Beards are the facial hair in men that spans the chin, jawline, lower lip, upper lip, and cheeks. It is one of the sexual features of an adolescent boy and an adult person who are assigned male at birth which makes them look great. In modern times, there is a gain in popularity of fashionable beard appearance. However, beards also serve some practical purposes:
- Beards protect the face from harmful UV radiations coming from the sun, thereby preventing premature aging and sunburns.
- Beards act as the air filter, it traps the dust and pollens to avoid their entry into the lungs and subsequent respiratory illnesses.
- Beards maintenance is incredibly easier than daily shaving. It saves time especially when people are caught up in their busy schedules. 
The growth and density of hair are based primarily on genes. There is a specific hair growth cycle that is followed by every hair all over the body and face involving phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. With advancing age, the hair starts thinning and falling off.
Beard growth is determined by an enzyme 5-alpha reductase which converts the natural stores of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), thus propelling the beard growth. Whether beard growth is fast or slow, depends upon how sensitive the beard hair follicles are to the DHT hormone. [1, 3]
The Factors That Can Hamper The Growth of Beard:
There are many environmental and physical factors affecting beard growth, including:
- Genetics- The thickness, texture, and density of beard hair is determined by certain genes that one receives from their parents. It depends upon how well parents or other family members grow their hair.
- Aging– Young men who are in their 20s or 30s have thicker, denser, and better coverage of their beard. But as they grow older, their hair growth slows down.
- Low testosterone levels– It has been found that some men who have extremely low levels of testosterone in their body face trouble in their beard growth.
- Anxiety and stress– Men who are under constant stress and anxiety produce a lot of hormone cortisol which results in increased hair fall and affects beard hair growth.
- Medical conditions– Many men suffer from patchy hair loss- an autoimmune disorder called alopecia areata where their hair follicles are attacked by the self-immune cells.
- Skincare– Every skin type has its own needs. However, if the skin is taken well care of and if the healthy skin is well nourished by additional nutrients, it will most probably grow more healthy hair than untreated, dry skin. [2, 3]
How To Naturally Grow Thicker Or Longer Beard Hair?
- Make dietary changes: A nutritious diet that is packed with a lot of vitamins can help hair that has stopped growing to become active and regrow hair stronger than before as well as much faster. Therefore, men must include sources of food that are rich in vitamins A, B, C, D, and E along with good carbohydrates, iron, zinc, healthy fats, and lean proteins in their daily diet. Some examples of food items that can be incorporated into the diet include eggs, avocados, chicken, fish, whole-grain bread, salmon, fortified plant-based milk, dairy, and nuts.
- Regular exercise: This may sound weird, but weight training and high-intensity interval training can indeed help in natural beard growth. It is possible as a daily workout boosts the body’s metabolism which may have slowed down weight gain and also improves the testosterone levels in the body. Moreover, it improves blood circulation which is essential for the production of healthy hair cells. This encourages the hair follicles and allows healthy beard hair growth.
- Regulate sleep: Adequate sleep is necessary for the proper functioning of the body including keeping good hair quality. Sleeplessness or insomnia is believed to be linked with a decline in natural testosterone levels inside the body.
- Quit smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol: Researchers have found that chemicals found in tobacco can result in inflammation and damage the skin and hair cells. It could even harm the blood vessels and their DNA which helps in the growth of the beard.
- Take personal care of skin and hair hygiene: Beard hair growth is obstructed when the hair follicles or skin pores get plugged with dirt and excess oils. To kick-start the growth of beard hair back again, it’s recommended to keep the skin and hair clean daily as well as well-moisturized. Exfoliation can also be done twice a week to get rid of dead skin and encourage beard hair growth. [1, 2, 3]
How Long Does It Take To Naturally Grow A Beard?
Beard hair goes through a natural hair growth cycle. Here’s a general overview of the cycle of growth of hair including the longevity of each phase:
- Anagen phase– Every month, hair grows by about half an inch and keeps growing for about 3-4 years, even if they are cut.
- Catagen phase– The hair continues to grow but the hair follicles begin to shrivel up. This lasts for about 2 weeks.
- Telogen phase– In this stage, the hair follicles go into a dormant state for a few months and then start to grow again. The old hair falls off and is replaced by new hair.
This means, constantly the beard hair grows and renews itself, eventually resulting in different beard patterns. 
Tips To Maintain And Care For A Naturally Grown Beard
Once a beard is successfully grown, it’s time to maintain and care for it to let it remain longer and healthier than before.
- Keep the beard neat looking by regularly trimming it down.
- Apply good quality hair and skin care products over the beard such as beard gels or oils
- Never ignore caring for the beard. Keep the beard hair clean by washing the face with water and a gentle cleanser and use a shampoo followed by a conditioner to wash beard hair.
- Regularly visit a dermatologist or hair expert to prevent hair falls.