How To Avoid Dry Skin Under Your Beard

Feb 17th, 2010 by Coach Adam in Beard Education

I recently replied to an email from a newly-bearded gentleman who posed a question that I knew would be relevant to a lot of you guys.  Here’s the text of the email:

Hey boss,

I'm about three weeks into my beard growing excursion, and I've noticed though I have
extremely dry flaky skin under the beard, which was never an issue beardless, so
it's not a skin condition or anything. I was just wondering if you knew anything good
to help without rubbing big globs of moisturizer into it, as attractive as that is.

Thanks Alot,
Mike

Now, I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had to deal with this myself, but I know Mike isn’t the only guy dealing with this issue.  I’m afraid that if I can’t help you find a way to avoid the dryness and the flakes, you’ll give up on those bearded dreams.  That would be a disaster!  What kind of coach would I be if I let that happen?  So I did a bit of research on the topic… and I’ve come up with three potential solutions to share with you.

Solution 1: Take a cooler shower

Man, nothing feels better than a long hot shower on a wintry day.  Too bad that steamy heat robs your skin of its natural oils.  It seems a bit counter-intuitive that water can dry out your skin, but that’s truly what happens.  So if your under-beard skin is feeling dried out, try turning the hot water knob a bit back to the right net time you shower.  Your solution could be as simple as that.

Solution 2: Stop soaping your beard

If you’ve just grown a beard, you are probably used to just washing your face with the same bar of soap you use for the rest of yourself.  If you’re a man of routine, you’re probably trying to keep up that habit even though your face has undeniably changed.  Using a cheap body soap on your beard can dry out the skin under it causing that unsightly flaking.  Do you use a bar of soap on your head?  Isn’t your beard made of hair too?  Make a new habit of putting a little extra shampoo in your hands and washing your beard along with your head hair.  It’s all connected, so it really makes a lot of sense.  If your regular shampoo doesn’t do the trick, you can step it up and try a different shampoo for your beard.  Find one that includes vitamin B or E.  A lot of times these are marketed as dandruff shampoos.  So even if you don’t have dandruff in the beard, don’t be afraid to use the old Head and Shoulders.

Solution 3: Completely dry your beard

For new beard wearers, it can be surprising how well those hairs retain moisture from your washing routine.  You can give your beard a little towel dry, and it will surprise you with a random drip a few minutes later.  If you have hard water this is problematic for your skin.  The minerals in hard water, if they linger, can be quite detrimental to your skin’s health.  So don’t just give your beard a quick little brush with the towel.  Really dig in there and fluff the hell out of it.  Even better, if you have the time, treat your beard to a little blow dry.  Pamper yourself.

There you go!  Three easy solutions to try if your under-beard skin gets a little dry and flaky.  If they work for you, leave a comment and let the rest of the bearded world know about your success!

27 Comments

  • What I found is the actual hairs coming through cause my skin to get red blotchy and bumps, then as the hairs grow and it gets sensitive, hurts and itches and falkes. To combat this I went to several dermatologists and this is what I found.

    Hydro-cortisone once a week
    Clindamycin every time out of the shower it’s a script lotion.

    For the longest I would use a little coal tar and blue star ointment which would get rid of the blotches and redness in like 24 hours even thou it sorta burns I didn’t care but dermatologist got me on this routine.

    Good Luck it works!

  • I have this problem as well and just ran across this “blog” page that seems to explain it very well and it is from a dermatologist.

    http://smartskincare.blogspot.com/2010/04/suffering-from-red-dry-flaky-skin.html

  • Ok, this topic is really old now but heres food for thought on the cold(er) shower theory..

    At home my flaky skin is a mess, but if im away on holiday my skin (Beard & Scalp) is perfect!

    Why? Im thinking its because the pool, sea, and showers I take are always cool due to the heat of the climate!

    Its just too damn cold at home for a cool shower though!

    Im going to be trying out some of the suggestions on here and see how I fair.

    Thanks!

  • Changing seasons and weather tends to affect the condition of our scalp. scalp becomes dry, scaly, and itchy. The most influential effect on climate change is dandruff, and of course also affects the quality of your hair. The following are 10 faqs about dandruff that will be described by Dr.Deepali Bhadwarj a consultant dermatologist at Rockland Hospital.
    10 Faqs about Dandruff

  • Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you Nevertheless I’m experiencing problem with ur rss . Don?t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting similar rss problem? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  • Professor Dr. John MIze

    I’ve been wearing a full beard and mustache since September 1, 1970.Nivea or Noxzema medicated skin creme twice a week does just fine for me.

  • I forgot to mention that you should make sure to use plain yogurt with no added sugar. You don’t want sugar in your beard or on your skin. I’ve used the Greek Yogurt, which works well.

  • I’ve had a beard for some time now. Through trial and error I have found a cost effective way to keep the beard soft and dry skin free (Ok, I stole it from my girlfriend. LOL). Avocado works like a charm. You can also blend yogurt and oatmeal and work it into the beard down to the skin. Leave both applications on for about 20-30 minutes and rinse.
    The avocado will leave the beard nice and shiny.

  • I am relly happy that i found this website. I have tried to grow my beard many times before and then shave it off within two months because it gets itchy. I grow a really thick beard. My family cant grow a beard, they grow patches so I have no one to give me advice on properly care for my beard. This website is awesome, its like walking and finding a gold nugget. Thanks for this helpful site.

    ~Juan

  • Have had the flake problem in some of my earlier beards. Just this last go round I think I have found the solution which works for me. I scrub my beard to loosen all of the dead skin around the hair follicles. ( I happen to use this mutt mitt which is a rubber glove with litte rubber spikes…. Don’t judge … It works great.). After that I use a teatree oil shampoo. About once a week I use nizoral shampoo (OTC shampoo that’s a bit stronger than h&s). This routine seems to have me flake free

  • I know this is old but i wanted to add to it. I have had a bit of flaking and dry skin. This was a problem even in my shaving days, but only right after i shaved and showerd. I would always have to rub lotion all over my face after or i could not go about my day. we have hard water here, so im thinking this is a dry skin issue and not dandruff (there is a difference). I will have to get this confirmed one day by a doctor to be sure i suppose.

    This has been a bit of a problem even now that i have a full natural beard and shave nothing. I still have the hard water. I will be trying the mildly cold water, conditioner, and complete towel drying to see if that helps even more.

    What i have found that works best so far is applying about 10 drops of JOJOBA OIL evenly all over my beard (directly to the skin under the hairs) and then combing in just after my shower (while hair has just been patted down with towel). I leave this in (leave in conditioner) until my next mornings shower. This leaves my beard and skin feeling great. Like I said im running to the store right now to pick up some conditioner and will be trying the other methods to see if i can 100% eleminate the dry skin/slight flaking.

  • I have been having crazy flakes in my beard for the past 6months or so, and nothing was working, head and shoulders. lotion etc. I thought the drying your beard after the shower sounded to easy, but I tried it, and have absolutley no flakes! Thanks guys!

  • Marylyn Milson

    My 2yr old son has a very dry skin and none of the other creams work well including Vaseline, Aquaphor etc. We used to apply moisturizer on his body 4-5 times a day, but the problem continued until we found out about the Made from Earth Pure Aloe Treatment. This cream is a real savior in healing his dry skin problem. I would definitely recommend this cream to anyone who has dry skin or is dealing with a dry skin related problem.

    • Hi Marylyn,

      Thanks for sharing this product with everyone. I’m glad you found a solution to your son’s problem. We’ll have to see how well it absorbs through a mess of beard hair!

  • Great tips, thanks! A little olive oil does the trick for me. :)

  • Thanks to our coach I finally made it to a whole beard (tried several times, but the wife and the itch was hell without a coach ;o)).
    I get those flakes around the chin too and since I use a conditioner (from head and shoulders) it’s gone. My wife didn’t notice that I used a conditioner instead of shampoo. So the bottle isn’t so noticeable.
    The good drying is important too.
    Blowing is only good for long hairs, hence the beautiful women with beautiful hair. A beard is often too short for dry blowing, so you will dry out your skin underneath it.

    And I too, will try the cool wash off.

  • You could always use the cool setting on your hair dryer…

  • What worked for my dry skin under the beard:
    Ditto on the hot water. More on this later….

    Do not blow dry. Makes it worse.

    Use shampoo on your whole head – dermatologists seldom recommend bar soap for the face at all and if you don’t want to deal with a specific face wash, then shampoo is the best thing.

    Most important: CONDITIONER! (Can we bold that?) Even if you don’t use conditioner on your head use it on your beard. The conditioner makes your beard softer and easier to brush or comb with less tangling AND does what a big glop of moisturizer would do for your skin.

    Rinse with cool water. After the shampoo, conditioner, and taking care of the rest of the bod, I rinse the conditioner out with cool water. I don’t mean “not hot”, I mean relatively cool. Like, less than room temp. My barber gave me this tip and it probably made the biggest difference in my overall hair and skin condition. Doesn’t take much, just rinse all the heat out of your hair and beard.

    Finally, don’t be afraid to spend a little money. I spend about $60 every 6 months on great shampoo and conditioner for men (so it doesn’t smell like flowers) from Aveda to keep my entire head (and to be honest, the chest hair, too!) flake free, shiny, untangled, and looking pretty damned awesome. I have beard fans – so can you.

    • Thanks for sharing your expertise, Sparkplug! This comment is a treasure trove!

      I’d never heard about the cool rinse before… I’ll have to try that out. It sounds refreshing to boot. But I’m not convinced that blow drying is all bad. Beautiful women blow dry their beautiful hair with fantastic success… why couldn’t a beard benefit from the same treatment?

      • Blow drying: Long beautiful starlet/model hair means you blow dry the hair. Not the scalp. If your beard is long enough to blow dry just the hair, OK. But if you aim that blow dryer at your skin under the hair (scalp or beard) you’ll cause it to lose moisture really fast, tighten up, and crack. Flakes. Itching. Booooo! Also, models who use their own hair (think about that) often have to take a hair holiday to really repair everything from scalp to tips.

        We don’t need to do that. If you have flaky beard problems, good quality conditioner and a cool rinse will probably solve it. I buddy of mine saw a dermatologist about it (he had Chin Dandruff From HELL) and they found the right stuff for him. So if it’s a PROBLEM it’s worth asking an expert about.

        • Good point about the hair length. And extra good point about the extensions. I believe your argument may have won me over to the anti-blow-dry camp. How do you feel about using a blow dryer set on cool as Chris suggested?

          • Cool blow dry? Oh I suppose. I guess, since I don’t have a blow dryer. :)
            Perhaps it’s because I’m a big fan of shaking my mane and spraying harmless watery droplets all over. It’s the little things…

    • Awesome post!! Thank-you to both the coach and sparkplug… I plan on keeping my beard for a while so it’s nice to know that I need to dry it pretty good and that conditioning will help me manage it.