How to Grow Beard Faster: 9 Tricks to Fix a Patchy Beard
By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Mon 24 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD
Welcome to the best and possibly one of the few legit beard growth boosting guides on the internet and the whole World for that matter.
I can make such a bold claim because I’ve been somewhat obsessed with finding a way to grow a sick looking beard for the last five years. Boosting facial hair growth naturally was in fact one of the key things that sparked my interest in natural hormone optimization and testosterone; eventually leading to the creation of this website in 2013.
I know these tips and tricks below will trigger new beard growth on the face because I used all of them myself and the combination of them absolutely 100% positively worked…
…You see, I didn’t always have a full beard, nor the genetic potential to grow one. Even though I had average levels of testosterone, for some – likely genetic – reason it did not trigger beard growth that well for me even after I hit 20 years of age. I then theorized that for me to ever force more hair on my face was to flood my system with even more testosterone and to make the testosterone receptors on my face more prone to reacting with testosterone and other androgens (male hormones).
This led me onto a five year rabbit hole of research, trial, and a whole lot of error to finally convert my weak-ass chin and mustache growth into a magnificent full beard.
Just look at the pictures below to see the difference yourself:
Are you ready to go down the rabbit-hole? Because I guarantee you that the 9 tricks below will improve the growth rate of your facial hair, and they work for men with great beards, decent beards, weak beards, horrible beards, patchy beards, and for men with non-existent beards.
Yes, that’s right, there are many unique and even weird ways to fix that patchy beard of yours. Some of them are so powerful, that I’ve seen those stimulate new facial hair growth on guys that never had any mention of beard on their face.
The methods of boosting facial hair growth I’m about to share below are thousands of times better and more applicable info than the usual “just stop shaving” recommendations you see plastered all over the web. I’m hyped to finally share them, and I hope you’re as hyped as I would of been 5 years ago to learn about them.
Table of Contents
1. Testosterone and DHT Trigger Beard Growth
If there’s one thing most responsible for causing new hair to appear on the mustache, cheek, and chin area that would be androgens, aka. male hormones.
Primarily testosterone (T), which is proven to stimulate the growth of new facial hair and maintain its thickness1.
And dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is proven to increase the density of the facial hair, as well as contribute to the linear growth of the beard2.
As humans we are born with all the hair follicles of the body. In fact, while still in the womb at around the time of pregnancy week 22, we already developed all of the hair follicles our bodies have. Meaning that men and women alike, have the follicles to sprout out hair all around their chests, their face, etc.
But why don’t women then have beards or chest hair? It all has to do with lacking the right amounts of testosterone and DHT to sprout any androgenic terminal hairs out of the follicles. Not only that but the androgen receptors located within the cells of those hair follicles need to be sensitive enough for the androgens to do their work, for women these receptors tend to be non-responsive by evolutionary design.
However, even female-to-men transgender people can often grow beards due to being given synthetic testosterone and DHT as part of their “conversion process”. This is a great example of how important androgens are in the process of facial hair growth.
For any beard growth to realistically occur you need:
- Testosterone to stimulate growth of androgenic terminal hair from the follicle.
- Dihydrotestosterone to maintain the density and linear growth.
- Sensitive enough androgen receptors in the facial hair follicles to actually be affected by T and DHT.
You can increase testosterone and DHT through the use of synthetic hormones (otherwise known as steroids) OR you can increase them naturally and more safely through lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and supplementation. I personally went through the natural way, and that’s what this whole website with its hundreds of articles is about.
So if you now wonder how to raise the blood levels of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone naturally, I’m glad to inform that you are right where you need to be as this is the #1 website in the world for natural hormone optimization. Just read around some of our 300+ free articles or take a look at the TestShock program for example.
The remaining eight tricks of growing facial hair faster below are more specifically aimed for direct hair follicle stimulation, but they inevitably do work through the three steps of increasing testosterone, increasing dihydrotestosterone, and priming the facial androgen receptors.
2. Microneedling + Gelatin
how microneedling works is simple…
- You use a dermaroller on the area of your facial hair to cause some very small puncture wounds which the body then rushes to heal, it then signals itself to send in more nutrient and hormone rich blood to repair the damaged tissue, “forcefully” stimulating the hair follicles in the process.
- Consuming gelatin or collagen hydrosylate daily will enhance this process since the body breaks it down to keratin which theoretically helps to strengthen the actual hair root. The glycine in gelatin also increases an enzyme called 5-a reductase3 which boosts the production of DHT, which definitely doesn’t hurt to have more around the facial hair area if your goal is a thicker beard.
Microneedling is more anecdotal and theoretical than it would be scientific, but there is some research suggesting that it can be used to stimulate the stem cells within hair follicles, promoting growth on scalp hairs4.
This is also a very cheap way to speed up beard growth rate naturally, as you can pick up a Dermaroller for less than $10 and a big supply of gelatin for about twenty bucks.
3. The Miracle of Minoxidil
Minoxidil or its more commonly known brand name; Rogaine, is a liquid solution used on the skin to prevent hair loss on the scalp.
Naturally, at some point men started thinking if it would work on facial hair as well. And apparently it does, as there are hundreds of testimonials and before-after pics showing how men with the cleanest of cheeks are growing some of the meanest beards after applying the solution to their face for few months.
At the time I first heard about minoxidil I had already done natural testosterone optimization to the point where I had decent growth all over my face, but I did have a pretty evident hairless spot on my right cheek where I was hit with a hockey puck as a kid. I decided to give minoxidil a quick test and applied one bottle of the 5% Rogaine solution to the spot until it ran out.
The bottle lasted for about 8 months since the applied area was so small, and it did the trick. Within few weeks I started seeing new light hairs filling the spot and in the next few months those little hairs gradually turned into dark androgenic beard hairs and blended in with the rest of the mane. It’s been almost a year since I applied minoxidil on the area for the last time and I still have all of the hairs grown by it intact.
Unlike other hair loss medication like Finasteride or Dutasteride – which work by lowering androgens and thus preserving the hair on the scalp (mind you, the effect is opposite for androgenic hair) in men prone to balding – minoxidil has no hormonal effect. The way minoxidil does the trick is by opening potassium channels in the cell, allowing potassium ion influx in, which dilates the vessels around the area and supplies more nutrients and hormones to the hair follicle.
Given that you have some dihydrotestosterone and testosterone in the blood as a man, minoxidil applied to the face would then deliver these hormones more efficiently to the androgen receptors within the hair follicle cells. You could think of it as a non-hormonal temporary androgen receptor sensitivity booster.
If you don’t have a beard and would like one without doing much of the other stuff around natural hormone optimization or by using synthetic testosterone and DHT, your best bet would likely be Rogaine 5% or Kirkland Minoxidil 5% Solution. It has been proven to work on scalp in several studies and was recently successfully trialed for use on beard by a group of researchers in Thailand5.
4. Fix your Underlying Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
If you want to grow facial hair faster or grow it in the places you never even had beard before. You can be damn sure that being depleted in vitamins and minerals isn’t going to help your case.
Vitamin A for example is necessary for the synthesis of testosterone6, and you need some of the B-complex vitamins for natural sebum and keratin production at the follicle7. Supplementation with vitamin D has been shown to raise testosterone levels by upwards of 25% in men8, and vitamin E promotes optimal skin, hair, and nail health by scavenging free-radicals before they can cause oxidative damage in the cells9.
From minerals; zinc, magnesium, calcium, boron, selenium all have their respective duties in maintaining testosterone and DHT production10–13, which of course, supports and speeds up facial hair growth naturally.
Obviously I’m not claiming that you could just take some vitamins and wake up with a beard next morning, but maintaining optimal micronutrient balance is one of the small things that definitely should be in place if you’re struggling with patchy beard and want to fill it in naturally. Sebum, collagen, keratin, and androgen production all rely on vitamins and minerals as co-factors.
So how do you make sure you get enough of the right vitamins and minerals to help grow your beard faster?
Simple, eat a diet rich in whole-foods rich in wide array of micronutrients (I have articles about almost all vitamins and minerals and what foods have high amounts here) and take a high-quality multivitamin to balance out all the gaps (this is my personal favorite and I talk more about vitamin and mineral supplementation in this article).
5. Carb-Rich Diet
If you hopped on the keto bandwagon and bought into the low-carb hype that skyrocketed few years ago, you may be greatly harming your hormonal health and beard growing potential.
Multiple studies have shown how low-carbohydrate diets directly suppress the production of testosterone and DHT in men14–18 (the exact hormones your beard desperately needs to grow), I talk more in detail about the topic and the studies in my earlier article here.
Carbohydrates (especially the simple kind like potatoes, honey, fruits, and even sugar) are used by the liver to convert the inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into the active thyroid hormone (T3) at the liver. When you have more T3 your thyroid gland operates at a faster pace causing your metabolism to increases, nails to grow faster, hair and beard to grow faster, testosterone and sperm production to increase, and as an icing to the cake; Men with high levels of T3 caused by hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) can have up to 10x (yes, ten times) more beard growth boosting DHT in their blood than men with more sluggish thyroid glands19.
Skipping on carbohydrates you are actively suppressing T3, testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone. If you’ve read anything of the above so far, you already know that this is like pressing the brake pedal on your beard growth potential.
6. Drop the PUFAs
Polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFA) are liquid in room temperature and contain multiple carbon-carbon bonds.
These types of fats can most often be found in soybean oil, canola oil, margarine, sunflower seed oil, cottonseed oil, fatty cold-water fish, nuts & nut oils, etc. Many times what the media proposes to be the “healthy fat” is in fact the unhealthy hormone suppressing PUFA (with the exception of olive oil and argan oil).
Although increased dietary fat consumption has been shown to raise testosterone and DHT levels, which is exactly what you’d be looking for when trying to increase facial hair growth rate, it must be noted that these increases are almost always seen with saturated fats (SFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA). When the dietary amount of PUFA is increased, testosterone is markedly lower.
So what makes PUFA so uniquely bad? Im going to summarise it from my older article about vitamin E below:
7. Get Rid of those Pesky Antiandrogens
There are thousands of natural and synthetic compounds affecting our daily lives that act as antiandrogens.
So what exactly is an antiandrogen? Basically anything that has antiandrogenic, aka. androgen-opposing effect. Anything that negatively affects your blood and tissue levels of testosterone, DHT, or any other androgenic hormone or blocks the receptors where the hormones would normally attach.
These are compounds found in many personal care items, grocery store receipts, plastic food containers and bottles, some prescription drugs (especially the hair-loss and “prostate-health” ones), certain supplements, air fresheners, scented candles, tap water, pesticides, and so on…
…From the thousands of different testosterone suppressing compounds, I’ve compiled this list of some of the most harmful ones and how to avoid them here.
Anyways, why is avoiding exposure to antiandrogens important for speeding up beard growth rate naturally?
Anything that lowers testosterone and blocks androgen receptors- will slow down and suppress – the growth of androgenic hair. And facial hair is exactly that; androgenic hair, sprouting from your face.
8. Red Light Therapy
When our cells are exposed to certain wavelengths of red light, the enzyme Cytochrome C oxidase ramps up within the mitochondria, boosting the production of ATP, which is short for Adenosine triphosphate. ATP is most well-known as being the purest form and measure of energy used by the body.
It has been shown that a range of 600-680nm of red light is most potent at activating the Cytochrome C oxidase enzyme, and that this is the best “range” for ATP stimulation. The best part is that you don’t need any fancy laser equipment to achieve this. Even a simple led-flashlight at 620nm is effective.
What does this mean for boosting facial hair growth?
Well, when pointed at the area of chin, cheeks, and upper lip for say 10-30 minutes per day, you would effectively stimulate cellular energy production (ATP) in the beard follicles. When done in combination with microneedling, minoxidil, gelatin, optimal diet and micronutrient balance, the red light therapy would likely skyrocket the effectiveness of all of them.
The use of red light for beard growth isn’t completely theoretical, although that’s exactly how it sounds like.
Male rats kept under red light for 70 days showed significantly higher testosterone levels, weight of testicles, and sperm production24. In men and women, Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) with red light has been shown to convert light vellus hair into thicker, darker, terminal hairs25.
One of the more interesting things red light is capable of doing is the stimulation of thyroid hormones when pointed at the neck (remember the study above where men with very fast thyroids had up to 10x more DHT than men with sluggish thyroids?). A fellow Finn Vladimir Heiskanen has an excellent complication of studies related to this topic in his blog here.
9. Simple Lifestyle Factors
Large part of growing beard faster naturally has to do with high levels of testosterone and DHT.
And you can greatly influence the levels of these two by some simple lifestyle factors. Which means I’m going to end the list with a quick list of some of the simple tricks you can alter on your daily life to get some more androgens out of your system.
For most of the points I will link a more detailed article with scientific references to go a long with it as well.
Some beard boosting lifehacks:
- Sleep – 8 hours of good sleep in a completely dark, slightly chilly room will work wonders for your hormonal health and beard growth.
- Exercise – Walking and recreational activities as well as explosive resistance training that uses multi-joint exercises greatly increases testosterone.
- Sex – Doing it, anticipating it, even thinking about it, are well-known to raise testosterone, dopamine, and DHT levels in blood and tissues.
- Alcohol – Occasional drinks and few beers here and there won’t hurt, but constant drinking has a negative effect on androgens in general.
- Weight loss – Fat-mass notoriously converts testosterone into estrogen via the aromatase enzyme. Each pound of fat lost will boost your T, DHT, and beard growth potential.
- Coffee – Most health websites will try to get you to drink less, however I want you to drink more. Coffee is great for hormonal health and should aid in speeding up natural beard growth.
- Calories – You do want to eat enough, even if your goal is to lose weight. If you cut your caloric intake too drastically, your hormonal health will go down the drain.
As explained, beard growth is not that complicated. And it’s not all about genetics, as there are many ways to “force” hair on your face.
How long will it take? It depends on your starting point and how many of the pointers above you are actually willing to adopt to your life. I’d say that even a complete beard noobie with an unnoticeably small amount of peach fuzz, can grow a decent beard in 6-12 months if he fixes the hormonal environment naturally and aids the process with some microneedling and minoxidil (which I think has to be the most powerful aids of them all).
If you already have some beard growth, then it will likely take just a couple of months to start seeing noticeable results. Again, depending on how many of the above pointers you choose to start doing.
In any case. You can boost beard growth rate naturally, even if you’re not gifted the perfect genetics to do so.