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For some, growing a beard looks like a walk in the park. However, it can be a painfully slow and seemingly impossible task for some others.
It feels like an endless struggle to roll a boulder up a hill only to roll down again (remember the myth of Sisyphus?).
When it comes to beard growth, there is no shortage of myths.
One that never goes away is the belief that shaving can make the beard thicker. Shaving doesn’t affect the hair roots and in no way does it influence their growth.
Higher testosterone levels are also not a sure ticket to a lush beard. Although it’s a fact that testosterone has a part to play in hair growth, low testosterone levels don’t always spell a beardless face.
Like your eye color, height, and other physical attributes, your ability to grow a beard is largely determined by your genes.
If your father has always struggled to grow his facial hair, you will likely encounter the same stumbling block.
A recent study conducted last 2022 sought to determine the specific genes that relate to hair growth. It included participants from a diverse mix of ancestry, and here’s what they discovered:
Eighteen genes directly influence beard growth, and the most notable are EDAR, LNX1, PREP, and FOXP2.
Let’s focus on EDAR.
EDAR controls beard thickness and hair shape. This gene affects your hair follicle density all over your body and, more evidently, your head hair.
If you’ve had issues with a patchy beard, it could be your EDAR out of whack.
Several elements affect your ability to grow a beard and its quality.
This article will survey the most likely reasons you’re having trouble growing a beard. This understanding will help you make informed decisions about where you can direct your efforts.
Certain hormones activate or regulate your genes, determining how specific traits will be expressed. In other words, if the genes for growing hairs are not “switched on,” you will have slow or no beard growth.
Androgen hormones influence the expression of masculine traits like a deep voice and the ability to grow a facial mane. An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase testosterone (an androgen hormone) creates dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT stimulates hair growth by binding to the receptors on your hair follicles. However, its effectiveness depends on the sensitivity of your hair follicles to DHT. And your genes largely determine how sensitive the follicles are going to be.
Your genes already have some script regarding the number of hair follicles you will have around your body.
These hairs will become active at different stages in a man’s life, with the facial being the last to manifest. If you hit puberty earlier, your beard will appear earlier too. If it occurred much later, say, at 15, your hair follicles will also activate much later.
In some cases, having low testosterone levels may cause poor beard growth. Males with extremely low testosterone may not grow any facial hair at all. It’s important to note that these levels must be clinically low to have any noticeable impact on beard growth; otherwise, you should grow facial hair as normal.
Low testosterone levels are associated with:
Your race also affects your facial hair growth.
People from Mediterranean countries or of Mediterranean descent can grow thick beards more easily than others. A 2012 study reported that Chinese men generally have less facial hair than Caucasian men.
The internet is jammed with many claims and suggestions to grow your beard. Unfortunately, many of them lack any substantial evidence.
Unless you have a medical condition preventing you from growing facial hair, a healthy lifestyle is a surefire way to achieve a full, dense beard.
Effective beard growth depends on several factors, including your genes, age, hormones, ethnicity, and lifestyle. Your genes largely determine the set of hair follicles you will have around your body. If you’re of Mediterranean descent or Caucasian, you will likely grow more facial hairs.
When it comes to growing a beard, leading a healthy lifestyle is your best bet. Eating healthy and avoiding stress can positively impact your facial hair and overall health. Investing in high-quality beard care products can help carve a smoother path toward beard glory.