How to Combat Beard Burn After Kissing

Medically reviewed by Katlein Franca, MD

Beard burn, colloquially known as stache rash, is a type of contact dermatitis. It’s most often caused by kissing but can also be caused by hair rubbing on the skin, causing it to become inflamed, red, dry, and itchy. Fortunately, there are ways to soothe beard burn.

This article discusses the appearance, causes, and ways to combat beard burn for both partners.

<p>Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images</p>

Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images

What Does Beard Burn Look Like?

Beard burn is a type of contact dermatitis that develops because of friction. It’s not the same as other types of beard irritation, such as razor burn.

If beard burn is more severe, it can cause a beard rash to develop as well. Some symptoms associated with beard burn include:

  • Skin inflammation

  • Redness

  • A painful rash

The look of beard burn can differ depending on skin tone and severity, but it’s typically associated with a red, dry, and itchy patch of skin in which a lot of friction occurs during kissing.

What Type of Burn Is Beard Burn?

Beard burn is a friction burn because it is caused by excessive friction on the skin.

Related: Burn Pictures: A Close Look at First, Second, and Third Degree

What Causes Beard Burn?

The most common cause of beard burn is kissing. When people kiss, their faces tend to rub together, leading to the rash from friction from skin-to-beard contact. Friction from engaging in oral sex may also lead to beard burn.

Learn More: Can You Get an STI from Kissing?

How to Treat Beard Burn

There are several ways to treat beard burn, depending on its location. They include:

On the Face

Beard burn on the face is often treated effectively using moisturizing and calming products. They include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) moisturizing creams

  • Aloe vera gels or ointments to address the symptoms

  • Corticosteroids found either OTC or prescribed by a healthcare provider

  • Colloidal oatmeal

  • Using a cold compress on the area

These lotions and creams can be applied directly to the face where the burn is to soothe and heal the damage caused by the friction.

Related: The 10 Best Lotions for Eczema of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

On the Genitals

Beard burn on the genitals requires a different approach because you can't always use the same moisturizers on the genitals as you can on the face. Some possible treatments include:

  • Using OTC antihistamines to address itchiness

  • Taking OTC pain relievers to address pain

  • Applying topical petrolatum or zinc oxide ointments

  • Taking a sitz bath (sitting in warm shallow water)

  • Placing a cold compress on the area

  • Applying topical corticosteroid ointments made for the genital area (talk to your healthcare provider for options)

Avoiding Irritants

While it may be difficult, if you have a beard burn, you should avoid the activity that caused it until it clears up. That typically includes kissing and oral sexual activity.

What Not to Do

While the at-home treatments mentioned above are typically safe, you should avoid using any creams, ointments, or other OTC topical medications on your face or genital area unless you know how your skin will react by doing a patch test or have been given the go-ahead from your healthcare provider.

Avoid the use of creams or ointments that contain antibiotics unless otherwise directed, as well as products with hydrogen peroxide, as they can cause further irritation.

How Long Does It Take for Beard Burn to Go Away?

The duration of a beard burn will depend on its severity. A mild case will clear up much faster than a more severe one. There is little clinical evidence on how long a beard rash lasts, but some older research suggests that superficial burns, such as mild friction burns, should heal anywhere from three days to three weeks.

Can Beard Burn Cause Complications?

Some complications are associated with beard burn because of how they develop. Since beard burns are typically caused by sexual activity, the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is heightened if a person experiences a friction burn.

This is because the burn can lead to minor open cuts in the skin. If bacteria or germs from an STI make their way into the body through the cut, the infection will spread.

Signs of STIs

If you contract an STI from beard burn, there will be symptoms other than the rash and discomfort. They include:

  • Unusual discharge from the vagina or penis

  • Pain during urination

  • Skin growths or lumps around the mouth or genital area

  • Itchiness in the genital area

  • Warts in your mouth, throat, or around the genitals

  • Blisters and sores on or around the genital area

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding

Related: 8 At-Home STD Tests for 2024

How to Prevent Beard Burn

Preventing beard burn can be simple yet challenging. The only surefire ways to do so include:

Remove the Beard

Since beard burn is caused by the friction of beard-to-skin contact, completely removing the beard before engaging in sexual activity can ensure that a burn doesn’t occur.

Avoid Kissing and Oral Sex

Avoiding heavy kissing or oral sex while you have a beard is another way to prevent beard burn from occurring.

When to Contact a Healthcare Provider

While beard burn is generally mild and can clear up with some at-home remedies and time, there are some instances in which you should contact a healthcare provider. They include:

  • You have signs of infection, whether it be STIs or something else.

  • The rash doesn’t go away within three weeks or continues to worsen even when avoiding kissing or oral sex.

  • You are experiencing bleeding, oozing, or pus-filled blisters in the area.

  • The skin becomes raw.

  • There is a very intense itch alongside other symptoms.


A beard burn is a type of friction burn and contact dermatitis caused by kissing or oral sex with a beard. The rough hair of a beard rubs against the skin, causing irritation. It can develop on the face, which is the most common, but also in the genital area.

Treatment options include OTC pain relievers, creams and ointments, and antihistamines to reduce itchiness. Since beard burns can cause complications, such as a heightened risk of contracting an STI, it's vital to see your healthcare provider if you experience a beard burn that doesn't go away or a rash with blisters develops.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.