There’s always a point in our lives where we see a certain look a celebrity has or even the people around you and we wonder why can’t we achieve it. In this case, we’re talking about a nice manly set of facial hair. We look at celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jason Momoa, Ed Hardy, Idris Elba and not to forget Hagrid. We then look into the mirror, defeated at the sight of what looks like an old primary school soccer field - sparse and patchy. In this article, we explore  what actually affects achieving a solid set of facial hair as well as the things we can do and also possibly avoid in the race to an aesthetic masculinity. 

Factors Affecting Facial Hair Growth.

There are a myriad of variables that one should actually look at when wondering whether the old beard is even possible to begin with. Genetics, testosterone, age and ethnicity all play some form of fundamental reasoning to either a strong or weak beard.

Androgens are the hormones responsible for masculine characteristics such as a deep voice and the ability to grow facial hair. The androgen hormone, testosterone is converted by an enzyme in your body called 5-alpha reductase into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT increases the growth of facial hair when it binds to your hair follicle receptors. The sensitivity of your hair follicles to DHT unfortunately, determines the degree of its effects - which is linked to genetics.

However, while DHT triggers beard growth, it also suppresses hair growth on the head, which is also a reason why you see a lot of bald dudes with killer beards.


Genetics 


Genetics plays a big role in determining whether you are able to grow a reasonable beard in the first place. Unfortunately, genetics is a primary factor as to why your facial hair is either brilliant or just sub-par. If your father or grandfather is sporting a healthy beard, it's more than likely the case that you will also be able to grow a similar facial mane. 


Age


Generally, puberty for males ends at around the age of 16-18 years old. However, this does not mean that if you don’t see a full man’s mane at that age, you’re destined for a life of baby faced boredom. Until approximately the age of 30, men's facial hair thickness tends to increase. If you're in your early twenties or teens, your beard is likely to thicken as you get older. So not to worry, it should come in, provided you see thick beards in the family of course.


Testosterone


Low testosterone may play a role in beard growth in some circumstances. Facial hair is almost non-existent in people with extremely low testosterone levels.
This is in the case where your testosterone levels are clinically low, otherwise, they are unlikely to affect the growth of facial hair. If you have low testosterone however , you may suffer from one of the following; irritability, low libido, constant fatigue, erectile dysfunction,trouble building muscle as well as increased body fat. Even so, one should always check with a dermatologist to ascertain the root problem - no pun intended. 


Ethnicity


Yes we all see it, and there’s nothing wrong or fundamentally racist with the fact that certain ethnicities would have more facial hair or would find it easier to grow facial hair. It’s quite evident that individuals with North Mediterranean or North Scandinavian descent tend to have the ability to grow thicker beards compared to individuals from different areas. In its most fundamental purpose, beards provided protection from the cold and as well as the sun and would also act as a moisturiser. Which makes sense when we look at the harsh environments of those areas. Evolution is affected by multiple factors and the environment plays a large role in it. 

Interestingly, according to a recent study, Chinese men have more facial hair growth around the mouth whereas Caucasian men have facial hair concentrations on the cheeks, neck and chin.


What Can You Do?

 

Unless you’re suffering from a medical problem that prevents you from growing a beard, one promising method is a lifestyle change. Here’s a few things;

  • Exercise: Regular exercise promotes muscle growth. The more muscle we have the more testosterone is present. Which is a factor for hair growth.
  • A Balanced Diet: Eating a well-balanced diet will help you receive all of the nutrients you need, avoiding micronutrient shortages that can stifle hair development. 
  • Have Patience: If you're a teenager or in your twenties, your beard will come in, in your later years.
  • Regular Sleep: A proper sleep routine allows your body to restore itself better, which will definitely positively affect your skin.
  • Stop smoking: The bad and ‘hard to kick’ habit has a significant impact on the health of your skin, hair and nails.
At the end of it all, the number one factor that comes to play when you’re trying to grow a beard is your genetics. Unfortunately, our genetic make-up decides a lot of things, and not just our ability to grow facial hair.

However, don’t fret, if you do see manly manes running in your family and yours hasn’t come in yet give it time and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In the case that you do suffer from a medical condition that prevents you from growing facial hair, don’t worry about it, a beard isn’t the only benchmark for manliness.