Skin care for men's dry flaky facial skin is often overlooked. I treat a lot of men in my dermatology practice. One of the most common skin problems I see on the facial skin of men is facial dandruff aka dry flaky facial skin.
Yes, I can tell you that seborrheic dermatitis in men is pretty common, and that most guys mistakenly think that it’s dry skin. They're stumped by it because they can’t get rid of the dry, flaky facial skin by putting face creams or lotions on it.
The dry face skin men ask me about is most always facial seborrhea and the face creams they are using don't work because the real problem is facial dandruff!
How do you know if the dry skin on your face is facial dandruff?
Facial dandruff (called seborrheic dermatitis) may show up as subtle little areas of flaking "dry" skin, or it can be an obvious rash with redness, itching and chunky flakes of "dry" skin.
The parts of the face most prone to facial dandruff include:
- The classic T-zone: This includes your eyebrows (and between the brows), forehead, around the sides of your nose, into the crease of your nose, and down along the sides of your mouth to your chin.
- Areas of facial hair: If you have a mustache or beard, these parts of your face will be more prone to facial dandruff. This includes the skin of your mustache and beard from your chin along your jaw line. Your sideburns can harbor dandruff, too.
Tips to Get Rid of Men's Dry Flaking Facial Skin from Facial Dandruff
Because dandruff is a rash that requires medicated skin care products to control it, putting face creams on dandruff doesn’t fix the skin problem. Simply switching to medicated skin care products is often all you need to do. Then – presto – no more "dry" flaky facial skin!
The truth is that men have thicker and stronger skin than women, meaning, guys, we’re jealous. For men, all it takes is a few low-maintenance, but targeted, skin care steps, and you can have healthy and attractive skin for your entire life - skin that looks well-groomed and youthful. Using medicated dandruff products is often one of these simple steps.
Dermatologist’s Simple Grooming Fixes for Men’s Most Common Skin Problems - Dry Facial Skin in Men from Facial Dandruff
Pityrosporum yeast plays a role in dandruff. We don't know entirely how, but it does. The simplest treatment for facial dandruff is using Calming Zinc ® soap and an Exfoliating Facial Sponge to wash your face. Calming Zinc Soap delivers the needed ingredient to fight facial dandruff and the flaking skin is efficiently lifted off with the sponge. A single simple multitasking step in your skin care routine and it's solved!
The reason the soap works is that the pyrithione zinc is known to fight a skin yeast called Pityrosporum. This yeast germ can also cause a type of acne called Pityrosporum folliculitis. Calming Zinc soap is fortified with a full 2% pyrithione zinc (the maximum amount allowed) to treat dandruff, making it a powerful skin care step to control the facial rash.
The Facial Exfoliating Sponge is slightly rough and helps to lift off flaky scale so your skin is smooth and well groomed.
Get even better results fighting dry flaking skin from facial seborrhea when you add products to fight facial redness.
Apply Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy to help calm the inflammation, soothe redness, and lightly moisturize your dandruff-prone skin. This product leaves no heavy or oily feel on your skin. The combination of Calming Zinc and Green Tea work so well that I've combined them into my popular Facial Redness Relief Kit which has both the Calming Zinc soap and the Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy cream.
Get even better results when you add the right facial moisturizer after applying the Green Tea. The reason this adds 'magic' is because skin with facial seborrhea (dandruff) has weakened skin barrier and my Daily Face Cream helps heal skin barrier. Get Calming Zinc, Green Tea and my Daily Face Cream in my Facial Flaking and Redness Kit.
Treatment for men's flaky facial skin under the beard or mustache or along the hairline.
Hairy skin may need a foaming zinc pyrithione cleanser. My Foaming Zinc Cleanser is an excellent shampoo to clean your scalp and sideburns. It lathers up well in a full beard or mustache too.
If you have beard and mustache hair, it's easiest to treat those areas just like you do your scalp. The easiest treatment is to use my Foaming Zinc Cleanser, which is a powerful, medicated skin cleanser and scalp shampoo (as well as one of my go-to solutions for back dandruff and back/chest acne).
Wash your beard and mustache skin with the Foaming Zinc Cleanser. After rinsing well and toweling dry, apply the Green Tea Cream onto your skin, trying to work it between your facial hairs and onto the skin. Follow this with my Omega Enriched Facial Oil.
My Omega Enriched Face Booster Oil is the ideal Beard Oil. It has a slightly woodland scent from the presence of cypress oil, which is anti-microbial. Sea buckthorn helps skin barrier heal. Argan, pomegranate and kakui oils are blended into this beard oil to create a soft and luxuriously beard.
If scalp flaking is a problem, scrub the medicated shampoo into your skin with my really great scalp scrubber.
Know that if you are suffering from facial seborrhea you may also have dryness and flaking in and around your ears, your scalp and your upper chest and back. These are also seborrhea prone areas of your skin. Here are my tips to treat dandruff in those areas.
Dandruff of the Ears
Dry skin on and around your ears can be embarrassing, and it's usually also dandruff. Easily treat and control it using your medicated Calming Zinc soap or Foaming Zinc Cleanser when you shower.
Lather your ear skin with a wash cloth, let the soap sit a minute or so while you finish your shower, and then rinse well before stepping out to towel off.
If you still have really stubborn ear dandruff, I have an article discussing treatment of this frustrating problem: Treatment for Crusty Ears from Dandruff
Back and Chest Dandruff
That slightly-scaly red skin and itchiness on your chest and upper back probably isn't dry skin any more than it is on your face. It's probably dandruff!
Dandruff loves the back and chest, and again, my favorite go-to products for this part of your skin are either Foaming Zinc Cleanser or Calming Zinc Soap. Apply them with the simple and hygienic Salux Cloth or back brush. Pityrosporum yeast also grows here and contributes to the problem. It can play a big role in back and chest acne, called Pityrosporum folliculitis, too! Foaming Zinc is my "go-to" solution for this problem.
Borda LJ, Wikramanayake TC. Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff: A Comprehensive Review. J Clin Investig Dermatol. 2015;3(2):10.13188/2373-1044.1000019. doi:10.13188/2373-1044.1000019
Piquero-Casals, J., Hexsel, D., Mir-Bonafé, J.F. et al. Topical Non-Pharmacological Treatment for Facial Seborrheic Dermatitis. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 9, 469–477 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-019-00319-0