Biology of Beard Hair Follicles
Beards are a defining feature of many birds, mammals and humans. The anatomy of a beard is composed of hair follicles and glands. Hair follicles are small tube-like sacks of cells located on the skin’s surface that produce hair. The follicles on the face contain oil glands that produce a thick substance called sebum. This sebum is what gives beards their natural healthy shine and moisturizing properties. Sebum is produced in abundance in the pre-puberty years, making youthful beards particularly healthy looking. Unfortunately, production of sebum will slow down as a person ages, leading to patchy and thinning beards.
How Does Beard Oil Work?
Beard oil has been around for decades but only recently has it become mainstream. It is typically composed of natural oils like jojoba, olive, almond, coconut or argan oil. These oils are rich in vitamins and minerals that restore the natural oils that skin produces, and thus help restore the lost sheen and softness of aging facial hair. The oils also help moisturize the skin beneath the beard, promoting healthy and strong collagen production that can result in thicker hair growth and reduced patchiness.
The oils in beard oil act as a protectant coat around the beard follicles, helping to keep them lubricated. The oils also help to reduce friction between follicles which can lead to damage and ingrown hairs. Furthermore, certain natural oils are known to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties which can help protect the skin and hair follicles from inflammation and infections.
Does Beard Oil Fix Patches?
For many individuals, using beard oil can help with patchy and thinning beards. In some cases, using beard oil can help to stimulate the production of sebum, promoting healthy and strong facial hair growth. This can result in thicker beards and less patchy spots. The skin beneath the beard can also benefit from the moisturizing and nourishing effects of beard oil, as it helps reduce skin dryness and flaking.
However, for some individuals, beard oil may not be enough to fully restore the health of their beards. For those with particularly damaged and patchy beards, a combination of beard oil, beard balm and a beard conditioner may be required. Furthermore, enlisting the help of a professional dermatologist may be necessary for extreme cases of patchiness.
Beard Care Tips
When looking to restore the full health of a patchy or thinning beard, there a few beard care tips that should be kept in mind. Firstly, combing and brushing your beard regularly can help to distribute the natural oils throughout the facial hair, helping to keep it moisturized and healthy-looking. Secondly, it’s important to wash your beard at least once a week to get rid of any dirt or molecules that can contribute to beard damage. Finally, make sure that you use the right tools to trim and shape your beard, like electric trimmers and high quality scissors.
Nutrition and Beard Growth
Inadequate nutrition can lead to slow or reduced facial hair growth, thus leading to patchy or thinning beards. Eating an overall healthy diet is essential for maintaining the health of a beard. This includes eating plenty of protein-rich foods like lean meats, eggs, beans, nuts and dairy products which can help to encourage healthy facial hair follicles and growth. Additionally, it’s important to stay hydrated, as dehydration can lead to dull-looking and brittle beards.
Hormones and Beard Growth
Hormones play an essential role in the growth and maintenance of beards. Testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone), both of which are found in high levels in men, are responsible for stimulating sebum production which helps beard hair to stay healthy-looking and full. Unfortunately, as men age, their hormone levels naturally decrease which can lead to patchy and thinning beards.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
In cases where testosterone and DHT levels are too low, hormone replacement therapy may be necessary. This is a medical treatment that involves supplements and injections of male hormones to help balance out the hormonal levels in the body. This could be beneficial for individuals whose beards are not responding to natural treatments such as beard oil or supplements. However, it’s important to speak to a medical professional before taking any hormone supplements as the wrong dosage can have serious health consequences.
Prescription Medications for Patchy Beards
In more extreme cases, certain prescription medications may be necessary for patchy beards. Finasteride and Minoxidil are two common medications prescribed for individuals with patchy facial hair. Finasteride helps to reduce the levels of DHT in the body and Minoxidil works to stimulate hair follicle growth and encourage healthy and full beards. These medications do have some unpleasant side effects which should be discussed with a doctor before taking them.
Vitamins and Supplements for Beard Growth
Vitamins and supplements can help to boost collagen production and encourage strong and healthy facial hair growth. These can include vitamin B, C, and E, as well as minerals like zinc, copper, and magnesium. Additionally, biotin and fish oil supplements can help to improve the overall look and feel of a beard. These supplements can also help to prevent inflammation and promote healthy scalp skin.
Beard Transplant Surgery
In cases where natural treatments and medications haven’t helped to restore a full and patch-free beard, beard transplant surgery may be necessary. During this procedure, hairs from donor areas are transplanted into the beard area in order to fill in patchy and thin areas. This is a relatively safe procedure but is also expensive, making it not an option for everyone.
Alternative Beard Treatments
There are a variety of alternative treatments that can help to promote and maintain the health of a beard. These treatments can include facial massages, laser therapy, and platelet-rich plasma therapy. Facial massages help to increase blood flow and circulation, and laser therapy can help encourage collagen production and tissue regeneration. Platelet-rich plasma therapy is also a popular treatment, as it helps to boost the body’s natural ability to heal and promote strong and healthy facial hair growth.