By now, it should be pretty apparent that beards are a thing. Beards are all over the place: pop culture has heartily embraced the fact that beardliness is next to godliness, as more and more dudes are wearing them.
Most importantly, the ladies seem to love beards. There even appears to be some evolutionary connection to the way women react to a man with a beard that has to do with our ancient mating signals.
But when you’re out in the clubs proudly showing off your thick, rich, lustrous chin pelt, there’s one real good way to instantly change a lady’s mind about beards: the scourge of beard dandruff.
What is beard dandruff?
The worst thing about beardruff is you’re often the last to know.
There’s nothing like closing in on a young, fresh thing who’s warming up to you, leaning down close over your cocktails to whisper some charming bon mot, only to watch her face scrunch up in horror before she makes some excuse and heads across the room, never to be seen again.
You might not see the small snowstorm scattered across the front of your shirt, but she sure did.
Why have the gods – most of whom were bearded, let’s face it – forsaken you??
Why do you get dandruff in your beard?
Beard dandruff, like the other kind, is usually the result of one of two conditions: dry, unhealthy skin, or a fungal infection.
Now, don’t freak out over the term “fungal infection.” The type of fungus that we’re talking about here, Malassezia globosa, lives on everyone’s skin. Its tendency is to grow in oily areas where you have a lot of sebaceous glands.
The fungus in question breaks down sebum, the oily substance produced by sebaceous glands, and in the process, leaves behind oleic acid.
It’s this substance, the oleic acid that is the real culprit when it comes to beard dandruff, because it irritates some people’s skin.
However, if you can see that the skin under your beard isn’t irritated or red, your beard dandruff may be due simply to having dry skin:
Dry skin under beard
Dandruff in beards is often the result of skin that gets so dry it flakes off and forms the dreaded dusting of skin-snow. This can result from using harsh soaps – which can even include regular body scrub – and failing to moisturize and condition your beard.
Other causes include cold, dry weather, or living in hot, humid climates.
Beard dandruff and fungal infections
Fungal infections from an overabundance of Malassezia globosa can easily occur underneath your beard. That’s due to the yeast that lives on your skin being protected from sunlight, which usually kills it off or at least checks its growth before it can get out of hand.
As your beard hair gets longer and thicker, it hides more of your skin, preventing exposure to sunlight.
If you suspect a fungal infection, the cure is simple: lose the beard.
Of course, that’s the nuclear option, isn’t it?
So instead, we’ll concentrate on helping you to develop a cleaning regimen that will keep your pussy tickler clean and shipshape, possessing a sheen and a glow that will dazzle, and keep your face free of Beard Flakes (the worst idea ever in the history of breakfast cereal names.)
How to get rid of beard dandruff
Beard dandruff treatment #1: Exfoliate
The first thing you’ll want to do if you start to notice some beard dandruff is to exfoliate your beard and the skin beneath. This might seem like a backwards approach, given that normally with most skin care regimens, cleansing comes first and exfoliating after.
But in this case, as we’ll explain, it makes more sense to exfoliate before getting in the shower.
The boar bristle beard brush is a must-have weapon of choice for the beardly fellow looking to keep his lumbersexual cred and remain flake-free.
The beard brush detangles your beard hair, reins in wandering wisps, distributes oils on your skin and hair follicles, and of course exfoliates your skin.
You’re likely to see some skin flakes as you go through this process, but that’s kind of the point: to bring them to the surface now rather than have them emerge at an inopportune time.
Amazon offers a variety of beard brush choices in all price ranges, but one of our favorites is the Every Man Jack cruelty-free beard brush for its simplicity and form.
If you want to go a little more fancy-shmancy, check out the IDALIO Beard Brush set. It’s an attractive, matte-black or stainless kit with brush, comb, scissors and more.
Beard dandruff treatment #3: Cleanse your beard
Next, it’s time to jump in the shower and deploy a cleanser to scrub your beard and the skin beneath it. Try to find a cleanser containing lactic acid as it helps to dissolve dead skin, acting as a less-aggressive second phase of the exfoliating project.
You use the brush first to lift up all the flaking skin from your face, then the cleanser afterward to dissolve any that’s left behind. The result is your face is left with the healthiest skin cells beneath your beard.
Beard dandruff treatment #3: cleanser
A couple of favorites are Suavecito brand beard cleanser, which cuts through the dead skin and build-up of skin oils, but doesn’t leave your beard dry afterward. Another fine choice is the Viking Revolution line of beard care products, with activated charcoal.
Can I use Head & Shoulders on my beard?
It’s probably best to work toward having a regimen that will prevent beard dandruff in the first place, but if it gets really bad, occasionally busting out the good old Head & Shoulders is okay.
Keep in mind, this type of shampoo isn’t designed for use on your face, so it shouldn’t be your daily go-to for beard maintenance by any means. It will undoubtedly dry your beard hair as well as the skin beneath, so make sure you minimize your use of it.
However, H&S does contain pyrithione zinc, which combats the fungi and bacteria that cause dandruff and treats mild cases of seborrhoeic dermatitis, another common cause of dandruff.
Moisturize with a beard-specific oil
Any specimen of manly, bearded glory knows of course what an impossible challenge it is to use standard skin cream when you’re trying to squoosh it in among your bristles. What you’re going to need there, to top off your Duck Dynastyling regimen is some beard oil.
Start by applying the steps we’ve talked about here: the reason you develop beard dandruff isn’t directly because of your beard.
It’s because the beard covers up the skin beneath, preventing it from being exposed to the sun and air and all the self-cleaning activities that those do for the unbearded face.
So that means when you grab some beard oil – try some Cremo Forest Blend for starters, a really popular brand with great reviews.
It’s inexpensive, made with natural jojoba and avocado oils, and has a great but not overpowering forest smell – and work it into your beard with the aim of moisturizing your face beneath. Along the way of course, the oil will help soften your beard and smooth out the hair. Another frequent comment from users of Cremo is that it works great on beardie newbies, softening the
Beard dandruff treatment: Can you put oil on a dry beard?
The tried and true method of getting the most out of your beard oil treatment is to start off with a smallish amount in the center of your cupped palm (until you get used to how much you need depending on the degree of your beardliness).
Rub it together between your hands to warm it up.
Then, starting beneath your chin at the base of your beard, slide your hands up and through to your cheeks. Repeat and work the oil well into your beard so that you can feel it on your skin, making sure that it’s well-distributed throughout your mighty mane.
Do make sure your face and beard are dry and cleanbefore using a beard oil, so as to get the maximum effect from it as well as making sure you aren’t just trapping dead skin and sebaceous oils onto your derma, which would only make the problem worse.
Conclusions: How to get rid of beard dandruff
Beardliness is indeed next to godliness. But that’s no reason you’ve got to suffer like the gods – or make the girls you’re chatting up suffer with revulsion over beard dandruff. No matter how long or manly your beard gets, these tips should help.
That said, if you do follow these steps and still find you’ve got beard dandruff, be sure to see a dermatologist.
Enjoy your new freedom from beard dandruff, gentlemen – just as your ladies will!