How to End Your Battle with Beard Dandruff [+DIY treatment]

Growing a beard? We’re proud of you.

It looks great on you. It makes you look at least 20% wiser, and we’ll be damned if beard dandruff is going to stop that.

Beard dandruff might be the burden of the grizzly-faced man, but if you’re experiencing a white Christmas in July every time you run your hands through that glorious face mane, you don’t need to go it alone. We’re here for you.

In this article, we’re going to give you the weapons and tools you need to launch your assault against beard dandruff, stopping it in its tracks. Read on to find out more.

What is beard dandruff?

It’s pretty gross. Beard dandruff is the tiny flakes of dead skin cells that collect in your beard, and cascade down that brand-new black t-shirt of yours to create some kind of Christmas morning diorama. In science circles, this is known as seborrheic dermatitis. Sounds scary.

This dead skin beneath your facial hair can quickly ruin the confidence boost your beard has given you, and the sight of beard dandruff alone can have some men heading for the beard trimmer.

What causes beard dandruff?

There are a few different causes of the dreaded beard dandruff. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Dry skin

No prizes for guessing this one – dry skin can cause beard dandruff. But how we get that dry skin with a beard compared to our clean-shaven counterparts is a little different.

Your beard hairs grow from hair follicles in the skin underneath your face.

That hair is kept soft and hydrated by an oil secreted from the sebaceous glands known as sebum oil. At the start of your beard-growing journey, those glands have enough sebum to go around. But as it gets longer, sebum slowly becomes in short supply.

The result?

Your beard hairs get dry. They get coarse. And they rub against the skin underneath them.

In a matter of days, you can go from “man, my beard if feeling a bit dry”, to “Holy hell where has this snow storm come from.”

2. Tiny creepy microorganisms

This is also quite gross to picture, but stay with us – you need to hear it.

Right now, in your beard, there are tiny microorganisms, laying plans to wreak havoc on your glorious beard growth. The most common of these is called Malassezia. It’s a type of yeast, and it feeds on the sebum your hair follicles produce.

And stealing your sebum isn’t enough for Malassezia. As it eats, it expels something called oleic acid, which sparks an inflammatory response on your face. To try and combat this, your skin cells regenerate and in combination with you getting itchy, these flake off. Bingo – one big, flaky beard.

3. Cheap, harsh beard care products (and products not meant for your beard)

As producers of beard care products, here’s a term our chemists know all too well – contact dermatitis.

Sometimes, your skin just won’t like the products you put on it. Thanks, skin.

Other times, you’ll use cheap beard care products that are either made with low-quality, harsh ingredients, or are rushed through production and contain beyond-safe levels of normally fine ingredients. These can irritate skin.

In both instances, your skin will let you know about it. You guessed it – inflammation. Redness, soreness, itching, and finally, flaky skin.

4. Touching it too much

It sucks, because stroking your beard makes you look wise as hell. I’m doing it right now as I write this article.

However, touching your beard removes oils from skin and beard. It not only causes beard dandruff – it can make it worse.

Will beard dandruff go away if I shave?

Yes it will. When you cut your beard, your follicles will once again have enough sebum to go around and keep your skin and hair hydrated – but you look just too good with that beard to give up without a fight.

There are a few simple steps you can take each day to treat beard dandruff without picking up the beard trimmer. Let’s take a look.

How to get rid of and prevent beard dandruff

Step away from the beard trimmer, and listen up. Here’s how to cure and prevent beard dandruff for good in just a few minutes each day.

1. Wash that facial hair on the regular

The first and most important step to curing beard dandruff is keeping your beard clean. Using a good beard shampoo will strip dirt away from your face and skin beneath, without drying it out.

When in the shower, be sure to keep an eye on the temperature of the water. We’re not saying take a cold shower (unless you’re into Win Hof, in which case you’re more man than us, well done), but make sure it isn’t too hot.

For the same reason you should only blow-dry your beard hair on a cold setting, hot water can also dry out your skin.

2. Use a beard brush once a day

A good beard brush is a tool that should be found in any bearded man’s wash kit. Not only can it help to soften and tame your beard hairs, which in turn can stop them damaging your skin when they rub against it, a beard brush will also work as a powerful exfoliator.

By removing dirt and dead skin cells from an otherwise hard to reach location, a beard brush will stop your pores from getting clogged, reducing inflammation.

If you’ve yet to pick up a beard brush, look out for one with boar bristles

3. Apply a quality beard oil after brushing and washing

Does beard oil help with beard dandruff? You betcha. Remember we talked about sebum oil earlier? Beard oil is the closest thing you can get to naturally-occurring sebum oil, the stuff your hair follicles produce to keep your beard hairs and skin hydrated.

After you’ve brushed and washed your beard, gently towel dry it – or use a hair dryer on a low heat setting.

Then, dispense a few drops of beard oil into your hands. Rub those hands together, and then evenly distribute the beard oil into that glorious facial hair of yours. A good beard oil should see an end to your beard dandruff within a matter of days.

Can I use anti-dandruff shampoo on my beard?

We’re speaking from experience here when we say please do not do this. Standard hair shampoos might clean dirt from your hair, but they also strip out moisture and natural oils.

Most scalps can handle this. Some start to get dandruff but generally cope. But your face is different.

Your facial skin is gentle and needs tender love and care. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo like Head and Shoulders and you’re only going to make the issue worse.

Products made to treat scalp dandruff won’t help your beard.

If you want to get rid of beard dandruff and keep it at bay, you need to opt for a specially-formulated shampoo. These are created with ingredients designed to clean your beard and skin underneath without drying them out and stripping away all of your natural oils. The result? Clean beard, dandruff-free.

DIY beard dandruff treatment

Store-bought oils not catching your eye? There’s something a little more custom you can take for a spin. Try out this home remedy, made with ingredients easily sourced from Amazon

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 30ml jojoba oil
  • 30ml argan oil
  • 60ml sweet almond oil
  • 2-5 drops essential oil for fragrance (optional)

And here’s what you need to do with them:

  1. Mix your jojoba oil and argan oil in a bowl.
  2. Add in 2-5 drops of an essential oil of your choosing. If you’re not precious about the scent, we’d recommend opting for an essential oil with natural anti-inflammatory properties, like lavender, chamomile and sandalwood.
  3. Mix that bowl one more time.
  4. Pour your newly-made DIY beard dandruff treatment into a container of your choosing – we’d recommend

Use your new beard dandruff treatment twice a day – once in the morning, and once shortly before you got to bed.

Alternatively – and brace yourself for the shameless product plug – you can try some of our beard oils. Made with 100% natural ingredients and formulated by our team of cosmetics professionals in the UK, our beard oils have everything you need to get rid of beard dandruff.

And they smell pretty great, too. Take them for a spin here. Or, if you don’t trust us, take a look at our list of Mission Beard-approved beard oils.

Alex Cutler
Alex is the owner and Editor in Chief of Mission Beard. When he's not researching articles or creating badass beard care products with the MB Crew, you'll find him exploring the great outdoors, training BJJ, or in the pub with a good pint.

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