Facial hair is grown due to the androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and how well your body utilizes these via local androgen sensitivity. Without the combination of these, facial hair can be sparse, giving an appearance of a weak beard.
If you're the type, like us, that wants to fully utilize your body's hormones to grow a fuller beard, you've come to the right place.
Bear in mind that while these tips are sure to grow you a better beard, they won't necessarily make you grow a thick, full beard if you can't already grow something as it is; genetics still play a role in how your facial hair grows. We can, however, improve our circumstance with Androgrow's philosophy — through the use of science, practice, and passion. And in this particular case: a little patience.
One: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and/or Resistance Training
High intensity interval training has been shown to increase free testosterone. Even if you're a fairly active person, but one that doesn't partake in any sort of high-intensity training, you'll see the benefits of increased testosterone. With more T, you'll also be increasing your DHT.
- Testosterone responses to intensive interval versus steady-state endurance exercise: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23310924
If you're not active at all, now's as good a time as any to get started. Those in this inactive category will likely see the most benefits due to their current lifestyle. From mental wellness to an overall better-working body, to better facial hair. Fat stores estrogen, so losing a bit of body fat through HIIT can better balance your natural hormones.
As for resistance training, that's another option to either add onto, or replace, HIIT. The difference should merely be personal: would you rather hit the weights, or go sprinting? It's not always that basic, of course, but it's the quickest way to explain the difference between the two.
Two: Beard Products
As contradictory as this may sound due to the fact that many beard products on the market contain anti-androgens, there are some that can be helpful to your facial hair. Not necessarily through increasing androgen, but through stimulatory factors like enhanced blood flow to the local area.
Guys generally don't rub their faces with product everyday, but adding a beard oil or balm into your routine does just that. Along with brushing and combing your beard, this creates a method of regularly supplying your face with nutrients. Nutrients, testosterone and DHT are all found in your blood, so bringing these useful resources in abundance to your face is only a good thing.
In terms of brushing, a simple boar's hair brush is a good option, as the bristles are stiff enough to stimulate, but soft enough not to be too abrasive to your skin.
Three & Four: Vitamins & Supplements
Since our hair and bodies require macro and micronutrients to function properly, it's a no-brainer that you should always fill your nutritional gaps in some way. In terms of vitamins, you have a couple of choices:
- Buy fortified foods that contain vitamins that much of the population is deficient in.
- Buy the specific vitamins rather than the fortified food.
Either option is fine, and neither is really superior to the other. Whatever your preference is, filling your nutritional gaps through supplementation is always preferable over being deficient. If you're unsure whether you are deficient or not, getting blood work done with your doctor is the best route to take.
One thing to note, though: don't buy vitamins branded with "Beard" on them. They are not any better than the vitamins you can buy from reputable sources, and the claims that a lot of these companies make are misleading or entirely false. You'll be spending a premium on something you could get for much cheaper, that are reliably sourced. That's not to say that beard vitamins are not reliably sourced, but do your research.
Unsurprisingly, there are some great supplements out there that can enhance your facial hair by boosting your T, DHT, and androgen sensitivity. A couple of my personal favorites are:
- Creatine — shown to increase DHT in trained athletes.
- L-Carnitine L-Tartrate — upregulates androgen receptor content.
The two links above go to Androgrow's Glossary where you can learn more about specific vitamins and supplements that are out of the scope of this article.
Along with some resistance training or HIIT, supplements can be helpful assets to both your workout quality and growing your androgen content. All of which help you grow the fullest beard that you can.
Minox-what? But isn't minoxidil for balding folk?
It sure is. But it also isn't exclusive to treating alopecia. Men have been using minoxidil for many, many years in order to grow fuller facial hair. In fact, that's a side effect that has been seen in trials. There has also been a clinical trial in Thailand for beard enhancement using minoxidil.
A common misconception about using minoxidil for beard growth is that the hair falls out once you stop using it. This is untrue if the hair becomes terminal. The reason this misconception is around is simply due to the fact that it's true for head hair. Once you've started balding, it is a life-long process and there is no way to reverse it. Minoxidil does not reverse balding — it simply forces hair into a state of anagen and maintains that hair by opening potassium channels and allowing nutrients to reach the follicle.
In the case of facial hair, men are not balding there if they lack it; the follicles just haven't been activated and primed for growth. Once secondary hair reaches maturation, it is by and large permanent.
To learn more about the process, check out these useful resources:
- The Guide to Growing Your Beard with Minoxidil on Beard Profile
- Minoxidil Beard FAQ on the Beard Wiki
All hope isn't lost for better facial hair when you utilize science. Like in many aspects of life, you must be consistent, you must continue learning and growing, and you must have patience. Things don't happen in just a day or a week. You should never expect anything that's worth it to come easy. As cliche as that line may be, it holds true more often than not.
If rocking a beard is something you enjoy, work at it. It'll get better if you use all of the knowledge at your fingertips. Stay healthy and stay educated.