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Beard Dandruff: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

D‌andruff is a common condition of the scalp, but your beard is not spared from it. That’s right: beard dandruff can leave you with flaky, dry skin on your beard just as you do on your scalp.

Furthermore, you might not suffer from skin problems like dandruff until after you have a beard. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about beard dandruff so that you can treat your dandruff without getting rid of your facial hair.

5 Hacks To Get Rid Of Your Beard Dandruff

What Is Beard Dandruff?

Everyone has a microbe on their skin called Malassezia globosa. Malassezia globosa survives on sebum, an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands just beneath the skin. When sebum is broken down by the microbe, a substance called oleic acid is produced.

As it turns out, oleic acid causes a negative reaction in half of the population, making the skin inflamed and itchy. As a response, the skin cells regenerate quicker, forming white flakes we know as dandruff.

The same process that causes scalp dandruff can also happen where the beard meets the skin. And, considering half of the world has a sensitivity to oleic acid, it is not uncommon to have beard dandruff. While you can never cure dandruff, there are ways to manage its symptoms.

What Causes Beard Dandruff?

The origins of beard dandruff explained

Dry Skin

Dry skin is most commonly associated with dandruff, and with good reason. Various factors can cause dry skin, ranging from environmental factors such as dry or cold weather to chronic skin conditions to genetics. Some chronic conditions that cause dry skin include eczema and psoriasis.

In addition, certain medications, as well as soaps, shampoos, and other products can dehydrate and dry out the skin.

Anything that dehydrates and dries out the skin can cause itching, which irritates and cause flaky skin. Moreover, your body will try to compensate for this dryness by increasing oil production, which can further exacerbate the problem.

How to Prevent Beard Dandruff?

To get rid of beard dandruff, two things must occur simultaneously. First, you have to get rid of dead skin cells within the beard. You have to also stop more flaky skin from forming by slowing down the body’s production of excess oils.

Below are the steps of a routine that can treat dandruff without having to shave your facial hair. The routine includes washing, exfoliating, and moisturizing. But keep in mind that it may take time to begin to see results.

Wash Your Beard

A simple routine that includes a face wash will keep your beard flake free

You can wash your beard exactly as you wash your scalp. You do not need a specific beard shampoo, although you can opt for a beard-specific cleanser if you find that normal shampoo dries out your skin.

Next, you should work the shampoo into your beard until you reach the skin underneath. Let the shampoo sit for a few minutes so that your skin can absorb the product, then rinse. It is best to rinse with warm water, so you do not further dry out the already sensitive skin.

Condition Your Beard

It is essential to moisturize any part of your skin after cleansing it. However, this is especially true for the beard. Conditioning your beard will keep it hydrated, which keeps oil production levels within their normal range.

Rather than a thick condition or lotion, opt for a beard oil when conditioning your beard. If interested, you can read more about beard oils in the following sections.

Moreover, a non-comedogenic oil, such as argan oil, is another good conditioning option. It is nourishing without clogging your pores.

Brush Your Beard

At the end of the day, your beard is hair, and hair needs to be brushed. In order to not damage any hair, you should consider purchasing a beard brush. A beard brush will not just detangle knots and smooth stray hairs in your beard. It also will spread healthy oils throughout your beard and even exfoliate the skin underneath.

While brushing your beard might make beard dandruff more visible, it is important to remove dead skin from the beard. Brushing your beard will be able to speed up that process.

Try Out Beard Oils

Natural oils keep beards fresh

Beard oil works similarly to a hair conditioner. It is meant to condition and soften the hair, but it also conditions the skin beneath your facial hair.

People use beard oil for mostly aesthetic reasons. It can make your beard look more polished as well as more voluminous and soft. Similarly to hair conditioner, it is best used after washing your beard with shampoo. This is because the pores are more open when wet, which will allow the oil to be absorbed into the skin quickly and effectively.

It is safe to use every day, but it is important not to use too much product. Doing so can make your hair look greasy.

Instead, start off by massaging just a few drops of oil into your damp beard. Work your way through the entire beard with just these few drops. You can brush the oil through with a comb if your hair is thick. Depending on how thick or long your beard is, you may need more oil to start with.

Beard oil are typically full of natural ingredients with various health benefits. Some of the common ingredients include jojoba, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, and argan oil. In addition, certain products may contain essential oils, which have anti-inflammatory qualities that can soothe the skin.

Avoid Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly can heal all sorts of dry skin. However, when it comes to beard dandruff, petroleum jelly is not the solution.

The treatment of beard dandruff is more complex than simply slabbing on moisturizer. While great for treating other skin conditions, it is best to avoid petroleum jelly when it comes to your beard care routine.

What Else Could Your Beard Dandruff Be?

Not all dead skin cells found in the beard can be attributed to beard dandruff. If your beard dandruff is accompanied by other symptoms, it might be a sign of an underlying condition.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is the most common cause of beard dandruff. However, it tends to be more severe and bothersome than your run-of-the-mill case of dandruff.

The skin condition causes the following symptoms:

  • dandruff or dead skin cells
  • the presence of crust or scales that are white or yellow in color
  • persistent irritation and hyperpigmentation
  • Frequent itchiness
  • greasy skin despite the above symptoms

While seborrheic dermatitis causes no immediate physical harm to the body, if left untreated, it can lead to infection. If you suspect your persistently itchy beard is a sign of something more serious, you should consult a doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible. In addition, you should consult a healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Beard dandruff and scaly skin that is bothersome or noticeable enough to interfere with your daily functioning.
  • Symptoms that are interfering with your ability to get a full night of sleep
  • Any signs of infection, such as peeling skin, appearing along the hair follicles
  • There is no noticeable improvement after practicing good beard hygiene or taking over-the-counter treatments

Beard Dandruff Conclusion

Man with a clean beard smiling

Beard dandruff is not a serious condition, but it can be embarrassing and unpleasant. However, it is common, and there are various ways to treat beard dandruff. It is important to frequently wash your beard with a gentle, non-irritating cleanser, making sure to also cleanse the skin beneath your beard.

You should condition your beard and exfoliate by brushing with a beard brush. Doing so will remove dead skin cells while moisturizing the skin under your beard. If you are seeing no improvement or symptoms are getting worse, it is best to consult a dermatologist who can give you more insight and perhaps a prescription.

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