Did you ever notice? If you take a good hard look into the mirror, you will notice that the beard on one side grows faster and thicker than the other side. However, it could be an annoying thing to deal with one side of their beard-growing faster than the other – and it could be irritating when it is noticeable by others.
I used to keep clean shave till the time I was going to the office. After the pandemic, my company asked to work from home and there I decided to grow my bread – just to try a new look.
When full-grown, I felt my beard on one side is growing faster and thicker than the other and it is quite noticeable. After consultation with the dermatologist, I got to know several interesting reasons.
This could be the concern for many newbies and oldies as well. So, I found it worth sharing the causes and of course the necessary steps to deal with it.
Moving ahead, we need to understand stages of hair growth first.
How do hairs grow?
No matter where hair grows on your body it all starts the same – with a hair follicle. Here there is a hair root where cells are grouped together to make keratin. This is the protein that forms hair as well as your fingernails too!
There are about 9amino acid groups per second added to the hair which results in a growth rate of about 1.25 centimeters or 0.5 inches per month, or about 15 centimeters or 6inches per year.
Hair growth goes through three different stages;
- Anagen stage – the cells in the root of the hair divide rapidly, slowly adding to the length of the hair. Hair will remain in the phase for anywhere from two to six years.
- Catagen stage – this is the end of the growth phase of the hair and no more cells are produced to increase its length. The hair is detached from the blood supply and lasts for up to three weeks.
- Telogen stage – where the hair is released from the skin and the hair follicle takes a well-earned rest for about three months. 15 % of hair is in the final stage of this cycle.
Importantly, all of the hairs undergo this at a different time and a thick beard relies on a dense collection of hair follicles that are in the anagen phase for a long period of time.
The average person can lose up to 100 hairs per day. After three months, the follicle goes back into the anagen phase and begins to grow new hair.
Growing a beard through all its stages means that sometimes your beard will become unbalanced.
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Why Beard On One Side Grows Faster Than the Other?
There might be many concerns related to money, health, relationship, and the list goes on. However, along with grooming and growing their beard to the desired style – bearded men could have the issue of growing beards faster on one side than the other.
This problem forced many men both newbies and oldies to go for a clean shave. To be honest, we are usually the ones that notice this phenomenon on our face when looking in the mirror rather than others.
The human body is not perfect in terms of symmetry. This applies to the interior and exterior of the body. There could be a number of reasons for this issue.
Not only beard, but you will also notice the asymmetries in your facial structure as well. Some may say my eyes are not quite the same size or height as their face, one side is a bit bulkier than the other, one eyebrow is a bit fuller than the other, the nose isn’t quite centered, and so on.
Causes of asymmetric hair growth
This all comes back to genetics. If you have a dad or elder brother who complains about his hair growing faster on one side, chances are you would have similar complaints.
The density of hair follicles on a particular side of your face is determined by your genetics. It is a possibility that one side of your face has more hair follicles than the other therefore beard would grow faster on that side.
Each hair follicle has its own blood supply and the vessels are not completely symmetrical as some parts of the body might receive more blood than others.
Therefore, if a hair follicle gets more blood it would definitely receive more nutrients including oxygen thereby making the beard grow faster (1).
Dihydrotestosterone, the destroyer of these follicles in-terms of hair growing from them, is also determined by genetics. As Dihydrotestosterone runs through your veins and hits the follicles on each side of your beard, the genetic composition of each will determine which side grows faster/more.
Asides from genetics, there are other factors/causes of faster growth on one side of the beard which is more under our control.
Asymmetric blood supply: Each hair follicle and nail has its own blood supply. If one follicle gets more blood than another, it gets more glucose, hormones, oxygen, and other nutrients. Carbon dioxide and other wastes are carried away more efficiently.
Hence, the nutrients do not get distributed uniformly throughout your body. To some extent, a person’s circulatory system is genetic.
Sleeping: Many people sleep on their sides. Therefore the side which you use to rest your head on the pillow would probably have weaker growth than the other side.
This is because the blood vessels on that side may be compressed while you sleep leading to less blood supply.
It’s sort of like babies that don’t get picked up enough get a bald spot where their heads hit the pillow until they have the strength to pull themselves up and sit upright.
Related Read l How does your sleeping position affects your health
Injury : An injury on the side of your face could cause uneven beard growth.
Sunlight: You spend a lot of time in a car with the sunlight touching one side of your face. Sunlight radiation usually causes uneven beard growth. If possible, protect your face from sunlight as much as possible.
One side of your body gets exposed to a lot more solar radiation than the other when you drive more. Light affects biochemical processes as well.
Related read l Sunlight and skin health
Habits: Do you drum the nails from one hand more than the other? Do you twist your hair when bored or nervous?
Picking or playing with your beard when you’re bored or nervous could affect the growth rate of your beard.
If you’re used to picking one side then that side might experience a slower growth leaving patches in your beard.
Handedness: Each hand serves somewhat different purposes in the course of your day. Whether you are right-handed or left-handed, one may get more exercise and circulation than the other.
Age: A naturally maturating beard takes years to develop as you age. Age would also play the role in the growth rate of your hairs. Give your beard time to develop to its full potential.
Though this is completely normal, however, growing your beard faster on one side is not always the same for everyone.
How to deal with it?
It is difficult to correct this growth imbalance because as it could be impossible to grow new hair follicles on the side that’s lacking.
However, there are a range of simple and quick things you can do to balance it out. A few things could be done to help correct the problem of faster growth on one side.
Time: This is obvious but it is important to be patient and allow the beard to grow out. One side growing faster during the initial stages of beard growth is not so uncommon.
Give it time to grow and even out. Allow the beard to grow for at least 3 months before you make any decision. As your beard grows thicker, the faster growth rate on one side could become less noticeable.
Shaving/Trimming: Another solution might be to trim the side of a beard that has a faster growth while allowing the slower side to catch up.
Even if you have a thick beard and it is fairly noticeable one side of your beard is thicker than the other due to quick growth, you should trim it to even it out.
Diet and Exercise: They are of great help to stimulate beard growth, so it is important to follow a healthy routine. Ensure that your diet is rich in fish, lean meats, poultry, eggs, rice, beans, and legumes. Vitamins B6, B12, and Biotin promote the growth of new skin cells and hair (2).
Start incorporating in your daily routine. Do some aerobic exercises and weight training schedules for profound beard growth. These exercises improve your testosterone levels which further helps in good beard growth (3).
Running is another form of exercise that increases testosterone levels and boost beard health.
Beard Products: If after a few months, one side of the beard is thicker than the other, you can use different beard products to help thicken your beard and enhance growth.
Beard oils or balms are good products to help fill out your beard leaving it healthier.
No one cares – Just be happy!!
The beard on one side grows faster than the other, they don’t care. While these things are hard to notice without busting out a measuring tape, one part of the reason they’re hard to notice is that you’re used to it.
Like with other things in life, such as our physiques, we will judge ourselves more harshly. Do not bother, with time, your beard would even out on both sides and get thicker.
Just carry yourself confidently, people would hardly notice any imperfection you might have.