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There’s just so many products out there that help you keep gross, flaky skin off your shoulders that no one ever mentions the fact that the exact same things can be on your face as well.
That’s right. If you thought dandruff was a problem reserved for your head, think again.
Men across the world suffer from what doctors like to call seborrheic dermatitis.
If you’ve got a beard, there’s a good chance you already have a mild form of beardruff (beard + dandruff). And it’s not something that looks or feels good.
You’ve probably even seen someone with a beard loaded with dandruff.
Even though it seems a bit strange at first, it’s not something uncommon among men who grow beards. And the good thing is that you don’t have to live with either.
Without wasting any more time, here’s what you need to know about the annoyingly inconvenient beard dandruff.
We’ll also get to discuss about ways to prevent it and if you have already, we’ll dig into the ways to get rid of beard dandruff once and for all.
What is beard dandruff
There is really no difference between the sort of dandruff on your head and the sort that pops up in your beard.
If you’ve never had to deal with dandruff and don’t really know what it is, lucky you!
It is so common that it affects even close to half of the male population. So there’s a good chance that you had, having or will have at some point. Hopefully, you won’t get to experience that.
People seem especially prone to dandruff in their early 20’s, but it is not really restricted to this age group.
If you have trouble figuring out whether or not you have dandruff, check for some of the most common symptoms.
It could be as innocent as a mild beard itch, perhaps a rash that comes out of nowhere and, of course, heaps of dry, dead skin flakes all over your shoulders.
If you have all of those symptoms, you’re part of this group of people that have beard dandruff. Not to worry though.
Before we get to the ways to fight beard dandruff, let’s see how this is caused in the first place.
What causes beard dandruff
You won’t find a lot of information on what causes beard dandruff if you simply google ‘seborrheic dermatitis’.
Doctors don’t have the exact answer on what causes dandruff, either on your head or in your whiskers.
But there is a some evidence to suggest that it has something to do with a yeast called Pityrosporum ovale. This particular type of yeast lives right on human skin and makes it flake off.
Some theories suggest a common fungus called malassezia might be responsible for dandruff in your hair and skin.
Other theories suggest beard dandruff has a lot to do with the weather (specifically cold weather) or stress. But overall the jury is still out on what causes your head and face to shed skin in bulk (and sadly, put it on display for the world to see).
So we don’t really know what causes it and your guess may just be as good as the scientists.
Rest assured that the fact that we don’t know what’s causing it, doesn’t mean we have no idea what to do about it.
There are ways to treat beard dandruff as well as there are ways to prevent it.
First, let’s see how to get rid of beard dandruff if you happen to have it already.
How to treat beard dandruff
Those annoyingly visible flakes of skin on your hair have a solution we all have heard of – dandruff shampoo.
Most commercial shampoos that claim to get rid of dandruff on your hair work rather well, so long as they contain tar, coal, salicylic acid, sulfur, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione.
But a bottle of head and shoulders isn’t going to help you cure beard dandruff.
Although dandruff on your beard is very similar to the one on your head, the solutions for them both differ quite a bit.
That’s not to say regular dandruff shampoo is completely useless. You can pick up a bottle and use a bit to clear the dandruff in your beard. All you need is a simple wash with some stuff that works well for your head hair.
If you look around a bit, you may be able to find some sort of dandruff shampoo made specially for beards.
These beard dandruff shampoos aren’t widely available but there are some that can do the trick.
If your beard dandruff is particularly aggressive, you may need to head to the pharmacy and get a prescription antifungal shampoo.
These are meant to work better when you have a fungus induced case dandruff.
If your face has rashes all over from all the scratching, you probably need this sooner than later. Consult your doctor so that you can get a prescription for a shampoo with Ketoconazole, which is a key ingredient that works to treat Seborrheic Dermatitis.
There’s also a number of shampoos out there that have steroids in them to help you clear up dandruff quick. Clobex is a good example.
I wouldn’t recommend these to everyone and even for the men who need them I’m pretty sure it’s not a good idea to use it everyday. Again, before you try out something, it’s better to get a second opinion from your doctor.
So those are all the ways you can get rid of dandruff and really decrease the amount of dead skin on your beard.
But what makes dandruff particularly hard to deal with is it’s ability to keep coming back?
At first you might think that it doesn’t matter how intense your chemical warfare against beard dandruff was. It seems as if it always finds a way to reappear and spread again if you don’t take care of your precious beard.
Here’s what you need to do to prevent beard dandruff.
How to prevent beard dandruff
There are a lot of ways to make sure your beard is healthy enough and become dandruff free.
The best thing to do is to control dryness and sanitation by keeping your beard soft.
Basically, keeping your face clean and hydrated is the first and most important step you need to take so that you make sure dandruff doesn’t come back and ruin your look.
Beard conditioning with oils
Beard oil is one of favorite solutions since it works well to trap moisture in and keep your beard hydrated.
Some of the top beard oils contains all these important carrier and essential oils that help your skin and beard become softer, reducing beard itch and preventing beard dandruff.
A few oils that are found in beard oils are the following:
- Coconut oil: It’s antibacterial and antifungal. It’s a great moisturiser and penetrates the hair and skin effectively due to lauric acid. Lauric is a fatty acid that helps decreasing the inflammation caused by dandruff.
- Olive oil, Another edible oil that does wonders on your body as a cosmetic ingredient. It’s rich in oleic acid and gives your face and beard the so needed moisture that in turn, can reduce beard dandruff.
- Tea tree oil: An essential oil with a refreshing, woody scent that has been used in natural remedies for years. This oil fights beard dandruff with its anti-fungal and disinfectant properties. It soothes and heals the skin and hair.
And these are just a few oils that can help with beard dandruff. Other can be jojoba, argan, sweet almond, chamomile, lavender, hemp seed and many others that are great for hair and skin.
Imagine how effective an oil blend can be that has a combination of all the mentioned oils.
Yes, that’s beard oil lads.
Only a few drops one or two times a day are enough to make a big difference in the appearance and health of your beard.
Continue applying a few drops, a few times a week and you have a potentially easy routine that solves this dreaded issue.
One thing to note is that if your skin is overly sensitive or naturally oily, avoid beard oil that contain ingredients that could clog your pores. That said, avoid anything that contains alcohol.
On the other hand, moisturizers work just as well. A regular moisturizer that works for your head hair, will be just as good at moisturizing your beard as anything else.
Get yourself a good beard moisturizer and apply a few drops after you shower.
If you don’t like beard oils, get a balm instead
A great alternative to beard oils are beard balms. Though, they’re more suitable for longer beards as they contain beeswax. If you use it on short beards, it might feel a bit heavy on your skin.
The idea behind beard balm is that it moisturises and keeps your beard soft and your skin nourished.
In principle, it’s similar to beard oil in terms of softening and in some cases it gives your beard a bit of hold.
You’ll find similar ingredients to beard oils such as carrier and essential oils. The carrier oils are the ones that do all the softening and conditioning work and these are the reason to get one balm over another.
The only difference really is on the application and the fact that it’s in solid form due to the beeswax.
And speaking of beeswax, this is melted with the use of butters such as shea, cocoa and avocado. You only have to scrape a bit from the container, rub the balm into your palms until it melts and then massage it into your beard.
Pick a gentle shampoo
Speaking of taking showers – keep yourself clean.
Use a shampoo that suits you best and gently rub out all the dirt and debris from your skin.
You want to get rid of both the dried, dead skin flakes as well as the fungus that potentially causes dandruff in your beard. Clean out nicely and exfoliate your skin to get the best results.
Do not, under any circumstance, use regular soap to clean your face. Soap takes away all your facial moisture and is likely to make your dandruff issue worse.
Instead, try to find something mild to clean your face and check the ingredients carefully before making any choice you’ll regret.
Another way to tackle dandruff is to drop shampoo altogether.
I know there’s a lot of shampoos that help with dandruff. I’ve also pointed out all the different types in the section above. But for some guys a ‘no-shampoo’ approach seems to work best.
If you want to experiment and find out if your shampoo is the reason you have dandruff, try going without it for a few weeks and see if anything changes.
While you’re at it, cut out all the other sources of chemicals too. This includes conditioner, dyes and perfumes. There is a chance your skin is sensitive to some sort of chemical and is breaking out in rashes because of it (you may be mistaking it for dandruff).
Go chemical-free for a while and see if the beard itching stops.
If it does, that’s great. If it doesn’t, try any of the solutions I’ve already talked about here.
Beard brush could be a way to prevent beardruff
Another natural way to help you with dandruff is a natural boar bristle beard brush.
The natural and good hair backbone can help clean your beard and take away any flakes. In addition, a top notch beard brush with boar hair helps distributing sebum oil across the length of the facial hair due to its natural bristles. This way, your beard becomes softer and healthier.
Needless to say that the beard brush alone won’t do much of a difference, but it will certainly help together with the other beard dandruff cures.
Control your eating habits
Finally, there’s some evidence to suggest dandruff may be linked to what you eat.
A lot of men have allergies to wheat and milk products and for some men the symptoms are more likely to turn up on the skin and hair.
Dandruff could be linked, although there’s a slim chance you are getting dandruff just because of an allergy, it’s worth cutting out certain foodstuffs to see if it has any effect.
How to cure it following a simple routine
Even though there’s no guarantee that you will eliminate beard dandruff, following a regular grooming routine should help you keep your beard healthy and clean.
In turn, this will help you keep the dandruff off of your face.
The main idea here, is to equip yourself with patience, and more importantly, discipline.
Once you’ve had a look to see what suits you and picked out the shampoo or conditioner that works best for you, it’s time to fight.
- Start by washing your face and cleaning out your beard with the shampoo that works best. Try to make sure the water isn’t warm. Warm water is likely to make your skin dry out (something we have to avoid, as already noted).
- When you have the chance, exfoliate the skin, and get the dirt and debris out. Another great reason to exfoliate is that you get rid of the fungus and the dead skin cells that are already present in your beard. Some of those particles may be hard to get rid of without a good exfoliating cream.
- Towel dry your beard once you finish with washing. Dry it gently without pulling your beard and without applying too much pressure.
- Apply beard oil in a clean and dry beard and massage into the roots. Repeat every day once in the morning and one more time before you go to sleep. If needed, apply once more throughout the day, always in a clean beard.
- If you have a long beard, consider using a good natural beard balm in the morning instead of beard oil and follow the same application as with the oil. The only difference here is that you focus more on the hair rather than in the roots of your beard.
- Consider using a boar hair beard brush to groom your beard. It can also help with beard oil application so that you distribute it evenly across your face and beard. Before that, you might even use the best beard comb you have with narrow teeth so that you get rid of as many flakes as you can before start brushing your beard -unless you’ve got very short beard.
That’s it! Again, this grooming routine is by all means not 100% sure that will eliminate beard dandruff but it will surely help you get rid of it.
The worst thing that can happen is to have less dandruff than before starting the routine.
It doesn’t seem that bad after all, does it?
Products that can help you
Head & Shoulders and Selsun Blue Medicated are both good shampoos that you can use on your head as well as your beard. These however are the only solution and you can also try some beard specific products that are meant to help with beard dandruff.
A few good beard shampoos that you can try are from Seven Potions] with over 95% natural ingredients and Bluebeards Original. They will most definitely help you wash up your whiskers and get rid of all that dandruff.
Then there’s beard oil, for which there’s a ton of choice but my go-to favorites are actually three and they contain these ingredients that help with dandruff. These are Seven Potions Beard Oil, Honest Amish Beard Oil and this oil from Grave Before Shave.
As noted in the routine, you can also consider using beard balm in the morning instead of beard oil. A few products that you can consider that contain similar ingredients to the previously mentioned beard oils are Seven Potions beard balm and Detroit Grooming Co. Beard Balm
A gentle and effective exfoliating cream, like the ManCave Face Scrub works well. A face conditioner like the Neutrogena Face Lotion is also highly recommended.
There are a lot of ways that can help you with this facial hair problem.
Even though there’s no one size fits all solution here, you can easily adapt your beard grooming routine and include the products and steps that can help you face dandruff.
My personal suggestion is to first try to solve this issue in a natural way, starting from your lifestyle and eating habits. Next, start using some the products by following a simple anti dandruff routine.
If all fails, and beard dandruff doesn’t seem to go away after exhausting all your options and techniques, there’s still hope.
This time though, it’s highly recommended to pay a visit to your dermatologist and determine whether you need to follow a specific treatment.
Let me know how it goes. If you have any question or even an additional solution to this manly hair care issue, make sure you leave your comment below and help our fellow men.
Main image courtesy: Improvisor/BigStock.com