Growing a beard takes patience as facial hair growth often happens very slowly. That can be very frustrating if you are desperate to grow a beard.
Younger men often have a harder time growing a beard than older men, but that’s not always the case. Some men are naturally more hirsute than others or start developing facial hair sooner.
Unfortunately, some men are never able to grow a thick, luxuriant beard, even after many months or even years of trying. But, for others, a few weeks is all that’s needed. Genetics and hormones often determine how fast and thick beard growth will be.
Facial hair growth is mainly determined by testosterone. Testosterone is an anabolic and androgenic hormone. Anabolic refers to muscle building, while androgenic refers to the development of the secondary male sex characteristics, of which facial hair is one.
Testosterone levels vary, and there is a wide range for what is considered normal. For men between the ages of 19 and 39, the average is 264 to 916 nanograms (ng/dl) per deciliter of blood.
So, does testosterone help beard growth? The answer is yes. In this article, we take a look at the factors affecting beard growth and what you can do to speed the process up.
What Makes a Beard Grow
Men start growing facial hair during puberty, which is when testosterone levels begin to increase. During this time, a boy’s body starts to change into that of a man.
Other changes that occur at this time include full development of the reproductive organs, a deepening of the voice, increases in muscle mass, and changes to the texture of the skin.
Some testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair follicles are very sensitive to DHT and respond by increasing hair growth. Depending on your genetics, this may happen all over your body, including the face.
What Causes Slow Facial Hair Growth
Most men experience at least some beard growth once puberty hits. Boys with low T-levels may suffer from hypogonadism (under-developed testicles) and require hormone replacement to get their levels up to normal.
Regardless, beard thickness actually depends on not just an increase in testosterone but also sensitivity to DHT. So, if you are genetically less sensitive to DHT, your beard growth may not be all that great, even if you are producing plenty of testosterone.
Other factors that may limit beard growth include:
Skin conditions – there are several skin conditions that may lessen beard growth, including alopecia and hypothyroidism.
Nutrition – not eating healthily can affect every aspect of your health, and that includes beard growth. Your body needs an abundance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fats to function at its best. Iron and vitamin D are particularly critical for hair and beard growth.
Stress – stress can lead to hair loss, so it makes sense that too much stress could impair beard growth. Stress is a growing problem for many people. While stress is all but impossible to avoid, there are ways to make it easier to deal with.
Smoking – tobacco is harmful to virtually every aspect of your health. It can lead to lower testosterone which will impact hair growth and lead to hair loss.
Genetics – some men are just better at growing beards than others. If your father and grandfather could grow a beard, you probably will be able to as well. But, if they were smooth-faced after a week or two of not shaving, you may not be blessed with the right genetics to grow a beard.
How To Increase Beard Growth
While genetics clearly plays an essential role in beard growth, there are a few things you can do that may help you increase the thickness of your facial hair and how fast it grows.
Avoid sugars, processed foods, and anything else that’s low in nutrients. Consider taking a vitamin/mineral supplement to plug any nutritional gaps in your diet.
Vitamin D is especially important for hair and beard growth. If you live somewhere sunny, you probably produce enough vitamin D naturally as it’s synthesized in response to exposure to ultra-violet light. But, if you don’t get a lot of sunshine, a vitamin D supplement may be helpful.
Get more sleep – too little sleep can cause an increase in the production of cortisol and a subsequent decline in testosterone. So, do your best to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, even if this means going to bed earlier.
Avoid stress – while it’s easier said than done, lowering your stress levels could help increase hair growth. For example, men and women often lose hair due to stress, but it comes back when the source of that stress is dealt with.
Learn how to manage your stress with strategies like better time management, goal setting, delegation, and relaxation techniques.
Look after your skin – maintain a skincare routine that’s right for your complexion. Healthy skin is more likely to result in beard growth. Keep your pores clean and slough off any dead skin cells by exfoliating regularly.
That’s especially important as you won’t be shaving.
Trim your beard – trimming your beard may lead to increased growth. Don’t shave it off entirely but do keep it tidy by cutting it back to a uniform length. This helps get rid of any dead ends and stops you from looking like someone who’s been shipwrecked!
Should You Use A T-Booster to Grow Your Beard?
Given how big a part testosterone plays in beard growth, it makes sense that increasing your testosterone level could speed up the entire process.
Testosterone boosters contain vitamins, minerals, and herbs that are reported to naturally boost testosterone production.
Most are suitable for all post-pubescent males and suitable for long-term use.
However, it’s important to note that beard growth is not the intended purpose of these supplements. Instead, they’re designed to increase muscle mass and sex drive. Any increase in beard growth will be a happy side-effect.
Beards are currently very fashionable, and a lot of male celebrities are sporting facial hair. Beard transplants have become increasingly popular, and there are lots of oils and other supplements that may enhance beard growth.
But, the main driver of facial hair growth is and always will be testosterone. So, it makes sense to try and naturally raise your levels while avoiding anything that might lower testosterone production.
Remember, though, that genetics also plays a part in beard growth, and some men are less sensitive to the effects of DHT, so you could have slow beard growth while still having an abundance of testosterone.
All you can do is TRY to grow a beard, and put the beard-growing tips in this article to good use. And if you can’t grow the beard of your dreams, just blame it on your dad and grandad, as your genetics may be against you.
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