Today we have Eric Bandholz back with 5 tips on how to fix your itchy and flaky beard. Before getting into solving the problem you need to understand the problem. Beard dandruff is caused by the micro-organism Malassezia globosa and it's feeding on the natural oils produced by your skin. Those oils are called sebum. The Malassezia globosa break down the oils into an oleic acid and some people have a sensitivity to the acid. People have a sensitivity which produce skin cells at a higher rate and this over production of skin cells is what causes dandruff. So it sucks to have beard flakes, but it's a pretty common issue for people.
Tip #1: Let it grow
Now, onto the itchy beard. The most common reason people have itchy beards is because they've recently trimmed their beard which causes little hair spears to grow out of their face. As those hairs get longer they curl back into other parts of the face & skin and that is what is causing the irritation. To solve this issue, you'll want to let your beard grow. Over time the ends will soften up and move beyond poking back into the skin.
There's also a product called Soft Goat Beard Scrubber. To use this product, you'd gently rub it on a 5 o'clock shadow beard to help soften up the hairs.
Tip #2: Exfoliate
To help clear up these excessive skin flakes and dirt you'll want to exfoliate. There's a few different ways to exfoliate - through physical means and through chemical means. A physical exfoliator will be something like an Alpha Fit, a scalp brush, or a boar's bristle brush. A chemical exfoliator uses ingredients like glycolic acid or lactic acid to loosen the bonds of the dead skin. You'll want to exfoliate before (or while you are in) your shower.
The key with exfoliation is to be gentle with your skin. You're not going to want to rub your face raw or red. Let the products work for you and treat your skin with kindness.
Tip #3: Hydrate
Your hydration routine begins with using products specifically designed for your face and beard and not products designed for your scalp. Your scalp has about 100k hair follicles and your face only about 30k. A beard wash will be more gentle and less likely to cause dryness on your face. In addition to that, by using Beardbrand beard softener over a hair conditioner you will be using a product that is silicone free and won't build up over time. That silicone build up on your beard can cause dullness to your beard as well as some silicone flaking.
Once you hop out of the shower you'll want to follow with your traditional beard care routine which should involve either a beard oil or Utility Balm. Read this article which goes into greater detail about how to use and apply beard oil.
Tip #4: Allergies to Ingredients
Another cause of irritation to your skin may be caused by the ingredients used and your skin having an allergic reaction. To find out if this is the case you'll want to do a patch test on a conspicuous area like your wrist. You'll want to stop using one product at a time to find out which product is causing the allergies. Once you've identified the product, you'll try products with different formulations to see if that resolves the issue. Another reasons to buy from Beardbrand is that swaps are always free. So if you are having an allergic reaction we can help you find the product that works free of charge.
Tip #5: Do you have Seborrheic Dermatitis?
If after all these efforts you haven't been able to solve your itchy, flaky beard then you may be dealing with Seborrheic Dermatitis which is a type of skin condition. This issue can have flare ups similar to eczema and due to stress, hormones, environments, or a fungus. There are several over the counter solutions to help with this from UV light, steroid creams and anti-fungal creams and shampoos. If you can't resolve the issue on your own over a couple of weeks then you should reach out to a trusted dermatologist or doctor to find a solution that works for your body.
Now that you're armed with this knowledge about beard flakes and itchy beards you'll be able to tackle this issue head on and have some, soft skin and beard. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us via our contact page.