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There are many bad habits when it comes to growing and maintaining a healthy beard but there is one that I consider to be the worst and most damaging. That bad habit is the act of picking at your beard. I classify picking as when you take a single beard hair or group of hairs between your fingers and you pull on them. Not only does this weaken them but will lead to beard hairs being pulled out.
While you will lose beard hairs naturally over time you never want to be the cause of it. What makes the situation even worse is if you continue to pick at hairs in the same area which will lead to a bald spot. This is commonly seen on the neckline and cheekline of some beards. In this case, you'd have to shave a new line which will reduce your beard but erase your bald spot.
If however, you create a bald spot that's in the middle of your beard the only way to get rid of it is by shaving it off. That is the last place you want to put yourself in.
There are ways to avoid this kind of destructive activity. First and foremost, being aware that you pick at your beard is key and the first step in protecting your beard. Realizing when you pick your beard is also critical. I've found that there are 3 times you are most likely to pick at your beard:
1. Sitting at the computer whether at home or work.
2. While watching television.
3. While driving your car.
My tactic once I realize that I'm picking at my beard is to place my hand under my leg. If watching television I can place both hands under my legs or cross my arms and tuck my hands under my arms. It's that simple but you have to be aware that you are picking and pulling at your beard.
The last thing you want is for a bad habit to develop into a nervous habit. A nervous habit tends to me a bit more aggressive with a lack of awareness.
Stay aware, stop picking at your beard, and you'll do just fine :)