Like most things in life, it’s fair to say that not all beards have been created equal. This means that whilst some grow to be thick and fulsome in their nature, others may be noticeably patchy and far less visually impressive.
This has not stopped beards from becoming increasingly popular in the UK, however, with YouGov data from 2017 revealing that facial hair has been capturing the imagination of younger Brits since 2011. So, despite various suggestions that beards are no longer in vogue, the numbers seem to confirm that this is far from the case.
Still an uneven beard is unlikely to appeal to many, and if your facial hair grows in patches the chances are that you’ll shave this off sooner rather than later. However, this may prevent your facial hair from realising its full potential, particularly as there are various steps that you can take to fix a patchy beard.
Why do you Have a Patchy Beard?
Before we discuss the various ways in which you can make your beard more fulsome, it’s important to consider why facial hair grows unevenly in the first place?
In fact, there are various reasons for this, some of which are genetic and others that may emerge as the result of stress. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Genetics: Just as male pattern baldness causes systematic and progressive hairloss in approximately two-thirds of men aged 35, your genetic makeup can also impact the way in which your facial hair grows. In fact, having elevated levels of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can enable you to grow a strong and fulsome beard, which is interesting given that heightened sensitivity to this hormone can trigger male pattern baldness.
- Alopecia Areata: Whilst Alopecia Areata is a relatively rare condition, it can have a significant impact on hair growth across your body. Also known as “spot baldness”, it forms random coin-shaped bald spots in any area where hair grows, meaning that your beard may evolve with clear and obvious bald patches. Stress and genetics can serve as triggers for this condition, although tackling any underlying causes may reverse the effects over time.
- Hormone Imbalance: A decrease or fluctuation in hormones that directly influence male characteristics can also impact on facial hair growth, causing it to grow in thin and unsightly patches. A testosterone imbalance can be particularly impactful, as this is a key influencer of hair growth and plays a significant role in determining all male characteristics.
How do you Fix or Boost your Patchy Beard?
At this point, you should have a basic understanding of the core factors that can caused facial hair to grow in patches.
However, the question that remains is whether these factors can be overcome, and if so what steps can be taken to grow a thicker and more fulsome beard.
Give your Beard the Gift of Time
We spoke early about how easy it is for men to give up on patchy beards at a relatively early stage, but this can be the key reason why their facial hair fails to reach its full potential.
After all, beards tend to grow in seven different stages, whilst there are distinct cycles of the growth phase (Anagen, Catagen and Telogen) that have a direct impact on the appearance of facial hair at different points in time.
The initial stages of beard growth can certainly be slow and torturous, as your facial hair will sprout unevenly during this time and often cause your skin to itch. Even after six weeks or so, you’ll notice uneven growth in different areas of your face, as while some will be lush and fulsome others will boast far less density.
You should make a snap judgement on your beard at this time, primarily because the growth process is incomplete and your facial hair is likely to even out over the course of the subsequent few four weeks or so.
Not only this, but you’ll also have the opportunity to style and sculpt your facial hair as it continues to grow, and this may help you to disguise relatively patchy areas or at least achieve the ideal beard length.
Define, Create and Own your Look
The notion of sculpting your beard is a popular one, and it’s also central to dealing successfully with facial hair that appears to be growing unevenly.
This is undoubtedly preferable to picking up a razor and removing your facial hair, as you’ll simply be bound to repeat this process if you’re really committed to growing a full-sized beard.
Not only this, but shaping your facial hair also affords you an opportunity to seize control of your destiny, as you look to define, create and ultimately own a look that appears to be the product of design rather than accident.
On a fundamental level, keeping your beard short and well-trimmed is an excellent way of dealing with patchy growth, whether you maintain light stubble or regularly cropped facial hair. Similarly, beard styles such as the chin strap or goatee enable you to crop your facial hair and shave the areas where it typically grows in patches, without forcing you to compromise entirely on your objective.
Your choice of beard style is a deeply personal one, and it will depend on your own unique tastes and the level of patchiness that defines your facial hair.
Make no mistake; however, cultivating a strategic and deliberate look can overcome the issue of patchy facial hair growth and really help your beard to realise its potential!
Groom it! Groom it! Groom it!
For some, grooming a beard is little more than a cosmetic step to make your facial hair look as impressive as possible.
There’s far more to grooming than this, however, as grooming your beard helps to keep it healthy and deal with the advent of patchiness and decidedly uneven growth.
One of the most simple and effective steps is to brush your facial hair, as this is known to add volume and create a more fulsome look. It achieves this by lifting individual hairs, whilst also increasing the blood flow to your skin and promoting long-term beard growth.
Just remember to use a specialist beard brush, as this helps you to achieve the optimal results and a truly desirable style.
We’d also recommend that you wash your facial hair with dedicated beard shampoo, which is should be an essential part of any grooming regime.
The reason for this is simple; as shampoos clears away dirt, debris and dead skin cells, ensuring that your beard remains soft and malleable for styling. The key is to use a specifically-designed shampoo for facial hair, whilst also refraining from washing your beard every single day (as this can dry out your hair and make patchiness even more noticeable).
Use Products (But Sparingly)
Beard shampoo is an example of an effective and natural product that can actively enhance the health of your facial hair, whilst also enabling you to disguise patches that have grown unevenly.
Another popular product of this type is beard oil, which is often loaded with essential oils and natural ingredients that can actively treat the skin and hair follicles whilst simultaneously enhancing healthy beard growth.
Most essential oils also boast anti-microbial properties that deliver deep and effective cleaning, whilst making your facial hair softer and far easier to sculpt. This type of product will also remove any dead skin cells from your face, boosting air growth and removing the dreaded beard itch in the process!
Beard balm is another popular product, and one that serves as an extremely effective grooming tool. In this respect, it has the potential to transform your beard over a sustained period of time, which means that those patchy areas of growth could gradually become a thing of the past.
This type of product also features several essential oils, whilst the inclusion of Shea and Cocoa butter deliver exceptional moisturising properties. This will certainly aid your skin and boost the strength of your hair, by damaging any repairs and helping your beard to grow more fulsome over time.
By identifying the most natural products and using these as part of a regular grooming regime throughout the week, you can optimise the appearance of your beard and hopefully tackle any patchy areas directly.
Understand the Impact of Diet and Exercise
Studies have also shown that our nutritional intake can also impact directly on hair growth, and those of you with an imbalanced or inadequate diet may well see your beard thin out or grow in patches over a concerted period of time.
More specifically, a lack of essential nutrients such as zinc, iron, protein and Vitamins A, C, D, E and B may slow the rate of hair growth or in some instances causes sporadic baldness.
Similarly, an absence of biotin and essential fatty acids may also have a detrimental impact on your beard, so cultivating a healthy and balanced diet is important if you’re going to make the most of your burgeoning facial hair.
In fact, it can be argued that cultivating a diet with the proper nutrition is the single most important factor when dealing with a patchy beard, as this can drive optimal growth and thickness when it’s adhered to consistently.
There are several foods that you can include in your diet to help optimise hair growth, including eggs, fish, lean meats and poultry. These food items are all excellent sources of protein, which is also a key component of your hair follicles and central to consistent growth.
Your diet should also include leafy green vegetables (such as spinach), citrus fruits and sunflower seeds, as these contain healthy levels of Vitamin C and can therefore help your body to absorb the requisite amounts of iron.
It’s also recommended that you eat fish such as salmon at least two times a week, as this delivers a wide range of health benefits from boosting hair growth to optimising your heart health. This will provide you with adequate levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, although this can also be sourced through walnuts, flaxseed and nutritional supplements if you’re a vegetarian or vegan.
Aside from this, you should also take care to consume a sufficient amount of water each day. Doctors now recommend that you drink between two and three litres of water a day, as this will help to keep your body hydrated and ensure that it produces enough moisture to aid thick and fulsome beard growth.
Whilst you can drink a host of different fluids to hydrate your body, water is by far the most effective particularly if you want to maintain a healthy rate of facial hair growth.
Diet often goes hand-in-hand with exercise, as these two elements form part of a comprehensive and ultimately effective fitness regime. Working out regularly can also help to boost your facial hair growth, gradually making your patchy beard a thing of the past in the process.
There’s a very simple reason for this too; as working out increases your testosterone levels and therefore ensures that your facial hair grows at the optimal rate. As we touched on earlier, testosterone converts into DHT in the body, and this male sex hormone remains a key contributor to hair growth and muscle gain over time.
As a simple rule, men with higher levels of testosterone are likely to grow more and thicker facial hair than those who have lower levels, and in this respect exercising frequently is one of the best possible ways of tackling a patchy beard.
As an aside, working out regularly can also help you to increase your muscle gain and develop a killer body, which will sit well alongside a thick and fulsome beard. You may then consider shaving your head, as this helps to optimise the visual appearance of your upper body and contributes to a bold and striking new look!
Minimise Stress and Anxiety
Before we conclude, it’s fair to surmise that stress is also a key contributor to stunted hair growth and patchy beards.
There’s some sound scientific reasoning behind this; as stress increases the rate at which cortisol is produced in your body. This is a natural hormone that remains synonymous with the concept of “fight or flight”, whilst it also reduces your levels of testosterone, causes blood vessels to contract and makes it harder for nutrients to reach the hair follicles.
Understanding this is crucial, as you’ll need to minimise the levels of stress in your daily life if you’re to optimise hair growth and cultivate a visually impressive beard.
How you achieve this is entirely up to you, and this means that you’ll need to find a stress reducer that suits your own tastes and preferences. As a general rule, yoga and acupuncture are generally considered to be excellent methods of managing stress, whilst regularly exercising or playing sport can also provide a much needed release.
The Last Word
So there you have it; a breakdown of the triggers for patchy beard growth and a number of suggestions to help you overcome this issue.
Patience is probably the key takeaway here, as it’s important to ensure that you allow your facial hair time to grow and review the results after 12 weeks or more.
At the same time, try to sculpt your beard and provide it with the necessary nutrients, whilst using natural oils and balms to aid its long-term growth.