beard questions

Frequently-asked questions about beards

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This is a starter set of frequently-asked questions (FAQ) about beards. If you have suggested questions for the FAQ, please send them to beardguy@aol.com. Be sure to also see the beard terminology page.

  1. What can I do to make my beard grow thicker?
  2. Will shaving make my beard grow back thicker?
  3. What is the name of the beard style that covers only a small area below the lower lip?

  1. What can I do to make my beard grow thicker?
    Basically, there is nothing that you can do to increase your beard development. Genetics and hormones are the major determinants of an individual's beard development. Unless you suffer from a hormonal imbalance, generally there is no medical treatment available to increase beard growth. If you have any doubts or concerns, you should consult a physician and possibly even an endocrinologist and dermatologist.

    Adolescent and young adult males can reasonably expect that the development of their facial hair will increase over time. Genetics and hormones, however, remain the controlling factors. The timetable varies widely among individuals. Some may develop fully-mature beard growth in the teen years, while others may not do so until their late twenties. Still others may never develop appreciable beard growth.
  2. Will shaving make my beard grow back thicker?
    No.

    In an article titled "On beards, no beards, and other hairy problems" in the April 1972 issue of Science Digest, Dr. Herbert Mescon, then professor and chairman of the department of dermatology at Boston University was quoted as saying: "There are a number of myths about shaving. It is not true that shaving makes whiskers darker or coarser or grow faster."

    In the October 1963 issue of Science Digest, an article titled "What happens when you shave" included the following:

    Does shaving make your hair grow faster?

    Shaving has no permanent effect on the rate of hair growth, says Dr. Howard T. Behrman. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Behrman notes that although there is an immediate increase in the rate of hair growth after shaving, this increase is followed by a decrease within the next few hours. The net effect of a shave on the rate of growth, therefore, is zero.

    Dr. Behrman also says cutting or shaving the hair does not make it darker or coarser. However, a hair shaft is darker and coarser at the root than at the tip, and cutting it near the root makes the hair appear darker and coarser.

  3. What is the name of the beard style that covers only a small area below the lower lip?
    This style of beard is commonly referred to as a "soul patch", or an "imperial". It is sometimes called a "mouche", which is French for a fly.