For some, growing a beard can be a slow and seemingly impossible task. There’s no miracle pill for increasing the thickness of your facial hair, but there’s no shortage of myths about how to stimulate your facial hair follicles.
Many people mistakenly believe that shaving makes facial hair grow in thicker. In reality, shaving doesn’t affect the root of your hair beneath your skin and has no effect on the way your hair grows.
Another common misconception is that those with thicker beards have more testosterone than people with thinner beards. Even though testosterone does play a role in the growth of facial hair, low testosterone is rarely the cause of sparse facial hair growth.
In this article, we’re going to examine the five most likely reasons why you’re having trouble growing out your beard. We’ll also look at some ways you can maximize your growth.
The thickness of your beard is primarily determined by your genetics. If your father and grandparents have thick beards, you’ll likely be able to grow a thick beard as well.
Androgens are a group of hormones behind masculine traits like a deep voice and the ability to grow facial hair. An enzyme in your body called 5-alpha reductase converts the androgen hormone testosterone into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
When DHT binds to receptors on your hair follicles, it stimulates the growth of facial hair. However, the strength of its effect is also determined by your hair follicles’ sensitivity to DHT. This sensitivity is largely determined by your genetics.
Conversely, even though DHT stimulates beard growth, it
Men often experience increased facial hair coverage until around age 30. If you’re in your early 20s or teens, it’s likely that your beard will continue to get thicker as you age.
Your race can have an effect on your facial hair growth. People from Mediterranean countries tend to be able to grow thick beards compared to people from other regions.
According to a 2016 study, Chinese men generally have less facial hair growth than Caucasian men. Facial hair growth in Chinese men tends to concentrate around the mouth while Caucasian men tend to have more hair on the cheeks, neck, and chin.
According to the same study, the diameter of human hair can vary from 17 to 180 micrometers, which can be a contributing factor to beard thickness. Thicker hair leads to a fuller-looking beard.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks your hair follicles. It can cause the hair on your head and the hair in your beard to fall out in patches.
There’s no cure for alopecia areata, but your doctor can recommend several treatment options that include:
- minoxidil (Rogaine)
- dithranol (Dritho-Scalp)
- corticosteroid creams
- topical immunotherapy
- steroid injections
- cortisone tablets
- oral immunosuppressants
In some cases, low testosterone may be the cause of poor beard growth. People with extremely low levels of testosterone have next to no facial hair.
Unless your testosterone levels are clinically low, they probably aren’t impacting your facial hair growth. If you have low testosterone, you’ll likely also have symptoms like the following:
- low sex drive
- erectile dysfunction
- trouble building muscle
- increased body fat
- irritability and mood changes
There’s no shortage of beard growth formulas available on the internet that lack scientific evidence backing their effectiveness. The majority of these products are little more than snake oil.
Unless you have a medical condition limiting your beard growth, the only way to make it thicker is through lifestyle. The following lifestyle changes can maximize your genetic potential for facial hair growth:
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a balanced diet can help you get all your essential nutrients and avoid micronutrient deficiencies that might negatively impact your hair growth.
- Be patient. If you’re a teenager or in your 20s, your beard might continue to get thicker as you age.
- Reduce stress. Some
researchhas found that stress may cause loss of scalp hair. Stress may also affect beard thickness, but the link isn’t clear at this time.
- Sleep more. Sleep gives your body a chance to repair itself and can improve your overall health.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking can have a
negative impacton both your skin and hair health.
Your genetics are the primary factor that determines how thick your beard will grow. You can’t change your genetics but living an overall healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet can help you maximize your beard growing potential.
Many men’s beards continue to get thicker into their 30s. If you’re in your teens or early 20s, you’ll likely notice that growing a beard will become easier as you mature.
Looking at your father and grandparent’s beard can give you an idea of what to expect for your facial hair.