Facial hair, like scalp hair, grows in stages — and understanding it may help you maximize your beard-growing potential.
A full beard can take 2 to 4 months to grow, as facial hair tends to grow between 0.3 and 0.5 millimeters (mm) every 24 hours. This works out to between one third and one half an inch per month.
Many factors can affect the growth of your beard, but there are some lifestyle strategies you can try to enhance your beard growth. Read on to learn more about what influences beard growth and if it can be influenced.
Once you stop shaving, you can expect facial hair to grow in stages. Hair may grow fuller and faster in certain areas, especially at first. Be patient, though, as this is a normal growth pattern for most guys.
- Stage 1. This stage lasts approximately 7 days. The amount of stubble at the end of the week should give you an idea of how quickly or slowly your beard will grow.
- Stage 2. This stage covers the next 2 weeks. You’ll definitely see a pattern of hair growth that will let you know if any patchiness can be expected.
- Stage 3. This one takes another 2 weeks, at the end of which you should have significant beard growth. If you still aren’t sporting much facial hair by this time, a full beard may not be in your future.
- Stage 4. You’re well into your second month of beard growth. It will likely be time to see a barber about trimming it (if you want that groomed look) and defining the shape you want.
- Stage 5. From 2 months on, you should see slower beard growth. Now you can decide if you want to commit to the look and upkeep of a full beard.
Your ethnicity, age, genetics, and hormones — not to mention various medical conditions — can all affect whether your beard comes in faster or slower, or in all the places you desire.
If your beard seems to be taking a long time to grow in, one of the following factors may be at play.
You may remember guys in high school who seemed to have a full beard before they got their driver’s license. They’re the exception, not the rule.
Typically, full beard growth is possible starting at around age 18, but for many men, that time may not arrive until they’re 30. So, if you’re not getting the beard growth you want, it may be because it’s not your time.
Certain ethnic groups tend to be more hirsute than others. Chinese men, for example, generally have less facial hair than white men, and men of Mediterranean descent generally have thicker beards.
Beyond your ethnic origins, your direct family traits have much to do with whether you can grow a full beard. Likewise, your genetics also determine the texture of your hair, your likelihood of going bald, and so forth.
For clues about your beard’s future, look to your male relatives. While there’s no guarantee that a dad with a full beard will have a son who can pull off the same thing, hair patterns do tend to be hereditary.
Low levels of testosterone can make it more difficult to grow a beard. Talk with your doctor about taking supplements or trying testosterone therapy to help combat low testosterone.
If you want to grow your beard faster, there are a few strategies worth trying. Understand, however, that these tips may not work for everyone.
For general health, it’s recommended you have a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, while avoiding processed food and added sugars.
For healthy hair growth, some key nutrients should have a place in your diet, including:
- vitamin A
- B vitamins (including biotin, a key nutrient associated with healthy hair growth that’s sold as a supplement)
- vitamin C
Too much stress and too little sleep can cause countless health problems, not to mention affect your beard growth.
Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, and try strategies such as meditation or deep-breathing techniques to help de-stress.
Let it grow
It’s not uncommon for guys to have thicker hair around their mouths and parts of their sideburns but a little less on their cheeks.
One way to help mask thinner (or zero) growth in those spots is to let the hair around them grow longer. You can hide those sparse spots a little with longer beard hair nearby.
Hair growth, whether it’s on your scalp or your face, is subject to many changes in your health.
Alopecia areata is the more common condition. It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles. When beard alopecia areata develops, men are usually middle-aged and hair loss is typically along the jawline.
Unusual conditions, such as prolactinoma — a noncancerous tumor of the pituitary gland — can also result in thin or missing facial hair.
Conversely, a noncancerous birthmark called Becker’s nevus can sometimes cause excessive, coarse hair to form at the site of the birthmark.
The time it takes to grow a beard — not to mention the look of the final product — varies from person to person.
If you’re trying to grow a full beard, plan on waiting a couple of months before you reach your goal. That means being patient and watching for signs of medical conditions that may affect your beard growth.
If you’re concerned about a lack of beard growth, talk with your doctor or a dermatologist.