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  • September 15, 2023 4 min read

    The Science Behind Beard Growth: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction

    Beards have been a symbol of masculinity and style for centuries, and they continue to be a prominent trend in the world of men's grooming. In the quest for a full and glorious beard, it's helpful to understand the science behind beard growth and to separate facts from fiction. Let's delve into this hairy subject.


    The Simple Anatomy of Beard Growth

    To understand how beards grow, we need to take a closer look at the hair follicles and the hormones responsible for their development. Here's what you need to know:

    1. Hormones Matter: Testosterone plays a significant role in beard growth. During puberty, the body experiences an increase in testosterone levels, which stimulates the growth of facial hair. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone, contributes to beard development. Worth noting: while DHT plays a large part in a man's ability to grow a thick beard, high levels also contribute to male pattern baldness. This is why it's not uncommon for bald men to grow thick, envy-worthy beards.


    2. Hair Follicles: Beard hair grows from hair follicles, which are tiny structures in the skin. The density and distribution of these follicles determine your beard's pattern. Genetics largely dictate the number and placement of follicles, which influence beard growth. 


    3. Growth Phases: Hair goes through different growth phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (rest). Beard hair tends to have an extended anagen phase, allowing it to grow longer than scalp hair.


    Distinguishing Facts from Fiction

    Now, let's clarify some common myths surrounding beard growth and separate them from the facts:


    Myth 1: Shaving will make your beard thicker

    Fact: Shaving doesn't alter the thickness or density of your beard. This myth likely stems from the observation that freshly cut hair can appear coarser initially because it has a blunt tip. Over time, it will return to its normal texture. 


    Myth 2: If you can't grow a beard, applying a beard growth serum will fix the problem.

    Fact: We're just going to say it. Beard growth serums don't work. We've yet to find a single product available to purchase anywhere in the world that will make a beard grow where your genes and current health won't have it. While beard grooming products like conditioners, oils, and balms can improve hair health and appearance, they won't make a beard magically grow. However, some products can help maintain a healthy beard and encourage healthy hair growth by preventing breakage and nourishing the hair and skin. This is an important distinction. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Be wary of any products that make bold beard growth claims.


    Myth 3: Frequent Trimming Boosts Growth

    Fact: We're big fans of beard trims. Regularly trimming your beard can help maintain its shape and prevent split ends, but it won't accelerate growth. Beard growth primarily occurs at the follicular level, and trimming doesn't affect the follicles themselves.


    Myth 4: Anyone can grow a beard if they have the right products

    Fact: Beard growth is highly individual and primarily determined by genetics, ancestry, and overall health. Some men may have rapid and robust beard growth, while others may have slower and sparser growth. Accepting and embracing your unique beard growth pattern is essential. Using high-quality products can improve how your beard looks and feels, but products alone will not make a beard grow.


    Myth 5: Beard Supplements Guarantee Growth

    Fact: Various supplements claim to promote beard growth, but their effectiveness is often unproven. Nutrition is an obvious factor in overall health, and if you suspect that you're lacking, we highly suggest seeking out specialized support (a functional medicine doctor can be invaluable here). We'd be cautious of any company promoting supplements that make bold claims about increasing beard growth without providing the receipts of studies proving their effectiveness. 


    Myth 6: Beard Color Indicates Growth Rate

    Fact: This is a weird one, and we're not sure where this myth came from. Beard colour is unrelated to growth rate. Genetics determine both the colour and growth pattern of your beard hair. Premature graying or changing hair colour is influenced by genetics and age and doesn't play a role in how quickly your beard grows.


    Myth 7: You can stimulate Beard Growth with Massages

    Fact: This one is tricky. While facial massages can improve blood circulation and promote overall skin health, there's no scientific evidence to suggest that they directly stimulate beard growth. However, they may indirectly support healthy follicles, which could improve beard growth if your genetics already support it. 


    Understanding the science behind beard growth is helpful for dispelling common myths and misconceptions. While some factors, like genetics, are beyond your control, taking good care of yourself through proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep prioritization can be helpful. Maintaining a healthy beard grooming routine by washing, exfoliating, hydrating and moisturizing, can help you create the best conditions for healthy hair growth for your unique genetic makeup. Embrace your beard journey, and remember that a well-groomed beard, regardless of its thickness and length, can exude confidence and style.

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