Is it ok to have a beard?

I have seborrheic dermatitis. It’s not that bad, it just results in red, risen, and sometimes flaky skin on my face/nose. The medicine for it is pretty expensive so I’ve gotten by with just having a neatly trimmed beard for the last few years. I keep my face clean to minimize breakouts but it also breaks out during stressful or lack-of-sleep periods. I’m doing secondaries right now and a lot of them want a passport photo. I have the one I used for my committee letter. It’s a shirt + tie + jacket photo but it has the beard. I’m just not sure if they care about (neatly trimmed!) facial hair? Does anyone have any experience or input?

Medicine is very conservative. It was recommended to me to always be clean shaven when applying to schools. After that we are free to grow dreadlocks. My friend suffered from severe folliculitis but shaved for interviews. I would shave, take pictures, then only shave right before interviewing.

I am clean shaven for now, until I get accepted. I have horrible sensitive skin and using any soap or gel usually results in an acne like rash which is not becoming of a 35 year old man. I shave with just water and a razor, which is uncomfortable and looks a little red/rosy in the end, but better than infected. As soon as I am in, I’ll be growing a nicely groomed beard back.

terevet - I’d suggest trying pure glyceron soap (maybe “Dr. Braun’s”) and putting on aloe vera gel afterwards, which I’ve found seems to remove inflammation overnight from acne.

My kids had great success with dabbing on a solution of green tea +chamomile tea + 1 aspirin dissolved, 2 X a day, and pure aloe vera gel at night on any inflammed areas (which removed the inflammation overnight) Made it up myself, worked way better than any other acne medicine, and didn’t hurt or smell bad so they were willing to use it.


While it appears to be acne or acne like, I think it is allergic in nature. Aloe, lanolin, etc etc. just about everything makes it worse. I do best with Irish Spring soap (seems to rinse away fairly cleanly).

You solution probably would have been great for when I was in my early 20’s!

I have psoriasis, so I feel your pain, mine is mostly concentrated on my scalp though, but likes to peak out once in a while.

I would say go clean shaven. I find that most people don’t pay attention to it, especially when you are confident.

With that said, confidence is key, if you feel facial hair is going to make you feel more confident, then do it to it.

My overly sensitive skin is mild compared to psoriasis and if that is all I have to worry about then I am lucky. I wish you the best of luck - you are right about confidence.

Okay, this just turned into a makeup and style blog. Bear with me!

I have also been diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis. My face flakes and it took me years, derm visits and meds that didn’t work, cleansers, moisturizers, etc, until I took a glance at a natural remedy book. This author, who I think was a naturopathic physician, implicated dairy. I did an elimination diet, and lo-and-behold, whenever I eat any dairy my face starts to flake. So I’m now on fortified soy and almond milks, etc. and feel so much better. No flaking or itching when I totally avoid all dairy. I have a few red, blotchy spots, possibly scarring from the years of flaking, and when I need to look “presentable” (I don’t really wear makeup), I use Garnier’s Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller (I also have very dark undereye circles) and dab a bit of that on the red spots. I totally think a guy could use it as well. It reflects light while it covers and still looks like I’m not “made up” when I use it–still a natural look. Best of luck with this!!

On a similar topic, I’m a ways away from interviews, but I cannot imagine wearing a skirt suit to them. I envision myself wearing a pantsuit, a la Hillary Clinton. I think that is how I would be most comfortable. Any thoughts? I can’t speak to how adcoms feel, but I can’t imagine ones up here (crunchy vermont) having a problem with that–or with having a neatly trimmed beard either.

But I could be wrong…

Note, for most U.S. schools, having a beard is probably okay. But some foreign schools don’t want bearded students (why so sexist?).

I have had allergic problems with anything dairy for years, and do not consume it in any measurable amount, so that is NOT the source of my skin issues.

I am glad you’ve found a good solution for yours.

I have a full bread, and I was planning on going clean-shaven for my interview, but my advisor was keen on telling me to have it professionally barbered so that the focus isn’t on the skin of my (admittedly full) face.

I’m excited and terrified all at once. I’m guessing this is normal.

Went with the beard and got accepted shortly after my interview. Almost all of the male faculty had beards/facial hair. Just be yourself I guess.

Congrats on the acceptance, Matt!