When you set out to grow a lengthy beard, modelled on your beard idol, whether that be the Viking beard look or something you’d expect from Ernest Hemingway, you have the image of a perfectly constructed hair shape, something designed by the gods themselves. The reality is often something a wee bit more sporadic, with hair at different lengths and certain areas struggling to grow properly.
Why Do I Have A Patchy Beard?
Before tackling the how, let us deal with the why. There can be a number of reasons and solutions, but one hard inevitable truth you will have to confront is that genetics play a huge role. If your dad or grandad had a perfectly formed beard then you’re off to a winner, whereas if they struggled throughout their life then there is a fair chance you will have the same issues.
Another common reason for having seemingly coin shaped gaps in your hair (not just on your beard but throughout your body) is alopecia areata. Let me start off by saying I suffer from this, so don’t worry if you’re in the same boat. I had the same fearful moment trying to understand what has happened and whether it was something more serious. While many old studies highlight stress can be a factor, most modern studies have actually shown that your genes are playing the main role. It could also be based on your hormonal balance, any allergies you might have or a virus you could have caught.
Your hormonal balance is a critical player in hair growth, so it might be time to hit the gym, ensure you have a healthy diet and remove any stress from your life, as these can all have an effect.
Well read on for our guide on how to handle this frustrating issue.
Let It Fully Grow Out
I know you want to trim it down and make some changes, but if you are dedicated to growing the beard out then you have to let it grow relatively long and hold back from trimming until the right time, even if you do look a bit daft temporarily. This will help you to understand the direction of the hair growth, specifically the area which is struggling, as well as simply where you are struggling to get the full length of hair. As the beard gets longer, it is more likely the patches will become less visible, while after around a month (depending on how quickly yours grows), you can trim your cheeks and jaw line, so you can keep it looking presentable.
Cream or Corticosteroid For Alopecia Areata
It is time to visit your GP or a dermatologist, as they can help guide you, but there are two main treatments. The most minor, which they will probably initially push you towards to start with, is corticosteroid cream, which can be rubbed into the bold patch, Unfortunately, this probably won’t work, unless your case is very mild, therefore for others you will need to actually inject it into the body. The most extreme way to tackle the issue is via systemic corticosteroid, however each option has an increasing amount of side effects so we don’t necessarily recommend any of these, we simply recommend talking to your GP for advise and guidance.
You should be using a bristle brush, which can be used to cover patches until they are levelled out. Start by brushing upwards on your neck, before aiming downwards and then in the direction you want the hair to go. An added point to this is that you should also be using a beard oil as this will prevent itchiness and moisturise the skin below.
Just Rock It
We are naturally self critical and are susceptible to judging ourselves harshly, when in reality you might be seeing a lot more than others are. There are plenty of well known celebrities and public figures which have patchy beards and are known for having a great beard. For a start, Johnny Depp has always had a sporadic one, as has Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, but who would knock them for their thinner beards? You just need to focus on ensuring your edges are more sharp to make it look more presentable, while you can also trim your cheek line a little lower than normal.
You should also remember that beards get fuller with age, so even if you are a late grower, it doesn’t mean you can’t have that perfect beard, it just means you won’t get it quick as some others.
As we mentioned previously, your diet can play a role on your beard growth. You should cut out any junk food you’re eating and make sure you consume plenty of protein, Vitamin C, E and H. In fact, we wrote a guide on how to make your beard soft, where we walk through how to improve your diet for growing a beard. Some of the foods you should include are avocados, salmon, sweet potatoes and liver.