UNDERSTANDING BEARDS: PHASES AND FACTORS THAT AFFECT BEARD GROWTH
Factors that Affect Beard Growth
Genetics is one factor that greatly affects one’s probability to grow a beard. Fathers who have long and healthy beards can pass down their gene to their sons, but there is still a possibility that this trait won’t be handed over. Nonetheless, taking a look at one’s lineage is crucial in identifying one’s potential to develop a full beard.
The appearance of facial hair typically starts by the age of 13, or just when a young man hits puberty. Women, on the other hand, are also vulnerable to growing unwanted mustache because of hormonal imbalance.
The period that leaves a lot of allowance for facial hair growth is between ages 25 and 35. This is called the “beard prime” phase in which men can expect the healthy growth of their mustache and beard.
A man’s testosterone level greatly determines his chance of growing facial and body hair. At a young age, boys develop thin facial hair also called vellus. As they mature, this thin hair becomes thicker and blacker in color due to the testosterone their body continuously produces. As the facial hair grows, hair under the arms, on the chest and near the reproductive organ also develops. Conversely, a low testosterone level can account for the weak growth of facial hair.
One’s origins and race also influence beard growth. For instance, Native Americans, Latin Americans and Asians are less prone to developing facial hair as compared to Greeks and Italians.
Three Phases of Growth: How Long Does it Take for a Beard to Fully Grow?
Androgenic hair, also known as the facial hair, goes through three stages: the anagen, the catagen and the telogen phases.
The first phase, the anagen, is the stage of growth which can last from several months up to a year. Unlike the scalp hair that goes through this phase for a couple of years before it comes to a halt, the androgenic hair swings by this process much shorter, which explains why the facial hair never grows long enough to reach the floor.
During the anagen stage, the facial hair can grow to about 1 cm every month, so if the hair is healthy enough to develop for a year, it can maximize its growth and reach 12 cm.
Afterwards, the androgenic hair undergoes a resting period for a couple of weeks, also known as the catagen phase, before it enters the telogen phase.
Just like the catagen stage, no growth occurs within the telogen stage as it only leaves room for the transition of hair follicles. As old follicles retire, new ones take their place, and the cycle repeats. The telogen phase lasts for about 4 months.
To sum it all up, a man’s beard can grow as long as 1 cm per month. After its stage of growth, the hair follicles reaches its limit, goes through a resting phase and falls out to give way for new hair follicles to grow. Hence, with proper care, a beard can look healthy and full in just a couple of months.