Learn what’s causing your “beardruff” and how to get rid of this hassle.
The day finally came when you decided to grow a beard. You pictured that beard growing thick, luscious, and healthy just how it looks like in the photos of highly-fashionable men. But instead, all you got is beard itch and a beard that looked rough and dry. What’s worse of all, the dry and flaky skin under your beard has now turned into beard dandruff, also known as “beardruff.”
Even if you got beardruff, there’s no need to worry.
You can still grow that perfectly healthy-looking beard as you had imagined. By following this ultimate guide, tackling your dry skin under beard and beard dandruff will be an easy fix.
What Actually Causes Beard Dandruff?
To know what causes dry skin under the beard and how it leads to beard dandruff, you must first understand how the skin works on keeping itself moisturized.
Underneath the beard-covered skin is sebaceous glands (oil glands) attached to the hair follicles. These glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which goes to the skin surface through the hair shaft. This process helps keep your facial skin and beard moisturized.
It’s a common misconception that the hair acts as a wick that draws sebum away from the sebaceous glands and skin which leads to dry skin. That’s not true at all. As a matter of fact, it’s only when the skin is saturated with oil, then will it spread to the hair as it comes into contact with the skin. This means that neither the beard itself nor its length is what’s causing skin dryness and flaking.
Since hair can only pick up oil from an already oil-drenched skin surface, this is no reason for having dry skin under the beard. So if that’s not the case, then what causes dry skin under beard? Take a look at these following factors:
Long hot showers
Taking a long hot shower after an exhausting day can give your body the much-needed relaxation it deserves. But it can also cause the skin under your beard to feel rougher afterward because hot water strips away your skin’s natural oils, leaving you with dry skin.
Weather (lack of humidity)
Chilly weather and lack of humidity can cause dry skin under your beard. With cold air, your skin can’t hold as much moisture as it usually could. Plus, lack of humidity in the air makes moisture evaporate from the skin’s uppermost layers, leaving it dry and chapped.
Harsh soaps and facial wash
Most facial soaps and cleansers are formulated with detergents and alkaline-based ingredients that remove oil and dirt from the skin. In effect, washing your face with these leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean.
A squeaky clean skin may sound good, but it’s actually detrimental to your skin.
Washing your face with alkaline-based soaps and cleansers tend to strip away your skin’s natural oils, that’s why you get that squeaky clean feeling after. When done excessively, it increases your skin’s pH level to be more alkaline. This leads to dryness, irritation, or other worse skin conditions.
With age, you become more prone to dry skin. Your skin tends to have decreased sebum production as you get older, resulting in dryness. However, this often only happens for men in their 80s so more often than not, this is not the real cause of the dry skin under your beard.
Lack of exfoliation/skincare
Your beard tends to trap oil and dirt that leaves the skin underneath with clogged pores and a build-up of dead skin cells. These impurities are harder to properly clean and exfoliate, especially with a beard getting in the way, leaving you with dry skin underneath.
Most people’s facial skin contains Malassezia, a type of fungus that grows in the sebaceous glands, which helps break down the skin’s natural oils. This is usually not a problem except when these fungi grow too quickly. When that happens, they cause beard itch and irritate the skin under the beard leading to fungal infection. This infection will manifest itself as dry skin and beard dandruff.
To make matters worse, you must resist the urge to scratch it. Scratching your already dry and irritated skin may result in cuts and wounds, which only worsens the infection.
How To Get Rid Of Beard Dandruff
Now you’ve understood how your oil glands and hair follicles work together in keeping the skin moisturized. But more importantly, you’ve finally learned what causes dry skin under your beard. Now that you’ve identified them, you can get rid of beard dandruff once and for all if you follow these few simple steps:
Step 1: Use lukewarm water and a gentle facial cleanser
Since hot water strips off your skin’s natural oils, it’s best to wash your face with lukewarm water because it’s just warm enough to cleanse the skin without drying it up. All you have to do to test if the water is lukewarm, is to run it on your wrist and see if it feels just slightly warmer than your body temperature. If it’s too hot for you to hold your wrist under it for more than a few seconds, then it’s definitely too hot for your face.
Together with lukewarm water, use a gentle and low pH facial cleanser to wash your face thoroughly, especially on the bearded area. Use your fingers to soap up the suds and really reach in under the beard to gently massage the lather into the skin. Low pH facial cleansers helps maintain your skin’s natural barrier. Thus, it won’t leave your skin with that dreaded squeaky clean feeling.
Step 2: Exfoliate 1-3 times a week
Our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells everyday, but your beard tends to block their way out, making them stay longer on your face. This eventually results in clogged pores, dry skin, and beard dandruff. So to avoid this, exfoliation is essential for the skin under your beard.
However, you don’t need to do it daily because it could lead to over-exfoliation, which can cause more dry skin and flakiness. Thus, leading you down a never-ending loop. You only need to exfoliate at a maximum of 3 times a week.
There are two types of exfoliators: physical and chemical.
- Physical exfoliators such as facial scrubs contain tiny bits that scrub against your skin to remove dead skin cells.
- Chemical exfoliators contain a small dose of acids such as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA).
You can use any of the two types, but chemical exfoliators tend to be more gentle. AHAs focus on the skin’s top layer, making it ideal for dry and sensitive skin. BHAs go deeper into the skin to clear the pores, which is great for acne-prone and oily skin.
Regardless, you have to reach into your glorious beard and make sure you exfoliate the skin underneath it.
Step 3: Moisturize
After cleansing and exfoliating, use a moisturizer to replenish and relieve dry skin under your beard. Moisturizers rehydrate dry skin by locking in water in the skin’s outermost layer. They also protect the skin from harsh outside elements to prevent further dryness.
For best results, use a moisturizer containing emollients and humectants. Emollients such as jojoba oil and shea butter lubricate the skin, making it soft and smooth. Humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid hold water into the skin, keeping it hydrated.
Step 4: Beard Oil or Beard Balm (Optional)
To add extra moisturization to your beard-covered skin, you can apply beard oil or beard balm on it. Beard oil and beard balm both nourish your beard and the skin underneath, making your beard look healthy and luscious.
These oils and balms serve as moisturizers that go straight to the hair follicle and protects hair from damage. Because of this moisturizing effect, the skin becomes hydrated and flake-free. This effect also prevents beard itch and skin irritation.
Beard oils and beard balms also make your beards more manageable for easy grooming. They make your beard look smooth and shiny as well.
If All Else Fails, What Next?
The above solutions work for most causes of dry skin, but after following these steps, you still find yourself cursed with the recurring dreaded itch and breadruff then it may be caused by a fungal infection. Hence these tips may only help soothe dry skin but will not totally heal it.
If that’s the case, you can try using dandruff shampoo for your beard dandruff, but be cautious about using it. Dandruff shampoo contains harsh ingredients that may dry out more of your already dry skin. If you decide to wash your beard with it, make you moisturize afterward. Additionally, if dandruff shampoo tends to contain allergens, so if you have sensitive skin, it’s better to give this step a miss altogether.
Just to be sure, consult a dermatologist.
After all, your dry skin and beard dandruff may not be just a sign of a simple fungal infection, but rather a symptom of a totally different skin condition.
With proper grooming and skincare routine, beard dandruff and dry skin under the beard can now be a thing of the past. Remember, the skin under your beard is as important as the skin on the other parts of your face, so treat it with utmost care.
To prevent breadruff from making a reappearance and to keep your beard looking glorious, you still need to continue a proper skincare routine. At the end of the day, an ounce of prevention is still much better than a pound of cure.