How to Fix Itchy Beard Dandruff and Alleviate Dry, Irritated Skin


Even if you’re not washing your beard, showering can still leave your skin dry. This is where post-shower hydration becomes essential. And when it comes to hydrating the skin beneath your beard, nothing beats Beard Oil.

Beard oils act as a leave-in conditioner for your beard and, more importantly, the skin beneath it. Essentially, it helps replicate any sebum lost when washing, hydrates and softens the skin and hair, and makes your beard smell amazing. You can learn more about beard oil by reading our blog, What Beard Oil Does.



How to Keep the Skin Under Your Beard Healthy

Step 1 – Keep the skin clean

Beards tend to attract dirt and dust during the day. As such, washing your face as well as the beard at least twice a day will help get rid of excess oil and dirt, which prevents the pores from clogging and causing dandruff. 

Step 2 – Shower after working out

Dirt, sweat as well as oil get trapped in the beard. If you are very active, ensure that you take a shower once you are done with your activities. This gets rid of bacteria that may cause dandruff and maintains the softness as well as the volume of your beard. 

Step 3 – Use a beard comb

Whenever you clean your face, ensure that you run a comb through your beard. This exfoliates the skin and helps get rid of knots and tangles that may have formed. 

Step 4 – Use a beard moisturizer

Part of maintaining healthy and flake-free skin is using a moisturizer every day. This keeps the skin around the beard as well as the one underneath from getting dry and flaky and maintains a luscious appearance. 

Step 5 – Exfoliate the skin

Beard dandruff is usually a result of excess dead skin. Exfoliating at least once a week helps remove dead skin that may have built up, which prevents dandruff from forming. 

Step 6 – Allow the skin to breath 

Garments like hats and balaclavas tend to hold in moisture and heat, which creates a conducive environment for dandruff to thrive. Wearing loose-fitting clothes and using natural fiber bedding will help keep your skin supple and moisturized, which will keep your beard look healthy and fabulous. 

Preventing Beard Dandruff

Choose a shampoo. There are many dandruff shampoos on the market claiming to solve your dandruff problems. Look for one that contains the active ingredient 1% ketoconazole.

Ketoconazole is an antifungal medication that helps to kill fungus and yeast and prevent them from growing back. You can find it over-the-counter, but strong doses of the shampoo may require a prescription from your doctor.

How to Prevent Beardruff from Coming Back

It’s one thing to get rid of beard dandruff, but preventing beardruff from recurring is equally important. The most effective way to prevent beardruff from coming back is by adhering to your grooming routine. Wash and moisturize your beard consistently.

You’ll need to keep tabs on the feel of your skin. Check to see if it’s dry and itchy, or is well-moisturized and supple. If it feels too dry, you could use a few more drops of beard oil. You’ll be particularly more vulnerable when the weather is cold and dry. If necessary, use a stronger moisturizer for such weather conditions.

Additionally, reduce the frequency of using medicated products such as shampoos once you’ve been able to effectively eliminate beardruff. Cut down use to twice a week, at the most.

Here are the most effective ways to prevent beardruff from coming back.

Manage Your Stress Levels

You can’t eliminate stress from your world. Be that as it may, lowering your stress levels will improve your beard, skin, and hair quality tremendously. An increase in levels of stress makes you more susceptible to instances of beardruff.

One of the best ways to manage stress is by getting quality sleep consistently. This will give you the energy to function at your best.

Keep a Healthy Diet

There’s a chain of health benefits you get from eating a well-balanced diet. Besides preventing diseases and infection, a good diet certainly delivers healthy skin that’s well-moisturized.

A proper diet consisting of the appropriate minerals and vitamins nourishes the skin and keeps it from drying.

Foods that are rich in Vitamins A, C, and E are particularly important for the maintenance of healthy skin and beards. That includes foods such as dairy products, eggs, fish, liver, and sweet potatoes that repair skin and stimulate hair growth.

Moreover, Vitamin C and E encourage the production of sebum oil that keeps your skin hydrated. Foods that have these vitamins in abundance include citrus fruits, peppers, blackcurrants, wheat germ oil, peanuts, soyabean oil, sunflower, pumpkins, strawberries, and many more.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is a vital component for a healthy body and a vibrant lifestyle. When you exercise, you improve the health of your skin and beard. And this is how:

  • Working out is a proven stress reliever. Stress can cause beardruff and dry skin.
  • Exercising balances your hormones to function at the optimum. That causes efficient skin regeneration and also boosts the production of sebum oil that hydrates the skin.
  • Exercising enhances effective blood flow to the vessels and skin. This causes the effective distribution of nutrients to the skin making the skin, hair, and beard healthier.

Use a Lactic-Acid Cleanser

Unlike synthetic acids, lactic acid is a natural acid that is safe to use on your beard. It’s a powerful exfoliation agent that’s derived from milk, vegetables, and fruits. It’s a common component in numerous OVC products such as anti-aging creams.

As an exfoliation agent, lactic acid is gentle and works by eliminating dead cells on your skin. Its action is unlike other harsh chemicals such as glycolic acid that’s found in some chemical peels. 

Lactic acid has a further advantage in hydrating the skin.

To use lactic acid as an exfoliation agent, apply and lather it up in your beard, then wash it off. It effectively eliminates flaky dry skin and effectively maintains you from beardruff.

Use Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone creams can be purchased over the counter and are effective against itchiness and reddening of the skin.

Apply by rubbing the cream into the affected parts at least twice a day. It packs a punch against itchiness and discomfort of the skin. Moreover, it invigorates the skin and keeps the rest of the skin from the infection that’s causing itchiness.

Only move to a more potent cream if it fails but be careful to consult your dermatologist before doing so.

Seek Treatment from a Dermatologist

If the beardruff persists despite the outlined interventions see a specialist who’ll recommend more appropriate treatment options.

A dermatologist will be in a position to diagnose if there’s an underlying cause to your condition and prescribe the best way to manage the condition. Early diagnosis of conditions is an efficient way to manage symptoms that may bring about adverse effects in the future.

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How do you treat beard dandruff?

To get rid of beard dandruff, follow these steps:

  1. Clean facial hair thoroughly with a natural beard wash or medicated shampoo, depending on the cause of beard dandruff.
  2. Pat dry with a towel.
  3. Apply a conditioner such as beard oil or beard balm.
  4. Style your beard with a beard brush or beard comb.

Exfoliate your Skin

When growing a beard, you should exfoliate two or three times weekly.  Regular exfoliation of the skin removes dead skin cells, oil buildup, and unclogs pores.  

Beard Conditioners

When applied daily, a beard conditioner will nourish and moisturize your skin.

There are many types of beard conditioners available.  Common beard conditioners include beard balm, beard oil, beard butter, and beard jelly.  Most beard conditioners rely on common base ingredients: carrier oils and essential oils.

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Men experiencing beard dandruff as a result of seborrheic dermatitis should consider using an anti-dandruff shampoo. Anti-dandruff shampoos are specially formulated with active ingredients such as ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or pyrithione zinc to kill the fungal growth.

Currently, there are a limited number of anti-dandruff shampoos formulated for facial hair use. Therefore, you may need to use a shampoo formulated for top-of-head use on your beard.

Lactic Acid

A lactic acid cleanser will help to remove dead skin cells and flakes from your beard.  Urea, lactic acid, and propylene glycol were effective in treating seborrheic dermatitis over a four-week study (source).

Allergic contact dermatitis or dandruff from beard care products

Some may experience an allergic reaction when applying a beard care product.  Consider the following:

Essential Oils

Essential oils are potent.  Some essential oils will cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin.  Just because an essential oil is derived from natural sources doesn’t make it safer.  Lastly, essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil before application.   

Carrier Oils

Carrier oil is a common ingredient found in many beard conditioners.  Derived from plants, seeds, or trees, each carrier oil has different properties and comedogenic ratings.  Should you have oily skin, avoid applying carrier oils with a high comedogenic rating (i.e., coconut oil).  Consider beard conditioners with a lower comedogenic rating, such as argan oil or grapeseed oil.

Synthetic Ingredients

Synthetic oils such as silicone may worsen beard dandruff as it is difficult to wash off.  Only use a beard conditioner that discloses all the ingredients and is made by a reputable brand.

Patch Test

Should you have sensitive skin, always conduct a patch test before using any new grooming product.  Consider seeking medical advice from your family physician or dermatologist if you have additional questions.

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Natural Ways to Get Rid of Beard Dandruff

Beard dandruff can be annoying, especially if you have no idea what is causing yours. Luckily, there are some natural home remedies that you can incorporate in your beard grooming routine to get rid of dry, itchy, and flaky skin. 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of those products that has so many uses and that includes fighting dandruff. It works as a mild exfoliating agent that helps to get rid of any dead skin on the beard. 

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is found in several beards, shaving as well as skin products. It is a soothing, healing agent that is also used to reduce skin dryness and itching. 

Aloe vera is packed with minerals and vitamins that help maintain the natural skin tone. 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a carrier oil that is found in beard oil and is part of many natural remedies, including for beard care. It is an antifungal agent that can also be used to smooth and heal damaged skin as well as hair. 

Fish Oil Supplements

Fish oil supplements are found in a majority of products. Omega 3 oils found in oily fish like sebum, in particular, can work on your beard when it comes to getting rid of beard dandruff. 

This is because such oils reduce inflammation and help repair damaged skin while getting rid of flaky skin on your beard. 


The natural acids found in lemons help to relieve flaky skin. Just mix lemon juice, some honey, and water and apply on your beard. 


You are aware of all the benefits of drinking enough water every day. Drinking several glasses of water not only prevents dehydration but is important in flushing out toxins that could cause beard dandruff. 


Beard dandruff can be intolerable at times, which is why aspirin is included as a remedy. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is an important ingredient in a majority of anti-dandruff shampoos. 

Breaking it Down: A Sample Routine

Simply following a regular grooming routine is an effective way to prevent beard dandruff while ridding yourself of those nasty white flakes. Here’s a sample routine that brings together most of the points we’ve covered above to create a dandruff-killing plan:

  • If you have time, exfoliate the skin to get the dirt, debris, and dandruff flakes out of it. Exfoliation will also rid your beard of fungus and dead skin cells.
  • Clean your beard with a shampoo that’s gentle enough that it won’t irritate or dry out the skin.
  • Towel dry your beard after you’re finished washing it and are out of the shower. Be gentle and don’t apply too much pressure when using a towel. And, remember, rinse your beard with lukewarm – not hot – water, that will help you maintain your beard as well.
  • Apply beard oil and massage it to the roots of your beard hair follicles. It’s OK to apply beard oil every day – and even twice a day if you feel it’s necessary. You may want to use beard balm instead of oil on a long beard, but there’s no need to rub balm into the roots of your hair as you would with beard oil.
  • Use a beard brush to groom your beard. We recommend using a brush that has boar’s hair bristles. Brushing your beard makes it look fuller, denser, and well-styled, while also evenly distributing beard oil (and your skin’s natural oils) throughout your beard.
  • You may want to use a beard comb before you brush it. Using a comb with narrow teeth will help lift out any remaining dandruff flakes.

How To Get Rid Of Beard Dandruff

Dry skin and fungal infections go hand in hand and often your genes have a lot to answer for! If you have excellent hair heritage and have always been able to maintain a dense growth of facial mane without dehydration or dandruff, then indeed you are exceptionally lucky. However, this won’t apply to the majority of bearded guys, for whom the normal trials and tribulations of facial growth include dryness, prickly bristles and an uncomfortable, rough texture. The best way to stop problems occurring before they start is to have a habitually healthy, daily routine, looking after yourself and your beard. Not only will this stave off all kinds of problems – split ends, dandruff, brittleness, entanglement and hair loss – but will ensure your pride and joy can be admired by all.

Regardless of why you might be experiencing an onset of dastardly dandruff, the restorative remedies are more or less universal, involving a routine of exfoliation, cleansing, and moisturizing.


  • Exfoliate: This is the process by which you remove old, dead skin cells which are at the heart of the dandruff problem. Your key tool for this is a good quality beard brush which will eliminate the skin flakes and disburse both natural and added oils evenly throughout your beard. Soft bristles will allow you to brush right to the root of the problem – your skin –  and also help to keep your beard soft and smooth.

  Cleanse: You might be tempted to reach for a pop

  • Cleanse: You might be tempted to reach for a popular dandruff shampoo. It’d make sense, right? NO, DON’T DO IT! The chemicals contained in most scalp shampoos really aren’t suitable for your tender face and can actually exacerbate the problems you’re having! Instead invest in (or continue with) a good quality, chemical-free shampoo or beard wash designed specifically for those facial hairs and skin. Wash your beard while showering to be sure to remove any detritus with the constant flow of water (not too hot or more dryness will occur) and make sure the shampoo reaches right down to your skin, using a gentle massaging action. Once rinsed, dab your beard dry without rubbing.

  • Moisturize: Here’s where beard oil becomes your best friend. It’s easy to think this is primarily for the hair but its real benefit is to help condition the skin by acting as a calming moisturizer, keeping it healthily hydrated and kicking those dandruff flakes into touch. Although the health benefits are the main reason for its use, beard oil also plays an important part in grooming for a soft, smooth and neat experience. Apply the oil immediately after the cleansing and drying routine using your fingers to massage down to the skin, and then spread lightly throughout your beard. A brush will help to disperse it evenly. It’s better to err on the side of caution and use just a couple of drops at first; you can always add a little more if it hasn’t reached the full scope of those facial whiskers!

  Alternative Tips: You have good reason to be ext

  • Alternative Tips: You have good reason to be extra fussy about the elements you let your beard come into contact with. Alternatives can include products containing aloe vera, tea tree oil and fish oils which all have their benefits, as can argan oil if you are an acne suffer. Here at Real Bearded Men we only use the finest quality, natural ingredients, and alongside our oils and washes we recommend our Old Havana Beard Balm which contains all the right things to calm the skin and help fight dandruff.

  Medical treatment may be required if, after seve

  • Medical treatment may be required if, after several weeks, your symptoms haven’t begun to be resolved. In this case it’s possible you have a more severe fungal infection and a visit to your doctor will confirm a diagnosis, and you may be prescribed a specialist shampoo or a course of topical steroid cream.




It takes some work to get rid of dry and dead skin cells shedding off to your beard and clothes, but in the end, it will be worth it.

To quickly recap, you can do the following to reduce beard dandruff naturally:

  1. Wash 2-3 times per week with beard shampoo.
  2. Apply jojoba or coconut oil-based beard oil right after to seal in moisture.
  3. Exfoliate the skin once a week with scrub, and use beard brush daily.
  4. Apply beard balm and use the DIY beardruff remedy if necessary.
  5. Treat dandruff from the inside with proper hydration and nutrition.
  6. If all else fails and you still see beard flakes, a check-up with a dermatologist might be needed.

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1. Rubenstein R, Malerich S. Malassezia (Pityrosporum) Folliculitis. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(3):37-41. 2. Hugo P. Ketocazole as an adjunct to finasteride in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men. Med Hypotheses. 2004;62(1):112-115.


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