Are Your Genes Supporting Your Beard Growth Efforts?

Posted by Samantha Ruggiero on August 02, 2023
how genes affect beard growth

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.

How Your Genes Support or Sabotage Your Beard Growth

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.

Factors Influencing Beard Growth

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:

  1. Low Sex Drive
  2. Erectile Dysfunction
  3. Difficulty Building Muscle
  4. Increased Body Fat Ratio
  5. Irritability and Mood Changes
  6. Fatigue


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.

  1. Balanced diet. Eating healthy prevents or corrects any nutrient deficiency that might negatively impact your beard growth.
  2. Use effective beard growth products. Beard growth products like beard care kits often contain ingredients that nourish and moisturize the skin and hair, which can help to create an environment that is conducive to hair growth. 
  3. Less stress. Some studies have shown that stress can reduce beard thickness and growth.
  4. More sleep. Your body requires sleep to repair itself and recalibrate vital functions. Getting enough sleep helps you achieve a lush beard and a healthy body.
  5. Avoid smoking. It’s been proven by several studies that smoking is detrimental to your beard and skin, and overall health.
  6. Be patient. You may have to wait a little more for your full and dense beard to manifest, especially if you’re still in your teens or 20s.

The Bottom Line

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.