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If you’ve invested time into growing out your beard, then the last thing you want is to develop the unsightly flakes of dry skin known as beard dandruff. In this article, we’re going to give you our tips for getting rid of beard dandruff for good.
What Are the Causes of Beard Dandruff
But first, let’s look at what causes it. There are three factors behind most cases of beard dandruff.
Cause 1: Dry Skin
The first is simply dry skin. If you wash your beard area with harsh cleansers or regular soap, then this will dry your skin out by removing the natural oils. Dry skin also occurs more often during the winter months when cold air, low humidity, and high winds strip your skin of the moisture that it needs to stay healthy.
Cause 2: Malassezia Globosa
The second cause of beard dandruff is a fungus called Malassezia globosa. This fungus naturally lives on your skin, feeding on the oil released by your sebaceous glands, which is known as sebum. In turn, the Malassezia releases an acid called oleic acid. Oleic acid irritates your skin, which creates a reaction in your body that causes more skin cells to grow. These extra skin cells eventually flake off, leading to beard dandruff.
Malassezia is killed by sunlight, so when you are clean-shaven, this is not a problem. Once you grow a beard, this gives the fungus somewhere to hide from the sunlight (as well as something to protect it from being washed off) and so its growth rate increases, and more dry skin is produced.
Cause 3: Allergies
The third and final main cause of beard dandruff is allergies to products used on the skin. Some people have more sensitive skin than others, and you may be sensitive to a particular ingredient contained within the product. For this reason, we recommend that you always read the label of the products that you buy. Soon enough, you will figure out which ingredients you may be allergic to. Then you can check the ingredients of any products and make sure that those ingredients aren’t in them before you use them.
If you have sensitive skin, it would be wise to test any new products on a small, hidden area of your skin to see whether a reaction develops. You’re looking to avoid what is known as Contact Dermatitis, which is red, itchy, flaky skin.
How to Get Rid of Beard Dandruff
Now that you know the main causes of beard dandruff, let’s look at how to get rid of it.
Step 1. Wash Your Face Regularly
To help minimize the appearance of beard dandruff, make sure to wash your face at least once or twice a day. But don’t use any harsh cleansers or regular soap. A natural cleanser or even a specialized beard wash will help you to remove dead skin cells and slow the growth of fungus while not drying out your skin.
Also, be sure to use cold or lukewarm water as hot water will dry your skin out more.
Step 2. Exfoliate
Exfoliating will allow you to really scrub your skin, removing dead skin cells and getting rid of any Malassezia fungus. You can use a beard brush, a loofah, or, for best results, an exfoliating glove. Do this at the same time as washing your face to reduce your chances of having beard dandruff.
Step 3. Use a Medicated Shampoo
Once a week, wash your beard area with a medicated shampoo designed to treat scalp dandruff. Don’t do it too often as these products are too harsh for regular use on your facial skin.
If your dandruff is fairly light, then Head & Shoulders may work for you as its active ingredient pyrithione zinc fights off fungi and bacteria.
If you have a more serious case of beard dandruff, then try Nizoral. Like Head & Shoulders, Nizoral is an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo. But its active ingredient is ketoconazole, which is used in prescription dandruff and dermatitis treatments.
Avoid using Selsun Blue because its active ingredient, selenium disulfide, is known to stop working as soon as you stop using it regularly.
Step 4. Brush Your Beard
After washing your beard, brush it while it’s still damp. This will help to distribute your beard’s natural oils and remove any excess skin cells.
To do this, use a special beard comb or a beard brush made with boar or horsehair bristles. Simply comb downwards until your beard feels soft and smooth and doesn’t have any tangles.
Step 5. Replace the Natural Oils
All of this washing and exfoliating is great for removing dead skin cells and fungus, but you should always follow it up with a moisturizer to replace the natural oils that will be stripped away by this process. You can use a moisturizing lotion but, for best results, we recommend buying some beard oil. Look for a beard oil that contains tea tree, lavender, cedarwood, patchouli, rosemary, or bergamot as these have natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Step 6. Apply Hydrocortisone Cream
When your beard dandruff is accompanied by red and itchy skin, then you may want to use something to soothe the inflammation and skin irritation. Use hydrocortisone cream on any red and itchy areas – you’ll be able to find this at a pharmacy. Apply it at least twice a day for the best results and help avoid beard itch.
Step 7. Seek Professional Help
If you’ve tried all of the above and still have beard dandruff, then speak to your doctor or consult a dermatologist. You might have an abnormal skin condition that is causing the dandruff. If so, a doctor will be able to diagnose the problem and prescribe a prescription-strength treatment to cure it.
If you’re experiencing beard dandruff, then don’t worry – simply follow the steps in this article to get rid of it for good.
Start by making sure to wash, exfoliate, brush, and moisturize your beard every day, using a medicated shampoo once a week for extra dandruff-killing power.
If this doesn’t work then consider using a hydrocortisone cream or seeking professional help.