The Best Treatment for Facial Dandruff in the Beard Area

Ask Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey a skin problem questionHello Dr. Bailey,

I’ve read your Tips for Facial Seborrheic Dermatitis Control and had a couple questions:

1) You mention the Replenix CF Cream as a great product for dermatitis, but other websites primarily mention it for rosacea, so I just wanted to make sure this was in fact a good product for facial seborrheic dermatitis.

2) I also planned on purchasing Calming Zinc Bar of Soap; do you have any recommendations for how to apply this soap?

I currently use a prescription product called “Promiseb” Topical Cream. It works well around my nose area, but I wear a “scruff bear” (not very long, more like 3-4 day stubble) and I find that the topical cream doesn’t work well in my chin area where the facial hair is (flaky and somewhat red at times). Any suggestions for this?

My dermatologists in the past were always trying to push me to use generic stuff. I’m the type of person that doesn’t just want cheap, I want stuff THAT WORKS. If it’s less expensive and works, fine. If it’s super expensive and works, I’m all for it!! I just want something that WORKS!

I appreciate any insight to my questions.


Hello Jason,

This is a great question because it’s so common for men to suffer from facial dandruff in the beard, mustache, and sideburn areas. Thicker creams don’t spread well on these hairy areas of the skin, yet dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) loves these areas, making effective treatment a challenge. That’s why the Calming Zinc Soap is a great solution. You apply it to cleanse the skin then rinse it off. A film of pyrithione zinc is left on the skin to combat the seborrhea, but there is no visible product residue.

Regarding your question about Replenix CF and seborrhea, yes, I use Replenix CF Cream for facial dandruff too. I find that it has anti-inflammatory action for a variety of inflammatory facial skin problems: rosacea, seborrhea, and acne being the most common. My Facial Redness Relief Kit includes these two products. We are often asked about the difference between Replenix CF Cream and the Green Tea Antioxidant Therapy Cream. For the beard area, the CF Cream has a slightly lighter consistency, making it spread more easily on hairy skin, so it’s what I would recommend for the beard.

Facial Redness Relief Kit

Facial Redness Relief Kit


Here are the specific instructions that I give to my patients for their facial dandruff skin care routine:

Step 1: I have them start by washing their face once a day with the Calming Zinc Soap. If after a week or so they don’t experience any dryness they can increase to twice a day. They wet their skin with warm water, apply the soap, and massage it onto their skin for a few seconds then rinse well with warm water. They can eventually apply the Calming Zinc with a Clarisonic Brush if their skin can tolerate that. The Clarisonic helps to remove scale and enhance the penetration of the soap into the pores. It can cause the soap to irritate the skin however because pyrithione zinc can be irritating to sensitive skin. If irritation develops for any reason,  I have patients wash just once a day with the Calming Zinc at night and in the morning use a gentle cleanser such as Toleriane Cleanser or Vanicream Cleansing Bar (possibly with the Clarisonic). If there is still irritation from the pyrithione zinc then we back down to using it as needed to control the seborrhea.

Step 2: Replenix CF Cream is applied twice a day every day after washing and toweling skin dry. Any other products like the Promiseb are applied after the Replenix CF. When skin flares up, I have patients apply clotrimazole (either Lotrimin brand or generic because they seem equivalently efficacious) on top of the Replenix CF. As a general moisturizer, I have patients apply either my Day Cream for Normal to Oily Skin or my All Natural Face and Body Lotion. These both seem to help stabilize facial dandruff so that there are longer periods of remission between flare ups. To be honest, I use these instead of a product like Promiseb.

One additional point is that sunscreen should be used during the day. For hairy areas of the face, my favorite product is Elta Clear SPF 46 Sunscreen. It rubs in nicely, provides non-irritating mineral zinc protection, and has niacinamide to help quiet inflammation even further. Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 Sunscreen

I hope that clarifies how I use these products for men’s skin care in my dermatology practice to treat dandruff of the beard area.

Warm Regards,

Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist

Disclaimer: Please realize that availing yourself of the opportunity to submit and receive answers to your questions from Dr. Bailey does not confer a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Bailey. The information provided by Dr. Bailey is general health information inspired by your question. It should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem (and is not an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has provided in her office for existing patients of her practice). Never ignore your own doctor’s advice because of something you read here; this information is for general informational purpose only.


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7 Responses to “The Best Treatment for Facial Dandruff in the Beard Area”

  1. Gloria Brown May 28, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    These post is very nice. But some times this kind of skin care product makes your skin dry. So dry skin is the problem of skin spot and skin roughness. than Obagi is natural based product like Dr. Bailey’s skincare product. Thanks for giving more information about skin care.

  2. Ely May 30, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    Great tips Cynthia!

    I’ve got a question for you just out of curiosity: I usually don’t have any problems with facial dandruff, but at rare occasions I do. It goes away very quickly and it’s very light but I’m just curious: what causes it? Could it be shaving often (more often than I usually do), stress or taking more/less showers than usual? I’d like to prevent it if I can of course!

  3. Cynthia Bailey May 30, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    These are great questions and I answer them in my posts on dandruff. Bottom line is that we don’t know what causes seborrheic dermatitis. That said, we do have observations of situations where it worsens or improves: stress makes it worse, winter is accompanied by a seasonal flare for many seb derm suffers, shaving can injure barrier compromised skin that is in seb derm remission, lastly, seb derm gets worse when you can’t bathe prone skin daily and is better when you do – especially when you use medicated products like the Calming Zinc.

  4. David Maneth June 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    I quit sporting a beard because I almost always developed some sort of unappealing skin condition . With this information, I may give the beard look another try. Thanks.

  5. Marten June 6, 2013 at 4:39 am #

    Hi Cynthia!

    I got the advice to shave before starting any anti-dandruff therapy, but I would prefer not to. Is that relly necessary? I have quite a long beard though, about 1,5 inches…


  6. Cynthia Bailey June 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I have many bearded men treat their facial seborrhea without shaving.

  7. Jean Marie July 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    some body creams are too light and watery, too greasy or too thick and don’t absorb or are too hard to smooth over rough dry skin. this one isn’t. its just perfect, thick but easy to rub over delicate dry skin without dragging or pulling and absorbs well without disappearing or leaving a film that rubs off later.