We all have a mental image of our dream beard. Some of us desire the wild caveman look of Jason Momoa or the classical lumberjack aesthetic. For others, it could be something tightly groomed or a permanent five o’clock shadow popularized on the red carpet.
That perfect beard may seem like a distant ideal, and in practice, we must navigate a long timeline and awkward in-between phases. But how long does it really take to grow the beard of your dreams, and what are the most important factors?
Our mission at Jae Pak MD Medical is to help you achieve that ultimate facial hair look and set reasonable expectations for clients of all backgrounds. Stay tuned and discover the factors at play when growing a beard and how long it might take.
Let’s get an idea of what average beard growth looks like so you don’t immediately reach for the razor when you don’t have full coverage after week two.
For some of us, growing a dense and shapely beard comes easily. For others, it can be a painfully slow process or may simply not be in the cards.
Let’s take a deep dive into the biggest factors contributing to the rate of beard growth and other factors that may limit outcomes.
Most men gain the ability to grow a full beard that covers the chin, cheeks, jaw, and lips between the ages of 25 and 35.
Because of increased testosterone production, this is also the time when facial hair grows most rapidly. Men in a younger age range tend to experience patchy spots and thinness in different areas.
Of course, some men sprout robust facial hair as soon as they hit the first stages of puberty, while other men still lack coverage well into their 40s and beyond. On average, facial hair growth eventually starts to slow down as we age.
Ethnicity clearly affects beard growth, likely due to evolutionary pressures in different areas of the world. Although the rate of facial hair growth doesn’t vary greatly between ethnicities, it does play a part in a beard’s thickness and overall development.
Based on some studies, Caucasians grow beards that appear thickest, with hair growing around the cheeks, jaw, lips, chin, and neck. Conversely, facial hair growth for East Asian men tends to concentrate around the mouth area, leading to a thinner look.
Hair diameter varies between ethnicities from 17 to 180 micrometers, affecting how full a beard appears.
Along with hormones, genetics is the biggest factor contributing to how quickly you can grow a beard and to what degree. Some men have genes that predispose them to grow patchy or sparse facial hair. The rate of beard development is also largely determined by DNA.
Looking up the family tree is never a guarantee. However, if full beards run in your family, you will likely be able to grow one as well, simply as a matter of probability.
Along with inherited traits, hormones are at the top of the list of the biggest factors in beard growth and speed. Testosterone, a key male growth hormone, affects many bodily processes, including muscle development, sexual function, and fat distribution.
Sufficient testosterone levels help promote healthy facial hair growth, especially during peak physical years. Male testosterone levels rise between 25 and 35, so many realize their beard-growing potential during this time.
There are many ways to increase testosterone levels, both naturally and synthetically. These range from maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Men who regularly exercise should have an easier time growing facial hair. This is partly hormonal and partly due to increased blood flow and nutrient delivery.
Working out also helps us sleep at night, which is when restoration and facial hair growth go into overdrive.
You can reap these benefits by getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise weekly. This can be broken into a regimen of strength training, including weightlifting, resistance bands, and weight machines, as well as cardio activities such as sprinting and rowing.
When our bodies are properly fueled, all systems work in unison for peak performance. As a bonus, a proper diet may help beard hair grow fuller and healthier.
Sadly, the standard Western diet is far from optimal, consisting of large quantities of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unstable synthetic cooking oils. Resulting in stored body fat and testosterone decline, this diet can be a killer for facial hair growth.
Trade in the treats and fast eats for a diet rich in saturated fats, protein, and vitamins A, C, and E. Chicken, salmon, shellfish, oatmeal, avocados, and eggs are just a few of the sources of these nutrients.
With beard and mustache growth, you’ve ultimately got to play the waiting game. Many simply do not let themselves reach their full beard potential before trimming it away. This is understandable because the in-between phases on the way to the destination can be awkward and unsightly.
Whether it’s the itchiness of the stubble phase or just generally feeling uncomfortable rocking an incomplete beard, most people don’t wait for the necessary two to four months.
Putting down the razor for that period is the best way to get your beard as close to the vision in your head — the idea that shaving your face will stimulate growth is only a myth that will slow your progress.
Generally speaking, the better your sleep, the better your overall health. For adult males, getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night may also improve beard growth speed and quality.
On average, men produce heightened testosterone during deep periods of sleep. Infrequent or inconsistent sleep can cause you to miss out on these benefits. Blood and nutrient circulation to the skin is also enhanced during sleep, which may promote beard growth.
Stress levels are tied to immune health, mental well-being, and overall wellness. When our immune system is weakened, it stresses other systems in our body, and facial hair may be compromised.
Increased stress levels are shown to cause hair loss on the scalp and may also slow beard growth and thickness.
Stress management is key to unlocking your beard’s fullest potential. Enjoying nature, exercising, and meditating can help combat chronic stress and chill for maximum beard gains.
Let’s face it; smoking has few benefits, if any. If you currently smoke tobacco or nicotine of any form, quit while you’re ahead. It can lead to better long-term health outcomes and may even improve the quality of your beard.
Hair loss is among the laundry list of negative side effects of this habit. If you want to grow your dream beard, what better excuse to finally ditch the cigarettes?
You may not realize it, but practicing proper hygiene and maintaining a skincare regimen can improve your beard and promote quicker growth.
Regular washing and moisturizing help reduce irritation and increase the hydration of hair follicles, both necessary for longevity and development.
These are the ideal conditions for growing a hydrated, healthy-looking, and healthy-feeling beard. Don’t skip skin care, even on a busy schedule.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that may impact beard development. This condition causes the body to attack hair follicles which can lead to patchiness and hair loss in both the scalp and beard areas.
There is no proven cure for this type of alopecia, but there are some ways to help improve the appearance of your hair. The most commonly used treatments for reducing the symptoms include minoxidil, steroid injections, and creams applied to the skin.
Most factors affecting beard growth speed come down to genetics and hormones. Still, you’ve got control over key habits and health tactics to gain an advantage.
Here are a few techniques that may help anyone struggling to achieve their beard goals.
On the simpler end of growth improvement is beard oil.
Typically made of essential oils and extracts, including jojoba, argan, sweet almond, and rosemary, beard oil hydrates and moisturizes beard hair. It also reduces irritation and dry skin, which impede growth.
Tons of different supplements on the market claim to improve beard growth and beard health.
Often these are men’s multivitamins marked up to high prices due to rebranding and marketing. They may help boost nutrients missing in your diet, but don’t expect instant transformations.
Microblading is a form of cosmetic tattooing most commonly used for eyebrows.
Practitioners use a manual tattoo machine to get pigments in the skin. Tiny blade strokes emulate the appearance of hair and create a natural look. In a pinch, this can help your beard look fuller and more authentic as you wait for natural growth.
Derma rolling, also known as microneedling or microchanneling, is a method of collagen induction therapy typically used for treating acne scars and wrinkles but can also help with beard growth.
A derma roller has tiny needles that pierce the skin and stimulate collagen production. The amino acids in collagen promote hair growth by increasing blood flow to the area, along with other growth factors that benefit general skin and hair health.
Beard transplantation is the fastest and most permanent way to realize a full beard, no matter your background or genetic limitations.
Skilled cosmetic surgeons begin the process by removing fine hair attached to healthy follicles from the back of the head and other donor areas. These grafts are then transplanted in the beard area and grow productively with a high success and satisfaction rate.
Achieving the beard of your dreams is not an overnight process, even for men with optimal genetics and lifestyle. Many factors coincide to determine the look and feel of your facial hair and how quickly a beard materializes.
For many of us, putting down the razor and watching it grow is the best bet to achieve our beard goals. For others, medical intervention may help move things along.
Consult with Dr. Jae Pak today if you’re ready to accelerate your facial hair results safely and sustainably.
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