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A Beard Owner's Guide to the Stages of Beard Development

How does beard growth work?

For the most part, it’s genes – specifically, hormones with names like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – and heredity. Anagen is the growing phase, catagen is the transitional phase, and telogen is the resting phase of a beard’s life. Beards can look a bit disorganized since facial hair follicles don't all work together.

Alongside nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress, the quality and rate of beard growth is also influenced by various factors. A variety of medical conditions and side-effects of drugs can stimulate or inhibit the growth of facial hair. Understanding the biology of male beard growth might help to understand how beard grows, but also why it is so peculiar. Genetics, hormones, lifestyle and general health are simply a few of the factors influencing the complex process of growth.


Genetics and Hormones

The two main players in beard development are hormones, specifically testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), as well as genetics. There are three distinct phases of a beard's life cycle: anagen, catagen, and telogen. A patchwork beard develops because your face's hair follicles aren't all working together. A number of factors might be responsible , such as diet , sleep , exercise or stress . Face hair can be spiked or slowed by various medical conditions and drug side-effects, which can either promote or dampen its appearance. Not only does that make it easier to understand beard growth, it also makes it easier to understand what causes it. Heredity, hormones, lifestyle, and general health all play a role in the beard life cycle.


Stages of Beard Growth

Growth unfolds in three stages – anagen, catagen and telogen. During ‘anagen’, which lasts an average of two to six years, the beard grows all on its own, at a rate of 1.25 cm a month more or less. After a brief ‘catagen’ phase in which the hair follicle retreats and actually ‘sheds’ the epidermis, the beard enters a resting phase known as ‘telogen’. During this phase, while new hair is formed, old hair falls out. But remember, all the follicles in your face (and that does include your lip, chin, cheeks, and sometimes your mystic frontier) are not growing hairs at the same time. Beards tend to grow in an uneven style – some parts faster than others – because of this.


Lifestyle Factors

Handsome middle age man with a beard running and exercising outside on extremely cold and snowy day. Sport and fitness motivation theme.

Beard growth, as is the case with most human hair, depends on your nutrition, rest, and physical activity levels. A well-balanced diet, which should be high in the right proteins, vitamins and minerals, will provide the nutrition needed by your beard-follicles. All the cells in your body are repaired and renewed when you sleep, so you need to get enough of it. Exercise, especially resistance and HIIT training, leads to increased testosterone levels, which in turn can improve your beard growth. Remember, stress can suppress beard growth. The stress hormone cortisol inhibits the production of testosterone, which can inhibit your beard growth.


Health Conditions and Medications

Medical issues and drugs can also impact beardedom. For instance, beard development can be inhibited by various disorders, such as hypogonadism (inadequate secretion of the male sex hormone testosterone and luteinising hormone), starvation, and certain skin disorders. Meanwhile, hypertrichosis and other medical issues, as well as certain drugs, can lead to untamed growth of facial hair. Various factors, including your genes, hormones, lifestyle and health, will dictate how fast or slow your beard will grow. And now that you know this, you can manage your expectations about beard growth and be that guy with a full, lustrous beard.

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