use Vaseline on the rashes?
Petroleum jelly like Vaseline is a safe moisturizer for the baby’s skin. You can apply it on mild skin problems like a teething rash, diaper rash, and dry skin.
Daddy’s beard and stubbles may elicit various reactions when it comes to kissing their babies. Some people may repeal its filthy appeal. But although studies show that beards are home to germs, even clean faces are carriers of some pathogens. Whether dad is sporting a clean-shave, stubbles, or a full beard, it is best to maintain good facial hygiene.
Kissing babies with stubbles is the least concerning unless your baby exhibits an allergic reaction. What is more dangerous is the infant’s risk of illness due to kissing – with or without the stubbles. There is no need for moms to freak out and force dad to sport a babyface. We bet the no-kissing-baby-rule should be applied to all until your baby is old enough to ward off pathogens.
Is your baby’s dad a squad member of the No-Shave November and Beards for Babies? Maybe you have some funny beard-shaving story to tell about your baby? You can go ahead and give us a good laugh in the comment section below. We know it is kind of cruel for babies, but they will surely revel in the same story a decade after.
Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She had experiences in handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also used to train in labor rooms and pediatric wards – helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.