Nothing feels quite like a nice session in a sauna or steam room, but if you have facial hair that you’ve carefully cultivated then it’s only natural to worry. Do sauna and steam rooms help beard growth or are they bad for your beard?
While a steam room is the best choice for its added moisture, both a sauna and steam room can actually be very good for your beard as long as you’re careful. The relaxing heat lowers cortisol levels, which helps to stimulate testosterone production in men, and also increases circulation to the follicle roots as the heat opens your pores.
These are just some example benefits, however, so let’s take a look at the bigger picture when it comes to saunas, steam rooms, and our beloved beards. While a sauna or steam room can be harmful, if you’re careful and informed then you can still reap some amazing benefits!
Table of Contents
- How Sauna & Steams Rooms Enhance Beard Growth
- How Infrared Sauna Helps Hair Growth
- How Sauna & Steams Rooms Reduce Beard Growth
- How to Enjoy Sauna or Steam Room Without Drying Out Your Beard
How Sauna & Steams Rooms Enhance Beard Growth
While most of us wear a sauna hat or cap for our sessions, beard hair is just a bit tougher than the hair on top of your head.
In fact, in Finland where beards are quite a bit more common than in the United States, most sauna fans simply take a shower before and after they go in, leaving their beards sometimes even oil for a little extra protection.
Just a little attention along these lines works and you know what? Their beards are perfectly fine! Saunas and steam rooms enhance your beard’s growth in a few different ways. Chiefly, it lowers your stress (cortisol) levels so that your male body will produce more testosterone naturally.
The reduced body fat levels that come from regular sauna use also help move you towards the magical body-fat number of 15% — which doesn’t impress weight lifters, but for the average joe, it means that you are at the perfect level for optimizing testosterone production as well!
Finally, the overall health improvements to your cardiovascular system that come with regular sauna use will not only encourage shock proteins that stimulate your beard growth, but they’ll also extend your life!
So, provided that your keeping your beard damp for those 15 to 20-minute sessions, you’ve got a potential recipe for a longer beard and a longer life!
How Infrared Sauna Helps Hair Growth
An infrared sauna can potentially help to stimulate beard growth, but we don’t have enough research yet to say that is going to happen 100% of the time.
What we DO know is that infrared light in a sauna can help to increase blood flow and this is an important fact, because hair loss is directly related to reduced blood flow in your skin and to your hair follicles.
If you were looking at your skin and hair follicles like a cut-out slide, what you would see is that the follicles are situated at a certain level below the skin and that the skin is layered. The scalp itself is fed with blood from the carotid arteries, which are actually visible on the sides of the neck.
In cases where the blood flow has been lowered, the top layers of the skin are essentially ‘cut off’ from the blood supply and hair follicles are no longer generated, but the heat from a sauna session helps to increase the blood flow for upper layers of the skin and this can help to keep general hair loss at bay.
With beard hair, which is quite a bit tougher than the finer threads on top of your head, this can be an enormous advantage, but again we don’t have all of the science perfectly down pat.
According to studies, blood flow to the skin for regular sauna users is improved by as much as 40%, so what we can say with certainty boils down to the following 2 points:
- We know for a fact that men who are losing hair have reduced blood flow to the skin layers that are feeding follicles.
- Standard and infrared sauna studies have shown that blood flow may be stimulated by as much as 40%.
Another promising fact is that red-light therapy has been introduced in a number of saunas worldwide and the results are incredibly promising – with 16 weeks of red-light therapy, 40% of the study participants experienced an increased density in hair count, and growth improved by up to 35%.
So, while science doesn’t guarantee stimulated hair growth 100%, the studies are showing their own trend, so use that information to help you to make your decision. The numbers are pretty darn impressive!
How Sauna & Steams Rooms Reduce Beard Growth
Like every good thing in life, sauna and steam rooms can be harmful to your beard if they are used incorrectly. The danger is fairly simple and straightforward – the heat that is stimulating your skin layers and opening up pores can also dry out your beard if you aren’t careful.
Beard hairs are coarser than the hair on top of your head, so they have a good bit of resistance, but it’s a good idea to go into a session with your beard wet and if you have to choose a sauna or a steam room, the steam room will be the better choice.
That’s because the extra humidity inside a steam room will help to keep your beard from drying out. This is very important, because hair is made of keratin like your fingernails are, and it’s basically dead once it leaves the skin.
Shampooing and conditioning help to maintain the hair follicles and natural oils such as sebum are also at play to extend the hair’s life. It’s in your best interest to help protect your beard, so let’s look at how that might be accomplished so that you can have stress-free sauna and steam room sessions.
How to Enjoy Sauna or Steam Room Without Drying Out Your Beard
We mentioned the beard-friendly folks of Finland earlier in this article so that you would have a good, reliable reference point to help relax your worries a bit. You can still enjoy a sauna or a steam room, but you’ll definitely want to prepare a few extra minutes before and after your session.
The ideal way to do it is simply a shampooing and conditioning session afterward, and if you’re really worried, you can even use a hair wrap the way that you would if you were walking in a desert – with your head and part of your face covered – but that will ultimately be up to you.
The Finns don’t do that and they seem to be doing just fine!
With that said, what you’ll want to do is to start your sauna session with a shower so that you can shampoo and condition your hair, and you can add some oils to the hair on top and to your beard if you like. Just make sure that they aren’t glycerin-based and you should be golden.
Whatever you choose, make sure that you go in with a wet, shiny beard. That extra moisture will help, especially if you are in a sauna, rather than a steam room. When your session is done, then simply rinse and use light baby shampoo, followed by light conditioning, and you are ready to go.
It’s as simple as that!
Today we’ve talked about whether or not saunas or steam rooms are bad for your beard and while they CAN be, with a little preventative care your beard should be just fine. As you probably know by now, it all boils down to keeping your beard from drying out and maintaining the natural oils that your body puts there.
Provided that you are careful and don’t skip those showers, those 15-20 minute sauna sessions should be perfectly fine!
(Featured image by Kevin Bidwell from Pexels)