It's embarrassing, right? You go to ponder a thought, and scratch your fury chin (as one does) and a hundred tiny flakes flutter down onto your shirt. You quickly brush them away in hopes that no one sees, but they probably did.
I've Dealt with Dandruff Since Puberty
I was about 10 years old when I first noticed I had dandruff. Actually, the kids at school noticed first, and I was made aware of it through the jeers of my peers. If I had been as good at rhyming as I apparently am now, I might have rapped a retort, which would have had the effect of both admonishing them and impressing the girls.
Just as my noggin once posed a problem for me, so did my beard. If not kept in check with dandruff shampoo, flakes would abound. Over the years I've done some research on this and have found that there are two main causes for beard flaking, also known as beardruff. And, as it turns out, about half the population of bearded men have this issue.
What Causes Beardruff?
#1 - Oily Skin
Surprisingly, it isn't dry skin, but rather oily skin and a build up of dead skin cells that lead to beardruff. Most men think they have dry skin, because their beard looks dry (more on that later) and beardruff gets worse in the winter when the air is drier. So what gives?
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is the overproduction of sebum, the oil produced by certain glands in the skin. This, combined with a rapid shedding of skin cells due to any number of reasons - fungal, bacterial, environmental - leads to an irritation and build up of layers which flake off, if not washed off first.
#2 - Dry Skin
While not as common, this is an issue for some beards. The sebum oil produced by the face isn't enough to moisturize both the face and the beard, so the skin of the beard gets dry, irritated, itchy, and flaky.
How Can I Tell the Difference?
This is pretty easy. Seborrhoeic dermatitis will produce larger, yellowish flakes, whereas dry skin will simply be smaller white flakes.
Does it Matter Which One I Have?
Sort of. Both oily skin and dry skin can be helped by increasing water intake. However, seborrhoea can be mitigated and sometimes eliminated by managing your diet and stress levels.
Sugar and high-fat foods, along with stress, can lead to breakouts of beardruff. Staying hydrated and keeping away from those sugary lattes will make a big difference.
Why does my beard look dry?
In short, because it is. But it may not be because you have dry skin. Both of these issues can lead to a dry beard.
Dry skin causes a dry beard because your face doesn't have enough oil to keep your beard hydrated
Seborrhoea causes a dry beard because your pores are clogged up with sebum and dead skin.
Sunlight Helps Fight Beardruff
Another reason we see an uptick in beardruff during the winter is that the days are shorter and we are not outside as much. Strong UV light has the effect of killing many fungi and microbes. This is also why bald men rarely have dandruff.
How Our Beard Oil Fights Beardruff
Because we use argan oil as the only carrier oil in our beard oils, we aid in the balancing of sebum oil. Argan also has the benefit of having antibacterial and fungicidal properties. The skin's primary defense against unwanted fungi is to shed itself. When argan oil is applied, however, microbes and fungi are killed so the skin can return to a normal shedding cycle.
Check out our line of beard oils. We believe they are the best on the market.
Greater understanding leads to better decisions. Rather than assuming we are "just the way we are" a man takes decisive action to be the best version of himself possible. A little knowledge goes a long way!
- Mike Yarbrough