Does Your Beard Stop Growing? Here’s What You Need to Know.
There is a vast range in beard length from one man to the next. This range depends on a whole variety of factors, including beard care, genetics, and nutrition. However, a question arises when it appears one man’s beard has stopped growing while another continues to become longer and fuller as the months grow on. Has the first gentleman’s beard stopped growing? Does anyone’s beard stop growing? How do you know when it’s going to happen? We’ll answer these questions and more in the following article.
However, first, some basics need to be covered. The short answer to whether a beard stops growing is no. Your beard will continue to produce hairs continuously. However, beards do reach a stage where they stop producing additional length, a condition called “terminal beard.” As a result, the next most significant bit of information you’ll need is a thorough understanding of the stages of beard growth.
Phases of Beard Growth
All hair grows in phases. There are three primary phases of hair growth, including beard hair. The phases are the Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen phases. Each has different characteristics and lasts for various lengths of time.
The first phase of hair growth is the anagen phase. It is the most extended phase, lasting from two to seven years. During this phase, the growth rate for your hair is somewhere in the neighborhood of half an inch per month. However, this varies widely between people depending on a variety of factors, primarily genetics.
The catagen phase is a resting phase for your beard. During this stage, the follicle transitions from active growth to a transition period. The period generally lasts from 2 to 3 months. During this time, the follicle shrinks, and the growth rate decreases.
When the catagen phase comes to an end, the follicle enters the telogen phase. During this phase, the follicle releases the hair and prepares to produce a new one. It’s this process that ultimately ends up creating the impression that the beard has stopped growing because the cycle simply continues, and your beard moves to terminal length, and each hair passes into a new anagen phase.
“Terminal Length” and New Anagen Phase
Terminal length is the term for when your beard ceases to produce additional overall length. It varies from person to person. The most significant influence is the length of the individual’s active growth period (anagen phase). At this point, the beard will appear to remain effectively the same length because the bulk of the hairs have passed through the entirety of their lifecycle. However, do not confuse this with the stoppage of growth entirely. Your follicles continue to produce new growth continuously following each telogen phase. That means that in reality, your beard will never stop growing, even if it does eventually reach a consistent length.
Beard Growth Rate
Along with the stoppage of growth, many men concern themselves with the growth rate for their beards. How long will they become in how much time? There’s no blanket answer for this, as there are several variables that affect growth rate. The first is that growth rates vary between individuals. In addition, growth rates vary across different face regions, with the beard under the neck growing more quickly than the cheeks in most cases. However, the average growth rate tends to remain somewhere around half an inch per month. So, after a year of continuous growth with no trimming, the average man has a beard of up to six inches in length.
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Maximum Beard Length
While beards never stop growing, they reach a terminal length, which is the stage at which old hairs release to be replaced by new growth. This transition happens to different strands at different times, so generally, you won’t notice large areas released at once. However, the fact that this stage exists suggests a maximum beard length for each man. So while we began this article with a concern over the stoppage of growth, the real question may be how long an individual man’s beard will grow.
Unfortunately, there’s no good way to predict it unless the individual has had a lot of experience growing beards. The primary factor here is the length of the individual’s anagen phase. The longer the beard remains in the active growth period, the longer the maximum length. The average terminal length ranges from 12 inches to 36 inches. The world record beard was held by Hans Nilson Langseth and reached 18.6 feet! While your terminal length is unlikely to match this extreme outlier, most people can expect to grow at least a foot of beard before the end of the anagen phase.
Factors Affecting Beard Growth and Length
While the biggest influences on beard growth and length are the length of the individual’s anagen phase combined with the individual’s average growth rate, many other factors may impact the length of your beard.
As you grow older, the rate of growth of your facial hair changes. The growth rate is not a steady climb or decline but fluctuates instead. Many men experience advanced rates of hair growth in their twenties which then declines as they grow older. Then, when they begin producing white hair, their growth rate increases again. These fluctuations vary from individual to individual, but these general patterns tend to hold.
According to numerous studies, average growth rates vary between individuals of different ethnicities. The results were most pronounced between Japanese and Caucasian subjects. The Caucasian subjects tended to produce facial hair at a more advanced rate than the Japanese did.
Time of Year
The changing of the seasons tends to affect the rate of growth of hair. It appears that hair grows more rapidly in the spring and summer than it does in the winter.
The quality of one’s diet affects the body’s entire range of systems. Hair is no exception. Maintaining a well-rounded diet with plenty of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids is critical. You should also focus on getting target amounts of iron and vitamin E in your diet. Trace minerals like copper, magnesium, and selenium can also contribute to a healthy beard.
Another huge factor that changes the length of your beard is breakage. If you overmanipulate your beard by playing with it too much, you may cause strands to break. Additionally, dry hair is more brittle than supple, well-conditioned hair, contributing to hair snapping.
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Beards never stop growing. However, individual hairs reach a maximum length, fall out, and begin the growth cycle again. In addition, there is a host of factors that can change growth rate, full length, and length in general. Overall, the best way to maximize your beard is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep the beard clean and moisturized, and try not to overmanipulate it. If you can stick to those rules, your terminal beard will be the best it can be!