Beard dandruff: A guide to preventing it

You can’t move for facial fuzz in the UK. Where beards were once the preserve of slightly embarrassing dads who wore socks and sandals at the same time, today it seems every man is sprouting fuzz from his face – from a goatee to a Gandalf and everything in between. Even designer stubble has been making a comeback in recent years. Men’s and women’s magazines alike constantly seem to herald the “end of the beard” but what’s clear to see is that it’s not going anywhere. 

We’re all about freeing your skin to be a stylish expression of who you are – and if who you are is a man with a beard, more power to you. Besides, we’ve got a range of grooming accessories, styling razors and trimmers that are essential for a well-kept face of hair, so we’re along for the ride. 

What many people don’t realise – especially when beards explode so swiftly into fashion like they did during the 2010s – is that growing a beard isn’t simply about refraining from shaving. It’s a game of style rules, discipline, regular moisturising and oiling and keeping an eye out for any unpleasant condition that might rear its head. The last of those is especially important, as the increase of beards has inevitably led to an increase in beard dandruff. 

At Wilkinson Sword we don’t just make the finest shaving products on the planet, we bring you all the advice you need for your grooming routine.So if your facial hair is flaking and you don’t know what to do, then don’t panic – we’ve got everything you need to know about beard dandruff and how to prevent it. 

 

What is beard dandruff?

There’s nothing particularly special about beard dandruff in the sense that it’s exactly the same as the dandruff that might appear on top of your head. It’s a condition that causes white flakes of skin to appear in your hair, which can often appear without warning or explanation and can take some time to get rid of. 

One reason that dandruff can appear in your beard and not on your head is that facial hair draws a lot of moisture out from the skin, which then evaporates and leaves the skin prone to drying out and flaking. Plus, the dead skin cells on your face can get caught around hair strands even when you’re exfoliating and washing daily – meaning that beard dandruff can also lead to other problems like ingrown hairs.

 

What causes beard dandruff?

Beard dandruff, like any other type of dandruff, is caused by a microbe that exists on the skin called malassezia globosa. When your skin and this microbe don’t agree, that’s when problems can arise:

  • Malassezia globosa feeds on your skin’s natural oils
  • This process produces oleic acid
  • Oleic acid produces a response of skin irritation in around 50% of people
  • This causes the skin to become red and itchy
  • Skin cells respond by increasing their rate of turnover, leaving the dead ones to form white clumps which become dandruff flakes
  • Where elsewhere on the body these would not be noticeable, in hair they get caught and are especially visible against dark hairs

 

How can I remove beard dandruff?

It’s fairly likely that you’re reading this because those little white flakes have made themselves at home in your beard, and you want to do something about it fast – rather than because you’re curious about the scientific process that causes them to exist.

We’ve got all the information you need on how to treat beard dandruff, as well as how to prevent it from occurring again. 

All you need in order to treat and get rid of beard dandruff is a regular anti-dandruff shampoo. This can be the same as the kind you’d use on your head, as the root cause of the problem is the same. 

  • Start with a wet beard. This will help to loosen and remove any grease or dirt lingering in your beard, and soften the hair. 
  • Apply your anti-dandruff shampoo. Lather it fully into your beard, and the unique ingredients will penetrate right through your beard to the skin to help repair and protect it. Try to use a 2-in-1 anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner as this will help to tackle the flakes at the source.
  • Dry your beard completely. Don’t use a warm hairdryer as this can dry out the hairs – use a towel or a cool setting instead.
  • Use a beard balm and a moisturiser. The beard balm or oil will help to add softness and shine, while the moisturiser will form a protective layer on your skin that prevents the conditions where flakes would form.

 

How can I prevent beard dandruff?

There are a few simple additions you can make to your regular grooming routine that will not only get rid of beard dandruff but help ensure it stays away for good. Adapting your grooming to beard care and maintenance is the key to successfully cultivating a handsome beard that’ll turn heads rather than giving you a faceful of flakes. 

  • Use a beard brush daily to exfoliate the skin under your beard. Do this each day before you wash or shower. Opt for a bristly, stiff brush that will bring to the surface any flakes that have formed, as well as helping to remove the dirt and grime that can lead to dandruff-friendly conditions. It’ll also help to detangle knots, and distribute beard oils effectively if you use it for that, too. 
  • Scrub your beard with a lactic acid cleanser. The word ‘acid’ might sound off-putting and downright alarming in a sentence about skincare and beard maintenance, but lactic acid is a natural chemical exfoliant that’s especially good for sensitive skin. This will help to naturally dissolve dead skin, removing anything that the brush didn’t.
  • Invest in a proper beard oil. It’s worth splashing out a little on something good quality, because as well as nourishing and conditioning the hair it will improve its appearance while protecting the skin underneath. Warm the oil in your hands before applying it, then go from the bottom of the beard upwards. If you’ve got a long beard, use a comb to make sure the oil is distributed evenly. 
  • Listen to your skin. Don’t just apply the same grooming routine to your beard every day without paying attention – or it might take a spot of dandruff to make you start thinking about your skin’s needs. If the skin feels tight or itchy, add a few extra drops of beard oil, and think about using a different, thicker moisturiser during cold weather.