How often you shave your beard is typically a matter of personal preference. Some men grow beards because they like the way they look. Others grow them to cover up scars or blemishes, and some just grow them because they forget to pack a razor on vacation. In some cases, however, men grow beards because shaving causes them too much irritation, leaving behind bumps and ingrown hairs that can be unsightly and uncomfortable. If this is true for you, there are a few things you can try before giving up on shaving completely.

More than three quarters of men experience irritation when shaving. The best way to prevent shaving irritation is to shave with the grain of the hair and avoid using more than one stroke to shave the same area [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. You should also use a clean, sharp razor blade -- when blades get dull, it's easy to pull or nick your skin [source: WebMD]. If you're doing all of this and still experiencing irritation, it might take some trial and error to find a better way to shave. For example, some men find that an electric razor causes less irritation than a blade, and others get better results from a shaving gel than a cream. The key is finding the combination that works best for your skin. If you prefer razor blades, keep in mind that irritation is often caused by getting too close of a shave, so triple and quadruple blades may not be the best choice for you. You can also try shaving after you shower -- warm water softens the skin and hair, making it easier to shave [source: WebMD]. Or try using a pre-shaving oil that softens the hair of your beard, and follow your shave with a moisturizer that contains glycolic acid or salicylic acid [source: Jaret]. Another option is to use your regular hair conditioner to soften your beard before you shave.

How often you shave is really up to you, but if you have a beard only because shaving causes too much irritation, you have other options. If shaving really irritates you -- and your skin -- you could even consider laser hair removal.

Check out the links on the next page for more information on shaving your beard.