What causes dandruff?
In order to first solve a problem, sometimes it can help to look at what’s causing it to happen. So far, we know three of the biggest factors: cold weather, stress, and a type of bacteria that lives on the skin. These three factors, alone or in combination with one another, lead to the skin drying out and becoming irritable and itchy, causing it to flake off and end up in your beard. You’ll notice that dandruff is more prevalent in the beard then on the scalp.
What Do I Do?
DON’T use a regular anti-dandruff shampoo/conditioner!
Although some people may recommend to simply use a regular anti-dandruff shampoo/conditioner like Head and Shoulders on your beard, this is actually a common piece of misinformation that in many cases will make the problem worse. A regular shampoo or conditioner is designed with your scalp in mind, and contains ingredients designed to function only on your scalp. The skin on your face is far more sensitive than that on your scalp.
Using a regular anti-dandruff shampoo risks irritating the skin under your beard, leading to more itching and more dead skin flakes.
Instead, use a beard soap/shampoo and conditioner
Beard soaps, shampoos, and conditioners are created for dermatological use. They contain gentler ingredients that work with both your face and facial hair. Some good ingredients to look for are: green tea extract, oat, and B vitamins.
Using these products daily will hydrate your hair and promote a healthy beard. Habitual use will also clear out any dead skin and prevent it from building up in the skin follicles under your beard, which can lead to irritation. As a plus, your beard will smell great and feel both stronger and softer.
Try applying a beard oil
Another great way to reduce beard itch and dandruff is to use a beard oil. This step is especially important when your beard is first growing in, as a beard oil will relieve the itch. But it’s just as important with a full beard already in place, since it will keep your beard moisturized and prevent the hairs from drying out. This can help with dandruff by reducing any irritation and itchiness that would otherwise lead to skin flaking off.
Change up your shower routine
First, try taking cooler showers; even if hot showers feel great, hot water can dry out your skin by removing natural oils. And as you know by now, dry skin leads to dandruff.
Second, make sure to fully dry your beard after any shower. Beards have a tendency to absorb water, and if you shower with hard water, the high mineral content can be an irritant to the skin underneath. Taking the time to really dry and maybe even blow dry your beard will prevent you from soaking up these irritants.