Does Genetics Affect Beard Growth? Here is the Science Behind Growing a Beard

Let’s delve into the basics. Beards grow on average ½ inch per month. At this rate, a beard will theoretically grow almost 3 feet long (if left untrimmed) after 6 years, after which the beard will very likely cease to grow due to the growth stage naturally running its due course. Keep in mind that these stats are average and there can be a little variation from person to person. So, it takes about 2-4 months of continuous growth for a full beard, though that varies from man to man depending on other factors. Between the age of 25 to 35 years, men will experience their longest and strongest beard growth spur and thus is the optimal time to grow the thickest beard at the quickest rate.

Do genetics play a role in determining beard thickness?

Genetics plays a key role in determining your physical traits such as height, skin color, eye shape, and hair growth pattern. Similarly, the length and thickness of your beard are primarily determined by your genetic makeup. If your parents and grandparents had a thick beard; you are most likely to grow a thick beard as well. Hormones play a key role in the body’s hair distribution. Androgens are the male hormones responsible for masculine traits like deepening of the voice, increase in body’s hair and muscle mass, changes in fat storage around the body, and height spurt. How exactly your genetic makeup affects your hair growth pattern? Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are specifically responsible for beard and hair growth patterns. Every individual responds to the hormones in a different way and the way our body responds to these hormones greatly impacts hair growth. If you’re genetically predetermined to grow a scant beard, you won’t be able to grow a thick and long beard even if your testosterone levels are normal. 

How DHT works?

Nearly 10% of the testosterone gets converted into dihydrotestosterone daily and the percentage is much lower before puberty. It explains the fact why toddlers don’t develop a beard. 

Role of DHT in hair loss and male pattern baldness

Once DHT is freely flowing in your plasma, it gets attached to the receptors on hair follicles and makes them shrink in size. Hence, they become less capable of supporting healthy hair growth. DHT is one of the key factors that lead to male pattern baldness. In individuals with a family history of male pattern baldness should be cautious and if you have just started to show signs a receding hairline, you need to schedule your appointment with the doctor asap. 

In some individuals, full beard comes as soon as they hit 18 or 19 years of age but others still have to wait for their mid-20s or even later. It is a fact that some men may never be able to achieve a thick and full beard of their dreams since hormones and genetics play a key role in the beard growth pattern. But dietary changes and some cosmetic techniques can surely be helpful in this regard. 

Role of testosterone

Having a lower than normal testosterone levels can negatively affect your beard growth despite causing other problems in the body. Such individuals can be benefitted from testosterone supplements taken strictly by doctor’s advice but the body response to testosterone also differs from person to person. Testosterone is the key physiological hormone that is responsible for male sexual characteristics including;

  • Regulation of androgen levels
  • Regulating bone mass and density
  • Fat distribution in the body
  • Regulation of sperm production
  • Regulation of moods, emotion, and behavior

Is it advisable to use testosterone for facial hair growth?

It is not advisable to self-medicate yourself with testosterone supplements available in the market. You need a detailed clinical and laboratory investigations before starting any medication. So, you have to visit a classified endocrinologist or a general physician and get yourself examined before starting any sort of medication. Testosterone supplementation is only prescribed to individuals having its deficiency. It can be accessed by looking at serum LH, FSH, and testosterone.

Testosterone supplements should strictly be used on the advice of a registered medical practitioner; self-medication can have fatal outcomes. You should go for a hormonal profile test before starting any medication.

Effect of DHT Blockers

Since DHT is associated with male pattern baldness, several medications including DHT blockers can help in treating DHT related hair loss. Some well-known DHT blocking ingredients include;

  • Aloe vera
  • Coconut oil
  • Emu oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Pygeum bark
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • caffeine
  • Almond oil
  • Olive oil
  • Argan oil
  • Medications include
  • Finasteride
  • Minoxidil
  • Biotin
  • Vitamin B6 & B12

Side effects of DHT Blockers

Every medication has its benefits and side effects. So the side effects associated with DHT blockers include:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Excessive fat deposition
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Darkening and thickening of facial and body hair
  • Cardiovascular abnormalities due to salt or water retention especially associated with minoxidil

Both parents contribute to the beard genetics

Remember that you inherit genes from both your father and mother. So your genetic makeup will be a combination of the genes you inherit from both parents. Your beard may resemble your dad or maybe your maternal grandfather.

What are the other causes of hair loss?

Although DHT is one of the major cause of hair thinning or hair fall, some other known causes of hair loss in men include;

  • Alopecia areata
  • Thyroid dysfunction 
  • Lichen planus
  • Celiac disease
  • Scalp infection
  • Bamboo hair 

Genetics, age, sleep pattern, diet, exercise, smoking habits all play a role in determining your beard growth and thickness. So if want to get a full and thicker beard, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Our sleep pattern greatly affects the hormonal balance in the body. It is important to get 8 hours of sleep daily for every adult. Apart from that, maintaining healthy body weight is also crucial for optimal beard growth. Obesity tends to lower the beard growth rate in males along with other problems. So, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle to achieve your dream thick and long beard. 

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