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Flakey Beard - How to Stop Winter Beard Dandruff

  • 6 min read

In our last post we discussed winter beard itch and how to stop it. In this post we’re tackling a topic that can go hand in hand with beard itch, the dreaded beard dandruff aka “bearduff.” We’ll talk about common winter beard dandruff causes and how to fix your flakey beard. But before we jump into this seasonal annoyance, let’s quickly recap the general causes of beard dandruff.

If you are new to beard growth, flakes falling from your beard is a demoralizing sight. If you fall into this category, resist the urge to shave your beard! Beard flakes are not uncommon and most causes can be easily treated with proper beard grooming.


Beard flakes, beard dandruff, beardruff are all terms used to describe dead skin cells trapped in and falling from your beard. While there are a number of known beard dandruff causes, there are still some mysteries out there. It's important to note that not all beard dandruff is the same, so in this post we'll cover the three most common causes of beard dandruff and the primary cause of seasonal beardruff.


Beard Dandruff Cause #1 – Dry Skin


One of the most common causes of beard flakes is dry skin. We are constantly shedding dead skin cells. Beardruff occurs when that shedding accelerates due to dry skin. Bearduff associated with dry skin tends to be smaller, dry flakes.

Dry skin is a leading cause of beardruff and flakey beard
Beard Dandruff Cause #2 – Seborrheic Dermatitis


Seborrheic dermatitis is another common cause of dandruff, be it in your beard or elsewhere. It is a rash that normally causes red, scaly, greasy skin. It can occur anywhere on the body where the skin has oil glands. If it occurs on the scalp or beneath your beard, dandruff is soon to follow. While scientists don’t know exactly what causes seborrheic dermatitis, certain factors play a role. One of the most common is an overgrowth of malassezia, which is a type of yeast present on everyone’s skin. As we learn more about the skin’s microbiome, it is becoming more apparent that maintaining your skin’s barrier function and supporting your skin’s microbiome is a key component to preventing a number of skin conditions. This is why all of our products are pH-focused and why we incorporated probiotics into our formulations to help maintain your skin’s microbiome and support healthy barrier function.
Beard Dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis tends to be larger and oilier than dry skin induced flakes

Seb Derm flareups are also associated with stress, autoimmune disorders and hormones, including testosterone therapy.  

Dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis tends to be larger and oilier than dry skin induced flakes. You might also notice yellow crust in the affected areas.


Beard Dandruff Cause #3 – Sensitivity to beard care and skincare products

Otherwise known as contact dermatitis, this occurs when your body is sensitive to specific ingredients in grooming products. This reaction results in red, itchy, scaly and flaky skin. If you just started using a new grooming product and notice flakes, contact dermatitis might be the culprit. Fragrance chemicals are a primary cause of contact dermatitis so if you have sensitive skin, always look for fragrance free beard grooming products.


Now that we’ve covered three of the most common causes of beard dandruff, let’s talk about winter beard flakes.

 

Why Do I Get Bearduff in the Winter?

When the temperature drops, so does the humidity. This decrease in humidity (both indoors and out) leads to dry skin. If left untreated, this itchy, dry skin can start producing those annoying beard flakes.


How do I stop beard dandruff?

Since there is not one single cause of beard dandruff, the best defense against beardruff is establishing the right grooming routine with the right products for you. In severe cases, medication may be required. But before considering prescription drugs, let’s square away the beard care fundamentals.

Use the right beard + face wash, the right way

First, you need to use the right face + beard wash. Harsh soaps and cleansers will overstrip your face and beard leading to skin dryness and irritation. This opens the door to dry skin induced beard flakes. Harsh cleansers can also disrupt your skin’s pH and have a negative effect on the beneficial bacteria and microbes that are essential for healthy skin function. Given recent advancements in our understanding of the important role microbes play in beard and skin health, we reformulated our skincare + beard care to include beneficial probiotic ingredients.

Use a beard and face wash to help treat beard dandruff

Time & Temperature

When you wash your face, use lukewarm water. Hot water removes more of the beneficial oils we want to keep on the face and beard. When it comes to frequency, most guys only need to lather up their face once per day. If you only wash once per day, we recommend washing your face at night to remove the day’s build up. In the morning, simply rinse your face and beard with water before applying your daily facial moisturizer.

When it comes to sudsing up your beard, we recommend washing your beard 1-2 times per week. Now, if you are experiencing beardruff, washing your beard when the flakes first appear could be beneficial but it depends on the underlying cause of your beard dandruff. Adding a Face + Beard Charcoal Scrub to your beard grooming routine will help remove excess dead skin cells and can help stop beardruff before it starts.

Use a fragrance-free Face + Beard Moisturizer

Regardless of how gentle the cleanser is, some skin drying will occur. It is important to always apply a daily facial moisturizer after towel drying. Ideally, you want to moisturize within two minutes of getting out of the shower. We designed HYDRATE: Daily Probiotic Facial + Beard Moisturizer to address the most common causes of dryness and beardruff. BUT, as with any skincare product, read the ingredient label before applying. Aloe Vera is the top ingredient in HYDRATE, which is awesome for most people…unless you’re allergic to it! We don’t want any contact dermatitis, after all. Like CLEANSE, HYDRATE includes probiotics to help support your skin’s microbiome and healthy barrier function.


This simple two-step skincare routine helps to eliminate just about all beard growing issues.

Hydrate Daily Facial moisturizer and beard moisturizer for men
Now that we’ve covered the beard care + skincare routine, here are two additional things you can do to treat winter beardruff

Add a Face + Beard Oil or Beard Balm

While we’re confident a skincare routine incorporating a high quality probiotic cleanser and moisturizer like CLEANSE + HYDRATE will address most causes of beardruff, if seasonal beardruff is still causing you problems, adding a beard oil or beard balm to your beard grooming routine might just be the extra hydrating firepower you need to subdue that dry, flakey skin. Here’s why:

Moisturizer ingredients fall into three categories: humectants, emollients and occlusives.

Humectants are key in maintaining hydration. Humectants attract and chemically bind water in the skin. Because of this, they have the ability to temporarily plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid is an excellent humectant that can bind 1,000x its own weight in water, which is why it is one of our favorite skincare ingredients that we use throughout our skincare and beard care line.

Emollients act by replacing skin lipids and filling in gaps between skin cells. They can help enhance skin barrier function which helps reduce transepidermal water loss.

Occlusives create a barrier over the skin and help prevent water loss at the surface. Think of them as a temporary sealant. Oils, shea butter and beeswax are all examples of occlusive ingredients. Since occlusives often have a greasy feel and shiny finish, they are not used in high concentrations in most facial moisturizers.

Yet in super dry environments or in the depths of a harsh winter, adding an occlusive rich product to your routine might just do the trick. We recommend adding either a Face + Beard Oil like SOFTEN to your routine or a hydrating beard balm like GROOM. Applied after moisturizing, both of these occlusive products will add an additional layer of moisture protection to your skin and beard thus reducing beardruff.

Add Humidity
If you spend a lot of time indoors, using a humidifier will add moisture to the air and subsequently reduce the amount of moisturizer that is pulled from your skin and beard. This will help reduce skin dryness and subsequently beard flakes.

We hope this helps! The information provided in this blog post is intended to be fun and educational. It is not intended to replace medical advice. While less common, there are numerous other causes of beard dandruff to include allergic reactions, infections, certain medications and applying irritants to your face (fragrances are irritants which is why we don’t use them in our products) to name a few. If your beard dandruff worsens or is associated with other symptoms, contact your medical provider.

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Certified B Corp men's skincare products and beard care products
stubble + ‘stache is a Certified B-Corp™ and service disabled veteran owned small business. All of our packaging is made from recycled plastic and with each order, we remove five plastic bottles from the ocean. While our products are formulated with facial hair in mind, our products can be used by all, regardless of gender or beard status. Proudly made in the USA with ingredients responsibly sourced from some of the most exotic places on earth.

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