My [Beard Dandruff] Won’t Go Away
By Anil Davé | Last updated
1st June 2018
I know what you're thinking, "beard dandruff, really?!" Yes, it is a thing. It's also quite common and most of the time people don't notice that they have it. That being said, it's not a good sight to have a birds nest in your beard. This is a subject that I get a lot of questions over.
A lot of lads have asked me for advice and reasons why their beard dandruff won't go away. What I'm gonna try and do for you here, is give you some background on beard dandruff, the causes and some simple things you can do to both prevent it and treat it.
Anyone that has attempted to grow a beard would have experienced some kind of itchiness, normally in the earlier stages of their beard growing journey. If you find that you're getting continuous itching after the first 2 months, then it could be another issue that isn't related to what I like to call the 'beard teething stage'.
You might be dealing with a problem that could be causing you irritation and dandruff. This article is my way of giving you information on beard dandruff, what it is and how to treat it. I've also thrown in some nice home remedies that you can use with simple stuff in your home.
Hold on, what is Beard Dandruff?
Basically, beard dandruff makes your beard look like s##t! Not sure what more I can add here ;)
What can cause my Beard Dandruff?
Here are a few reasons why you might develop beard dandruff. Let's have a look in detail at the different causes that could be affecting you.
Fungal Infections - Say what?!
It's basically your body responding to irritation. This might be something that you're familiar with already with the hair on your head, (if you have hair on your head). Beard dandruff is basically the same as dandruff on your head, with the same cause - Malassezia fungus.
Yeah, it sounds nasty, but it's not as bad as you think. This fungus feeds on the natural oils that are produced by your skin, something that's called sebum. This fungus starts breaking this down into oleic acid.
Interestingly, a lot of people are sensitive to oleic acid. It can trigger irritation which can cause itching, redness and noticeably, skin cells will start to shed away and appear as little flakes in your beard.
Dry skin on your face
Yep I know, it seems obvious doesn't it. Dry skin causes your skin to crack, which leads to the "skin sawdust" we call dandruff.
If you live in the UK, then you'll understand this next statement.
IT'S FRICKIN COLD!
High winds and freezing conditions is a big cause for dry skin. You might not think that it's important, but if you generally suffer from dry skin, then you need to watch out for the high winds and cold weather. You need to try and protect your beard from the elements.
Now, no one is saying you need to go out and buy a windproof beard ski mask (you might want to get one if you have the balls to wear it down Oxford Street on a Monday morning). Just wrap up. Get a decent scarf and keep your beard warm and away from the wind.
Stress and Anxiety
It goes without saying that stress affects your body in all sorts of ways. This is no different. If you're feeling stress in your life, it's going to affect your beard and body. Eat well, be active and don't let that tw#t at work stress you out because he uses up the last of the paper in the printer. Check out this article on the NHS website on 10 stress busters.
Seems strange doesn't it. I know what you're thinking.
"isn't shampoo supposed to clear my dandruff?"
Well if you wash your beard too much with the wrong shampoo you can dry out the skin under your beard. Remember, washing your beard can strip away those vital natural oils from your beard.
If we now flip it, and you don't wash out your shampoo properly, the shampoo will stay in your beard and start to dry out and give the appearance of dandruff.
Water temperature is too hot
A lot of people don't realise this, but washing your beard in really hot water temperatures can cause skin irritation, which can lead to skin flaking. If you're like me and like to shower in steaming hot water, then you need to watch out for this.
How do I know if I have Beard Dandruff?
Well, it's pretty obvious when you have beard dandruff, especially if you've experienced dandruff on your head before. I know you must have seen those cheesy adverts with some geezer with some nasty skin flakes on their shoulder.
If you're pretty new to it, then here are some of the things you should look out for.
The classic "Flakes of skin"
Have a look at your clothes, at the shoulder of your shirt or jumper. Can you see any signs of dandruff? Maybe some sights of flaky skin?
You need to ask yourself where it's coming from. It might be from your head if it's around the tops of your shoulder or around the back, but if it's further down, then it could be down to the monster beard you've been growing.
One really good method of checking for beard dandruff is grabbing your comb and brushing through your beard. I find that wearing a dark t-shirt (black is ideal) will help you determine if your dandruff is related to your beard. As soon as you start brushing, you're gonna see some flaky skin dropping onto your t-shirt.
It's just really Itchy
Now it's normal for you to have an itchy beard in the first few weeks of starting to grow your beard, but if it's happening after a few months then you'll probably want to consider that it's not just down to 'beard teething' issues. It could be early signs of dandruff.
If you're finding that your skin is drying out underneath your beard, maybe due to a lack of conditioning or moisturising, then your beard can developer an itch, which can start to reveal flaky skin (dandruff).
Remember that the thickest part of your beard is underneath your chin, so this is where you will see signs of itch and flaky skin the most.
I've left the worse to last. If you have sensitive skin or a reaction due to a fungus, you could have trouble with sore skin under your beard. Now I've been lucky enough to not experience this, but I have had a few mates that have suffered from this. I'm not gonna sugar coat it, but it's not nice.
Dry skin that flakes away can make the skin really sensitive and red. So constant inching can really spread the irritation and make it worse. In some cases, it could lead to the skin breaking up and even bleeding. It can be painful, and the best thing to do here is to completely resist the urge to itch and irritate the skin any more.
Easier said than done!
How can I treat and get rid of Beard Dandruff?
So we now know what it is, and what are the common cases of beard dandruff. But I'm sure you really what to know what you can do to get rid of it.
Beard Dandruff is not cool and by that I mean it's NASTY. You're not gonna pull on a Saturday night with your embarrassing flaky beard. The good news is that beard dandruff is simple to fix. I've listed some top tips for controlling your beard dandruff and being free from it once and for all.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, beard oil is probably the single best product you can buy for your beard. But you need to be careful when buying beard oil because there are a lot of brands out there that don't use natural ingredients. When you're looking for a good beard oil for your face beast, you need to look out for products that contain good carrier oils:
In this particular case, coconut oil or almond oil based beard oils would be ideal as they're good for their protective and soothing qualities. I have to say that Coconut oil is my favourite and it's a hit in my house. My wife is addictive to using it and I've on occasion found myself reaching for it in the kitchen and smearing it all over my beard. Don't judge! :)
It can be tempting to reach for your everyday face moisturiser. But this isn't going to work. Stick to the beard oil.
Balms and Butters can help
If you're having mild beard dandruff, then using some beard balm or butter can help ease the conditions, but I will still recommend using beard oil.
These are alternative options if you're either not a fan of beard oil, or you happen to have a balm or butter available instead.
Shampoo your beard properly
Now I know you must be asking yourself, how can you not be shampooing properly.
I hear you. I mean it's easy, right? You put it in and then rinse it out. Simple!
Let me tell you a few things you need to consider when you shampoo:
- Use a beard shampoo - Yep, don't just think you can use your normal hair shampoo on your beard. It will strip even more of those essential natural oils from your beard. You need to use a proper beard shampoo for the job. One that will help to keep as much of the natural oils in there.
- Massage as you apply - Don't just throw the shampoo in there and leave it. Massage it in and give it some love. The benefits of massaging shampoo in are well known. It promotes circulation which helps keep the blood flowing to the follicles. Plus, the skin on your face is much more sensitive than the skin on your head.
- Don't wash it too much - Probably a common theme from my articles, but washing your beard too much can dry out your beard and skin. Try to stick to washing it once a week. The only exception to the rule would be if you're in the early stages of growing your beard and moustache.
Keep your shower temperature in check
Again, something that some of you will think is a little nuts, but trust me lads, it's important.
Did you know that high temperatures of water can damage your skin?
I'm a big fan of having a hot shower, and I'm not saying you should stop, but maybe try and turn the temperature down when it comes to washing your beard. It will make a big difference. I would always recommend hitting your beard with some cold water at the end of your shower to help cool the skin down and reduce the chance of irritation.
Brush and Comb like a king.
Brush all the time. I don't care where you are, brush your beard. I can't tell you how important brushing your beard can be. If you asked anyone I work with, they'd tell you I'm always pulling out my beard comb in a meeting at.
There are a couple of key benefits to bushing your beard:
- As you brush, you're combing your dandruff out if your beard. It can be embarrassing when a friend or colleague points it out to you. So keep brushing that beard.
- Combing and brushing can help you evenly distribute the beard oil, butter or balm you're using throughout your beard, which helps to keep the skin underneath irritation free.
Occasionally use a special Dandruff Shampoo
Now, this might be controversial, but I would only recommend this if you suffer from beard dandruff severely and often. I personally don't think it's a problem to use a stronger dandruff shampoo, like head and shoulders occasionally on your beard. Some people might not agree with me and will probably say that it's way to harsh for your beard, but as with most things, everything is normally fine with moderation.
Use it now and again and only if nothing else is working for you.
What about other home remedies?
This is a very popular question that I get asked. It's true that using branded beard shampoos and other products that have chemicals in them may cause damage to your skin and make your situation worse. There are some really good home remedies that will give you great results and most of them are just everyday things that you will have in your home.
Aloe Vera love
It seems that this amazing natural wonder can help with just about anything! Why would dandruff be any different? Aloe Vera can do wonders for your skin under your beard. If you're suffering from any soreness, itchiness or any kind of irritation, Aloe Vera, with its natural vitamins and minerals can really help heal your skin and stop the irritation.
Don't be fooled, aspirin isn't just for getting rid of that annoying headache. It can be used to help combat that pesky beard dandruff. The salicylic acid in Asprin really helps to control the main fungus that can cause beard dandruff
I bet you didn't know that salicylic acid is also used in many top branded anti-dandruff shampoos.
Lemons all up in there
Good old Lemons. What can I say, again its one of those everyday items in your fridge that can be used for loads of stuff. One of which is treating your beard's dandruff. The natural acids can really help keep your dry and flaky skin under control. All you need to do is mix some lemon with some water and apply it just like you would do with beard oil, then rinse it out with cold water.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Who doesn't have baking soda or bicarbonate of soda in their kitchen cupboard? I know my wife uses it a lot for baking, but did you know that it can help with dandruff?
That's right, Baking soda can work as a mild exfoliant which helps to get rid of dead skin under your beard. So Lads, get into the kitchen and grab that baking soda.
Yes, you heard me. Never underestimate the power of drinking the correct amount of water every day. Flush out those toxins and drink your 8 glasses a day.
It's not worked! What do I do now?
If you've tried everything and nothing is working for you, then you could be suffering from a deeper underlying issue. My advice would be to go and see your doctor and get some proper treatment and options, or worse case, just shave you're beard off.
That's it. I hope you found this article useful. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.