What is the most common advice you are going to get about a patchy beard; embrace it, love the way it is, others would say style your way around it. But, unless you are Johnny Depp with his Van Dyke beard, admit it, you look awful with your few and far scattered patches of hair. In fact, a patchy beard is one of the most common causes of beard aspirants to put an end to what otherwise could turn out to be a magnificent full beard.
So, if you are not in a mood to embrace your patchy beard and don’t want to style around it and want a full beard without patches; you are at the right place mate. We are going to tell you with science-based evidence what it takes to turn those scattered unruly patches into a magnificent full-grown beard.
We will go through what really causes a patchy beard and of course how we can grow a full beard without patches. If you want to skip the part of the cause, you can jump using navigation, but we would recommend you to have a read for better understanding.
Table of Contents
Different Causes of Patchy Beard
There are a number of documented reasons for a patchy beard. They range from being purely genetics and hormonal to being autoimmune conditions such as alopecia areata and your lifestyle choices. Some of them are curable and others are not. Here is a list of the most common causes of patchy beards and we will talk a little about each.
- Hormonal imbalance
- Infections (Bacterial and fungal)
- Autoimmune conditions like alopecia areata
- Nutritional deficiencies
1. Genetics and Patchy Beards:
Hairs develop from hair follicles and each person has different distribution and number of hair follicles. A man with denser and more closely nit hair follicles is going to grow a denser and fuller beard.
Conversely, a man with fewer follicles and uneven distribution of hair follicles is going to grow thinner hair. Thinner hairs, in essence, give the appearance of a patchy beard. Both the number and density of hair follicles are genetically driven and we can’t really do much about them. Of course, you can work on your hair texture to make them look denser and healthier.
Secondly, genes determine one other factor in hair growth which is sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Essentially, hair growth needs this hormone. Basically, people with denser beard growth are thought to have receptors on their hair follicles which are more sensitive to dihydrotestosterone. Science considers that men with lighter hair growth have fewer of these receptors. This, in turn, leads to thinner and patchy hair growth.
2. Hormonal Imbalance and Patchy Beards:
As stated earlier, dihydrotestosterone plays an important in hair growth. It is a metabolite of testosterone. So, a lack of testosterone can lead to patchy hair growth.
There are a lot of testosterone-boosting foods that you can take, they can also help your sex drive and muscle bulk. This can tempt you to go for testosterone pills or boosters, but we would recommend consulting your doctor before undertaking any such adventure.
3. Infections and Patchy Beards:
If you have always had a patchy beard and thin hair, it is most likely due to genetics. But, hair loss and hair thinning are relatively new to you, then there can be a number of reasons. One of them is folliculitis which is the inflammation of hair follicles and is either a bacterial or fungal infection. A few of these infective conditions include:
4. Autoimmune conditions and patchy beard:
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition. In this condition, our body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles and damages them. This results in very small patches of hair loss which may remain unnoticed. But, they can combine together and make a bigger patch of hair loss and be visible. Like most autoimmune conditions, it is still unknown what triggers this response.
5. Stress and patchy beard:
Stress has been linked with the constriction of blood vessels. Therefore, this leads to lesser blood flow to hair follicles which can result in thinner hair growth.
Additionally, stress also relates to the increased production of cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone. Studies have shown that higher cortisol level leads to lesser production of testosterone which in turn affects hair growth.
6. Nutritional deficiencies and patchy beard:
Last, but not least, nutritional deficiencies can cause hair loss, reduced hair growth, or the thinning of hair. Hair growth requires a lot of nutritional elements. These include proteins, different vitamins, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and water to say a few.
The above are the most common causes of a patchy beard. There are also some less common linkages with asthma, thyroid disease, and some mental conditions like Down’s Syndrome.
How to Grow a Full Beard Without Patches:
Now, we are getting to the business end of this discussion. Essentially, how we can grow a full beard without patches or how to fix a patchy beard. There are different things you can do to develop a full beard, but we can broadly characterize them into two basic categories.
One is grooming your patchy beard and the second is to make lifestyle and nutritional changes to promote hair growth. We will provide a detailed account of each and will give you easy-to-follow instructions to turn your patchy beard into a full-grown.
1. Grooming Your Patchy Beard:
Give it Time to Grow: First of all, we would recommend letting your beard grow for at least a month or two. This is because, as we talked about earlier, the basic reason behind the patchy beard is the uneven or scattered distribution of hair follicles. So, when you will grow your beard, it is more than likely that surrounding hairs will cover a bare patch and your bear will look thicker.
Brush it Regularly: Secondly, as you grow your hair, make a habit of brushing the hair regularly. The recommendation is to brush the hair in the same direction as you want your beard to grow. Not only this will clean your beard but it will also train your hair to keep growing.
Clean it: Thirdly, try to shampoo and condition your beard at least once a week. This will clean your beard and moisturize it. Remember to use a beard shampoo as the normal hair shampoos are strong and can leave your beard dry.
A conditioner will make your hair soft and make them look fuller. Polished Gentleman has an affordable combo of all-natural beard shampoo and conditioner and they are said to promote beard growth and thickening.
Nourish it: Cleanliness is at the heart of growing great beards, but what comes as a side effect of shampooing is the dryness of hair. However, different hair care products can correct this and these not only moisturize beard hairs but also nourish them.
These hair products include beard oils, beard balms, and beard waxes. All of them serve different purposes, but essentially they provide nourishment to hair with their different natural and essential oils. Honest Amish is a leading brand in beard care products and uses all-natural ingredients in their handmade products.
- Don’t neglect the skin underneath. Moisturize it regularly and exfoliate it to get rid of dead skin cells and promote skin regeneration. This will, in turn, leave healthy hair follicles.
- Don’t pull your hair. This can damage your hair follicles and can produce more bare patches.
- Don’t use clippers or trimmers early on. Use scissors instead, they are gentle on your hair as compared to trimmers or clippers.
- Don’t use the same products on your beard as you use on your head. This is because of the different textures of these hairs.
- Don’t give up on your beard if it is not growing the way you want it. Give it time, it will turn out great.
2. Lifestyle and Nutritional Changes for Better Hair Growth:
Like any other body part, your hair responds to your lifestyle choices and better lifestyle choices are essential to better hair growth. Here are some of the lifestyle and nutritional changes you can make for better hair growth.
Stress Less: As stated earlier, stress quite closely relates to thinner and patchy hair growth. Medical science believes that a higher level of the stress hormone, cortisol, has a link with lesser testosterone production. Lower levels of testosterone lead to lower dihydrotestosterone levels which are essential for hair growth.
So, we would recommend reducing your stress and anxiety levels. You can turn to meditation to reduce your stress levels. Headspace app is a great resource for guided meditation and mindfulness. However, if you still can’t control your stress and anxiety levels, we would advise you to take professional help.
Get Good Sleep: Lack of sleep causes a number of health issues. It is also thought to be linked with hair loss and hair thinning too. It is believed that good sleep or lack of it also affects our great friend, testosterone. We would recommend taking a good night’s sleep of at least 6 to 8 hours for better hair growth.
Exercise: Working out increases blood circulation and promotes better metabolism. A 30-minute exercise five days a week is a good habit to follow for health in general.
Nutritional Changes for Patchy Beard: Our nutritional choices greatly affect our hair quality. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. So, your hairs will benefit from any protein-rich foods such as lean beef, fish, and chicken.
Saturated fats also have a link with hair growth as they promote testosterone levels in your body. Nuts, fish, and eggs are great sources of saturated fats.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, and broccoli metabolize estrogen. A lesser level of estrogen promotes a higher level of testosterone which promotes better hair growth. Green leafy vegetables are also a great source of iron which is also an essential element for hair growth.
In addition to biotin, vitamin B7, a number of other vitamins are essential for hair growth. These include vitamin A or beta-carotene, a number of B vitamins like B1, B6, and B12, and vitamin C and E. Some trace elements like zinc, folate, copper, boron, selenium, and magnesium are linked with testosterone production and hence promote better hair growth.
VitaBeard is an easily available multivitamin and specially designed for beards and provides a nice combination of different elements needed for facial hair.
- Alcohol – 2-3 drinks per day can decrease your testosterone by 6-7% over three weeks, hence lesser hair quality.
- Processed foods higher in sodium, added sugars, and trans-fats leading are not good for your health in general. They lessen testosterone levels needed for hair growth.
- Flaxseeds are a rich source of estrogen (female hormone), which is linked with thinning of hair in men.
- Diet soda with its artificial sweeteners like aspartame has been linked with hair loss.
- Sugar, in general, hinders the absorption of protein which is essential for hair growth.
Patchy beard is a common problem and can be due to a variety of reasons. Sometimes, a thinner hair texture gives the false look of a patchy beard. On the other hand, less density of hair follicles is linked with a patchy beard.
Growing your beard for at least a month can correct both of these. So, grow your beard and see what your beard actually looks like. Most probably, surrounding hairs will fill up a bare patch and your beard will look much fuller.
Some of the bare patches may be devoid of hair follicles and won’t grow any hair. This essentially is genetically determined. You can make lifestyle changes and add nutritional elements and hope it will promote hair follicles.
Sometimes, a medical condition causes a patchy beard or hair loss. These can be a variety of conditions as described earlier. The good thing about them is that they are mostly reversible and can be treated.
If you have a thinner texture to your hair, there are a variety of things you can do to promote better hair growth. You can nourish your beard growth with a variety of beard care products like beard oils, beard shampoos, and beard balms to name a few.
Additionally, get rid of stress in your life and get good sleep. With this, over time, you are likely to see a good difference in your hair quality giving you a denser and fuller beard.
These were our recommendations to fix a patchy beard. If you have any questions or would like to add something, please feel free to comment.