Growing a beard can be a tricky thing for some men, especially depending on their genetics and their age.
As with most things, they say good things come to those who wait, but when all your friends have thick chins full of stubble and all you have are a few well groomed strands, waiting can be very difficult.
But how long does it actually take the average person to grow a beard, and what can be done to expedite the process?
How Long Does It Take?
For the average male, with an average ability for facial hair growth, it can take two to four months for a good covering.
However, this is by no means uniform for all men, and depending on your genetic disposition, the level of facial hair you can grow can vary tremendously.
What Determines Beard Growth?
Ultimately, a person’s ability to grow a beard is directly linked to the levels of testosterone they have in their bodies – in particular dihydrotestosterone.
Strangely enough, the presence of dihydrotestosterone is the leading contributor to male pattern baldness – especially when present in high amounts.
This is a strange concept to unpackage on the face of it, especially when you consider how close the chin is to the scalp, but it is down to the ways that dihydrotestosterone reacts to those specific areas that causes such radical differences in hair production.
Dihydrotestosterone: What Is It?
Dihydrotestosterone is an endogenous, androgen sex steroid and hormone, and is responsible for the simulation of hair follicles in the lower face, as well as other parts of the anatomy.
Dihydrotestosterone is a byproduct of testosterone, and the production of this – and the impact on beard growth – continues long after puberty has ended.
The presence of testosterone, and thus dihydrotestosterone, can vary – depending on genetics, and even the seasons.
Why Does Testosterone Fluctuate?
Testosterone is a hormone primarily produced in the testicles, and on a genetic level, is what makes a man, a man.
While the seasonal fluctuations of testosterone are not entirely understood by scientists, it has been proven that testosterone levels reach their peak in late autumn/early winter, and are at their lowest around June in the peak of summer.
Speaking purely speculatively, perhaps there was historically a greater need for higher testosterone in the winter months, when the weather was colder, more bracing, and harder to survive.
Surely during this time it would pay for males – who were primarily hunters – to be stronger, have more muscle mass, have greater beard and body hair growth, and have the necessary energy and empowerment to ensure themselves and their kin made it through such harsh conditions?
But of course, this is just a theory, and scientists are still baffled as to why this happens, and whether it holds any clinical significance to the seasonal health and wellbeing of the modern man.
Beard Growth & Genetics
Obviously genetics play a large role in how well you can grow facial hair. Chances are, if your father and grandfather had trouble growing facial hair, then you will unfortunately share the same issue.
But how exactly do genetics affect hair growth, at least on the surface level?
Beards & Race
Genetics are so important when it comes to beard growth, that some races can grow thicker beards than others can.
Historically, caucasians and those of the African dispara are much more capable of growing thicker, evenly distributed facial hair with little problems, whereas those from Asian backgrounds generally have thinner facial hair distributed primarily around the mouth.
However, those of Mediterranean heritage have a greater potential for beard growth than all of the above combined.
The reasons for this are not entirely understood, but the fact of the matter remains that race and genetics play a large role in a person’s ability to grow facial hair.
Parents & Grandparents
The rate and thickness of which your father and grandfathers can grow facial hair provide a strong genetic template for our own growth – although there are no guarantees.
Unlike male pattern baldness, which is known to originate from the maternal half of a person’s genetics, scientists are not sure which side affects beard growth in men.
What they do know though, is that there is no uniformity, and men whose fathers had thick beards could still not be able to grow them – and vice versa.
How To Encourage Beard Growth
When it comes to beard growth, there are certainly no guarantees, and ultimately it all comes down to our own complex genetics.
However, there are steps you can take to put the odds more in your favor, maybe even encouraging the beard growth you so desperately yearn for.
Managing Overall Health
Firstly, ensuring overall physical health is a great way to encourage beard growth. This means taking exercise, eating a balanced nutritious diet, and avoiding pollutants like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
You can also eat foods that are known to encourage the boosting of hormone levels within the body.
Foods like alfalfa sprouts, olive oil, sorghum, and (oddly enough) coffee, are all known to do just that, and a balanced diet with plenty of these things could deliver results.
Boosting your system with multivitamins, biotin, carnitine, and mucuna pruriens are the best way of reinforcing your system, bolstering your immunity, and encouraging healthy hair growth, amongst other things.
Things like facial massages, beard exfoliation, and derma rolling are great ways to encourage circulation and hopefully improve beard growth.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about beard growth, how long it takes, and things that can affect it.
What’s worth remembering is that beard growth is unique to the individual, and while there are certain predictors, we are ultimately slaves to the complex genetics that make us who we are.