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  5. Beard Dandruff: Causes, Home remedies & Treatments

Are you experiencing white flaky skin or itching on your beard? You may be having beard dandruff. It can be very similar to dandruff on your scalp, but beard dandruff needs to be dealt with differently.

Read on to know all about beard dandruff and how you can eliminate it the right way.

What Our Expert Says

“Malassezia globosa is a yeast growth that occurs on the skin. The body’s response to this yeast results in red skin that becomes scaly and flaky.” -Priya Chavan (PG, Cosmetics & Perfumery Management), Product Development Executive, SkinKraft

What Is Beard Dandruff Exactly?

Beard dandruff is a skin condition similar to classic scalp dandruff. The only difference is that it is located on your face instead of your scalp. The most common cause of beard dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis[1].

As per Priya Chavan, Product Development Executive at SkinKraft, “Malassezia globosa [2] is a yeast growth that occurs on the skin. The body’s response to this yeast results in red skin that becomes scaly and flaky.”

In most cases, the causing agents of dandruff on your scalp and beard are the same. Other causes of beard dandruff are irritated and oily skin, insufficient and irregular cleaning and maintenance routine, hormonal issues, etc.

Usually, dandruff is marked by irritated and itchy skin along with white skin flakes. You can also experience red rashes due to persistent itching, patches of greasy skin, and white or yellow scales or crust.

Why Is My Beard Full Of Dandruff?

1. Fungus-Related Cause

The fungus that causes dandruff exists on almost every warm-blooded mammal. This microbe tends to thrive on oily skin areas with maximum sebaceous glands.

It helps break down sebum, an oil produced naturally by your sebaceous glands[3], to produce oleic acid. This acid can irritate some people’s skin leading to redness and persistent itchiness.

2. Faster Cell Turnover

People with a faster rate of cell turnover can also accumulate dead skin cells on their skin. Excess dead cells can form buildups and dry skin flakes.

3. Disturbed pH Level

A disturbed pH level of the skin underneath the beard can also lead to beard dandruff.

Did You Know?

In general, the turnover cycle of your facial skin cells takes about 30 days. If the turnover cycle speeds up, dead skin cells can accumulate, causing dry skin flakes in your beard.

4. Insufficient Hygiene Measures

Another cause of beard dandruff is improper maintenance of hygiene. Insufficient washing of one’s beard can cause a buildup of dead skin cells and oil.

5. Climatic Conditions

Finally, even climatic conditions like cold and dry weather or humid climate can worsen your beard dandruff.

Is Beard Dandruff A Fungus? What If It’s Just Dry Skin?

While beard dandruff is a skin condition usually caused by the fungus Malassezia globosa [4], it can occur due to other reasons also. However, in some cases, it could be dry skin that is causing beard flakes similar to beard dandruff.

So, if you experience white flaky skin in your beard but without redness, skin irritation or continuous itchiness, it can just be a dry skin issue. You can easily get rid of that by following a regular skin and beard care routine.

Your beard care regime must consist of face cleaning and thorough hydration at least once a day. To keep your skin and beard hydrated, apply a good quality beard balm to seal moisture without irritating the skin. You also need to increase your water intake to help hydrate your skin from the inside out.

How To Treat Beard Dandruff?

Beard dandruff can be treated and controlled with proper planning and maintenance measures. To get rid of your beard dandruff, you need to focus on

  • Regular removal of dead skin cells,
  • Controlling the secretion of extra oil, and
  • Preventing the formation of new flakes.

You need to follow a regular beard care routine that combines exfoliation, washing, and moisturizing. An appropriate care routine with suitable products will improve your skin condition in one to two weeks.

1. Exfoliation Is The Key

Exfoliation is effective in loosening and removing the dead flakes from your skin. Use a gentle beard brush with soft bristles for exfoliating your beard.

Brushing your beard before shampooing it, can help massage the skin under your beard and remove dandruff and excess oils. Regular brushing also helps to distribute your skin's natural oil all over the beard. This will make your beard hair softer and more manageable.

Exfoliation Is The Key

You can also select a gentle, exfoliating product designed for your face. Scrubbing with it can help loosen the flakes and get them out of your beard. This will also keep your skin healthy. However, ensure not to scrub your beard too hard, or your dandruff can become worse.

2. Keep Your Skin And Hair Clean

Your facial skin is sensitive and needs special attention. So, instead of using your body soap to wash your beard, use your shampoo (or anti-dandruff shampoo) for the purpose. To pamper your beard a little more, go for a specially designed beard shampoo.

You can also opt for a medicated shampoo designed to treat dandruff. Shampoos with dandruff-fighting ingredients like pyrithione zinc [5], coal tar [6], tea tree oil, selenium sulphide, etc., can produce a better result.

Gently massage your beard cleanser into your beard and ensure it reaches the skin underneath. Then leave it for one to two minutes before rinsing it out thoroughly. Avoid using harsh shampoo or hot water, which can dry out your skin, leading to further irritation.

3. Moisturize To Rehydrate Your skin

Regular moisturizing after shampooing is crucial in rehydrating your skin and keeping your beard dandruff-free. Moisturize the skin under your beard to keep your skin and beard healthy and soft.

However, Priya cautions to avoid using petroleum jelly for moisturization. She says, “Petroleum jelly is a popular choice, but it may actually make your beard dandruff worse.”

Also, regular moisturizing lotions may not work for a beard, so you can opt for beard oil instead. However, select it according to your skin type and skin issues. To use, take a few drops of oil between your palms, rub them, and massage the oil into the skin under your beard. To avoid buildups, start with a minimal quantity of oil (just one or two drops).

Note :

If you have acne-prone skin, do not go for beard oil. Look for a non-comedogenic oil like argan oil to hydrate your skin and beard without clogging your skin pores.

Tips To Prevent Beard Dandruff

  • Regular cleansing and moisturizing routines are vital. Keep them up even after you get rid of beard dandruff.
  • Monitor your skin regularly and ensure that it is not overly oily or dry. Look out for signs of redness or itchiness.
  • Also apply a few extra drops of beard oil during the winter months to avoid dryness.
  • If you are using a medicated shampoo to cure beard dandruff, you can minimize its use to once or twice a week, once your dandruff is under control.
  • Avoid using hot water to clean your face, as this can dry your skin, causing your dandruff to return.
  • Good sleep and a balanced diet can reduce dandruff on your hair and beard.
  • A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the amount of dandruff on your head and face and prevent reoccurrence.

SkinKraft Tip:

Aloe vera gel is one of the best home remedies for dandruff. A natural anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory product, its regular application to your beard can soothe itchiness, help get rid of beard dandruff and also prevent reoccurrence.

Who Gets Beard Dandruff?

People who usually experience scalp dandruff may also be more prone to beard dandruff. Also, if someone’s skin cells regenerate too quickly on their face, they can experience beard dandruff.

The beard length also plays a vital role in the formation and treatment of beard dandruff. So, the longer a beard is, the higher the chances of developing beard dandruff. This could be the case because a longer beard makes it harder to reach the skin when washing. This in turn leads to a buildup of oils and dead skin, which further causes fungal growth and dandruff.

When To See A Dermatologist About Beard Dandruff?

If your beard dandruff issue doesn't resolve within 3 – 4 weeks with proper exfoliation, washing, moisturizing routine and home remedies, consult a dermatologist.

If your beard dandruff becomes unmanageable, a dermatologist can help find the exact reason behind the problem and can provide you with a more aggressive plan of action.

Bearded guy with Beard tool

Wrapping Up

Beard dandruff is a skin condition like scalp dandruff, and causes redness, itchiness and flaky skin. This condition can happen due to a fungal infection on your skin. You can control beard dandruff by maintaining a care routine comprising exfoliation, shampooing and moisturization.

Always choose a product based on your unique skin type, when it comes to beard care. After recovery, you need to maintain a preventive care routine to stop your dandruff from coming back.