Beard Dandruff 101 – Stop Those Flakes


Has that itchy white stuff, aka beard dandruff, been messing up your beard groove? Here’s how to get rid of it. Fast.

how to get rid of beard dandruff
If you’re dealing with beard dandruff, you’re not alone. More than half of all men with beards get it at one time or another. In fact, I’ve had several bouts over the past twenty years or so. After trying a bunch of different “cures” that didn’t work, I finally stumbled onto a great regimen for wiping it out.

So if beard dandruff has been a problem for you, fear not. My tried and true method for terminating it with extreme prejudice is right here, waiting for you. After I developed this approach a funny thing happened: I had far fewer beard dandruff outbreaks.

I realized that my regimen not only gets rid of dandruff fast, but also keeps it from reappearing. My hope is that you will use these dandruff fighting tips to eliminate your own white flakes.

What’s causing your beard dandruff?

There are many factors that might cause dandruff in your beard. You’d need a range of medical tests to determine the exact reason it’s happening to you. But usually it results from one or more of these factors: stress, dry skin, fungal spores, and/or yeast.

Yes, I said yeast. The Pityrosporum Ovale brand of yeast is one that lives on human skin and causes it to flake off. One reason yeast forms under beards (and scalp hair) is because the hair protects the yeast from ultraviolet light, which slows its growth.

Dandurff leaves your beard itchy. For 3 simple ways to stop beard itch check out one of our earlier articles.

6 Steps for Getting Rid of Beard Dandruff

1. Wash your beard with the right kind of shampoo.

If you get an outbreak of beard dandruff, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can wash your beard with the same dandruff shampoo you might use on your head. Most dandruff shampoos you buy over-the-counter include harsh chemicals and detergents that can often make the condition worse by irritating your delicate facial skin.

Beard Dandruff
Instead, try using a beard-specific shampoo. You might consider one like Beardsmen Beard Shampoo. It’s available on Amazon for about $14, smells great, contains all-natural oils and lasts a good long time.

After you’ve applied the shampoo, leave it in your beard for about 5 minutes. This gives it time to penetrate into your skin. Then be sure to rinse it out well so you don’t leave any residue that can add to your dandruff problems. As always, be sure to comb or brush your beard when you finish.

For especially severe beard dandruff you should consider getting medical attention. But before you take that step, try a good therapeutic shampoo. I like Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo. This might do the trick in knocking a stubborn case to its knees. But I wouldn’t use this on a regular basis. If you need to use it often, it’s time to see a doctor. There could be an underlying condition you may need to address.

2. Apply beard conditioner after washing.

Beard Dandruff
Be sure to use a conditioner after every beard washing. This will help protect and soothe delicate facial skin and slow or eliminate dandruff.

I suggest you consider a beard-specific conditioner like Spartans Den Premium Beard Conditioner. This small-batch product contains natural ingredients like Shea butter, olive oil, argan oil and rice bran oil. It runs about $14-$15 on Amazon, but one bottle lasts a long time.

Whichever beard conditioner you chose, make sure it’s designed for beards. Look for gentle, all-natural ingredients that will soothe and protect the underlying skin and beard hair.

Always apply the conditioner right after you shampoo. Just like the shampooing process, make sure you leave the conditioner in for at least 5 minutes. Finally, be sure to rinse well to ensure there’s no buildup of residue.

3. Use a good beard oil on your beard.

You should apply beard oil to your beard at least once or twice a day, especially during dandruff outbreaks. A good oil will not only keep your beard shiny and soft, but will also keep the skin underneath moist. It’s especially important to use beard oil if your skin tends to be dry or if you live in an arid climate.

There are many good oils out there, but I like Legendary Beard Company’s Beard Oil, available direct from their site and around $30. It’s a solid, all-natural product and comes in the 1 oz size so you don’t have too much lying around. It’s also a convenient travel size so you can take it with you almost anywhere you go.

4. Try not to touch your face.

Beard Dandruff
When your skin and beard are in the throes of a dandruff outbreak, your skin is more susceptible to infection. Hands and fingers carry a lot of bacteria, dirt and fungal spores, so you should be diligent about washing them before they get near your face. But most of us just aren’t that fastidious, so you’ll need to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible.

Temptation to scratch your beard abounds when you have dandruff, but try to resist. It will only make matters worse. Scratching can irritate already sensitive skin and make the dandruff spread.

5. Next to last resort: Apply hydrocortisone cream.

Beard Dandruff
If your beard dandruff seems to have gone off the rails and your facial skin is red and raw, you should try a bit of hydrocortisone cream.

I use Cortozone-10 Cream when the flaking, itching and scratching become unbearable. This cream is available at most drug stores, or you can order it on Amazon for about $10 per tube.

This is the next-to-last-resort step and I don’t recommend you use this product unless absolutely necessary. Apply this stuff as directed for a few days. If the dandruff and itching haven’t improved by then, it’s time to see a doctor.

6. Last resort: Shave off your beard.

Beard Dandruff
You heard right. If you’ve followed the above steps after an outbreak of dandruff and it still isn’t starting to abate, it’s time to shave off the beard. It’s what your doctor would suggest anyway. Once you are clean-shaven, your condition should improve.

Obviously you are a true beardsman, and like all true beardsmen the thought of shaving off your beard sends you into a mad rage, or maybe just a mild panic attack. Either way, it’s clear you don’t want to deal with this last resort. But if nothing is working, and you’ve seen your doctor and know it’s gotta go…Buck up, Binky, it could be worse. Maybe.

For more info on solving the beard dandruff problem, check out one of our other articles, How to Get Rid of Beard Dandruff.

Stopping Dandruff Before it Has a Chance to Start

  • Always keep your face and beard clean.

Beards attract a lot of grime, dust and bacteria. Not to mention yeast and fungal spores. So the trick to preventing these things from causing a dandruff outbreak is to wash your face and beard on a regular basis.

I recommend you wash twice a day, in the morning and evening. This will keep the crud from clogging your facial pores, resulting in you know what.

In addition to a good beard shampoo, make sure you use a facial cleanser that works with beards. Since you are prone to beard dandruff, I suggest a therapeutic, antifungal soap that’s gentle on your skin.

Beard Dandruff
I use Oleavine Antifungal Soap, which goes a long way toward keeping my dandruff in check. It’s great for soothing itchy, dry skin and contains natural oils and antibacterials. It runs about $15 on Amazon for a 12oz bottle.

One final note on face washing: don’t overdo it. Yes, it’s important to keep your beard and skin clean. But too much washing can strip oils from your skin, leading to inflammation and a potential outbreak of — you guessed it — dandruff.

Here’s more info on how to wash your face and beard from Stubble & ‘Stache.

Always comb or brush out your beard after washing.

Whenever you wash your face and/or shampoo your beard, make sure to brush or comb it out. This will help exfoliate your skin as it eliminates tangles. It also spreads essential oils throughout your beard.

I have a heavy beard, so I use

Beard Dandruff
a brush that’s beard size appropriate, and I suggest you do the same.
This Beard Brush for the Modern Gentleman is what I use for my thick beard. There are other great brushes and combs out there that will work well on yours. For more help choosing a brush, check out our article about Best Brushes for Different Beards.

Keep your face and beard well moisturized.

We addressed part of this in Step 3: using a good beard oil every day. The oil will help keep the skin under your beard moist and free of flakes. But you can also add a skin moisturizer over the rest of your face, while using the beard oil to treat your beard and the skin underneath.

Beard Dandruff
Any good skin moisturizer will work. I like Nivea Creme. It’s been around forever, does the job and is inexpensive, costing about $8 for a 13.5oz tin. Many skin moisturizers are far more expensive and not nearly as good.

For more information about the dandruff issue, here’s a great YouTube video from Eric Bandholz, who discusses the problem of beard dandruff in some detail.


Keeping Your Beard Flake-Free

And there you have it, my fellow beardsman: how to terminate beard dandruff with extreme prejudice. I hope you enjoyed this post and it’s given you some ideas and insight into the proper way to fight this curse of beardsmen everywhere. The basic thrust is to keep your beard and face clean and use the right products to protect your skin and keep it moist.

As I explained at the beginning of this post, it took me a lot of trial and error to discover how to deal with beard dandruff. But now that I use the above regimen I rarely get a dandruff outbreak, and when I do get one it’s gone in no time.

Tell me what you think of this post in the comments section. And if you enjoyed it, share it with your friends.

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Mr. Wood has been growing a beard since he could first sprout facial hair. He lives with his wife, two boys and a mentally unstable dog. He loves to be outdoors and thinks that the best stories start with "Here, hold my beer..."