before and after photo: dry, damaged beard vs conditioned, soft beard

Dry, Itchy, Flaky beard?

 Fight D.I.F. beard with these 3 easy tips

Having a beard can give a man a more masculine, defined look. But they can be a bit of work to maintain.

A common issue for beard growers is a condition we call D.I.F. beard: dry, itchy and flaky . Some guys have only one of these symptoms, but oftentimes they have two or all three.

Why does D.I.F. beard happen? The body produces sebum (oils) which helps to nourish and keep the skin moisturized. This sebum travels up along the hair then deposits itself onto the skin, helping maintain the skin’s hydration levels.

anatomical look at a hair follicle, showing that oil is produced under the skin in a gland and travels up along the shaft of the hair eventually depositing onto the skin.

Healthy hair follicle/pore. Sebaceous glands produce an oil (sebum), and it travels up along the hair, eventually depositing onto the skin.

For our bearded friends, the oils being produced are absorbed by the beard hair instead of being deposited onto the skin. The skin underneath your beard becomes dry, which can also lead to itchy and/or flaky skin (DIF). Dandruff is caused by dry skin that flakes off.

Dryness can also be related to the products that you use. Some body washes, soaps and shampoos can be very dehydrating by stripping too much sebum away from our skin and hair. These products worsen the state of DIF beard. Washing too often can negatively impact your skin and beard. When you’re washing your beard every day, you’re stripping its important oils which means it’s going to be dry and brittle.

3 tips to remedy the issue:

1. Exfoliate regularly (preferably with a beard scrub)

Using an exfoliating scrub on your beard at least 2 times a week can be beneficial to reducing the dry, flaky appearance. Exfoliating will loosen up the dead skin underneath the beard as you “scrub” it off, leaving the face as well as the beard looking refreshed.

Chemical exfoliants, like different acids (AHA, BHA, AFA), will likely be soaked up by your beard instead of being delivered to the skin. It will waste alot of product because you’ll need to use more (making it a waste of money).

 

2. Shampoo and Condition as recommended

We recommended to wash your beard 1-2 times per week. Like the hair on our scalp, shampooing too often can strip the hair of its natural oils.

Ideally, use a beard shampoo. Beard shampoos are formualted without the harmful chemicals that strip out your natural sebum oils. Therefore, beard shampoo effectively gets your beard clean without stripping out the good stuff.

If you want to use regular shampoo, choose a shampoo that is rich in carrier oils, glycerin and other ingredients that help nurture, moisturize and protect the hair. Avoid shampoos that contain sulfates, which are very drying to the hair and scalp.

If you have a shorter beard (shorter than 0.5 inches), then you can pass on the beard shampoo. Your sebum oil production throughout the day will likely compensate for any of the oil stripped out of your hair if you use a generic shampoo.

We also recommend using a conditioner on your beard 2-4 times per week. After conditioning, towel dry your bear, apply beard oil and brush or comb your beard.

 

3. Use a beard oil

The key factor to keeping your facial hair looking nourished, clean and free of dandruff is mostly the use in proper beard oils. Listed below, are a few natural carrier oils that can be used in your beard to reduce inflammation on the skin as well as keep the skin and hair moisturized.

  • Argan Oil
  • Camellia Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Jojoba Oil

Many men use beard oils already but correct application is key to keeping your beard healthy. Beard oils are deceiving in their name, because it gives the allusion that it is for your beard. Beard oils are actually to condition the skin underneath the beard.

When applying a beard oil, it is important to first massage the oils onto the skin beneath the hair, then massage the rest of the oils into the hair strands.

Following this, brush with a wooden beard comb or boar-bristle brush, to draw oil to any spots missed with your hands. Regular brushing removes dead skill cells and prevents itching. It also helps ensure that any products used, such as beard oils or balms, can effectively reach every hair of your beard and the skin at the base.

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