So, you may have noticed some of your beard hairs swirling down the drain during your morning shower, or seen them fall in the sink or cling to your beard brush during your daily beard routine.
For a lot of us, this can be upsetting. Especially if you’re working hard to maintain your man mane, the last thing you want to see is evidence of it falling out or thinning.
Not to mention, seeing a bunch of hair falling out tends to set off our warning bells for health concerns.
Here’s the good news though – some hair loss, including facial hair loss, is totally normal. Here’s why.
The Hair Circle of Life
Hair, whether on our head, face or body, has a natural life cycle of 2 to 7 years (surprising, right?!). Each hair passes through three distinct phases:
- Anagen phase – the active growth phase lasting anywhere from 1-4 years
- Catagen phase – the transition phase lasting approximately 3 weeks
- Telogen phase – the resting phase lasting approximately 3 months
After the resting phase, the hair loosens and falls out, or may be easily pulled out with brushing or any kind of contact.
After the hair falls out, that hair’s follicle takes a short break, and then begins the process again with a new hair.
The verdict, then, is that we all are shedding hairs every day at an average rate of 50-100 hairs or so.
If you want to know more about the science of hair and its life cycle, check out WebMD’s article.
So, the good news is that if you’re noticing even a couple dozen beard hairs sprinkling your sink or floor throughout the day, you don’t need to fret – it is perfectly normal.
What if You ARE Losing More Beard Hair Than Normal?
Okay, so maybe you’re cool with the idea that some hair loss is normal, but of late you can swear that you’re seeing more beard hair than normal cling to your brush or float down the drain.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that especially if you are starting to grow your beard out longer than it has been before, you are going to notice the hair more than when it was shorter.
So before you convince yourself something is out of whack, do a memory check about when you started noticing it and if it’s been since growing it out.
That said, there are times when you may genuinely notice more than average beard hair loss. There are a number of potential causes, most of which are entirely preventable and non-threatening.
Especially if you’re just noticing some more hair than usual as opposed to actual clumps of hair coming out at once or outright bald patches forming (which we will touch on in a bit).
So, here are some of the reasons why you may truly be seeing more beard hair loss than “normal.”
One of the most common reasons that you may be losing some extra beard hairs is from simple damage or wear and tear to the beard hairs themselves.
There are tons of ways you could be inadvertently damaging your beard hairs and causing the excess hair loss:
The goal with washing your beard is to keep it clean and healthy. If you wash it every day, you’re most likely washing it too much (unless you get super sweaty or dirty on a daily basis).
Not only are you putting unnecessary wear on your beard hairs, you are also washing away valuable and natural oils that help keep your hairs healthy and strong.
Additionally, when you do wash your beard, don’t be aggressive with it. Be gentle – get your finger tips to base of the hairs and gently massaging your face, working the shampoo through the hair from base to tip.
You are damaging and loosening even the healthiest and strongest hairs when you do this and quite literally pulling some of them right out. Again, gentleness is key. Pat your beard dry and let it be.
If you find yourself in the habit of incessantly combing your beard, stop! You are knocking healthy hairs around and pulling them loose when you brush or comb excessively.
In addition to over combing/brushing, if you aren’t using proper technique, you could be seriously contributing to the problem.
Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to comb out your beard, especially if it is a longer beard (long enough to get knotted).
This is because if you start at the base and then find a tangle, you will end up yanking and pulling the tangle and a big clump of hair out.
By starting at the tips and working your way back, if you find a knot, you can work it out at the edge, where it will be easiest to come undone.
As you slowly work at it and work your way up, you can end up getting the knot out without losing any of the hairs.
If it is made of a metal or is not carefully crafted, small splits and fractures in the material could be snagging your hairs and ripping them out.
Certain products, especially if they are cheaper and more chemically based instead of naturally based, can strip the hairs and leave them unhealthy, dried out and weak.
Even if you have quality products, applying the product incorrectly or too frequently is still putting a lot of added stress on your beard and making your hairs more likely to fall out prematurely.
Admit it – most of us love to give our beards a good stroke when we’re pondering.
But, be that as it may, if we tug, pull, stroke, or run our fingers through it too frequently, this again adds extra stress and wear on the hair, causing it to loosen up and fall out prematurely.
So, for you guys especially (though all beardsman really should take note), it is critical that you use products, like beard oils, to keep your beards from drying out and the hairs from growing weak, as this could result in more hair falling out.
So, as you can see, a lot of the above comes down to proper grooming habits and not overdoing it.
How to Avoid Damaging Your Beard Hair
Really, to avoid this basic cause of excess beard hair loss, do the opposite of the bad habits above.
- Wash your beard 1-3 times a week, not daily, and be gentle when you dry it
- Purchase a quality beard comb or brush and use good technique
- Use proper and correct technique
When combing, start at the ends and work your way back so you don’t get snagged on a knot and yank a chunk of hair out.
- Apply beard oil that strengthen hair and encourage growth
Quality beard oil help keep your beard hairs healthy and strong, which will encourage growth, help increase their life, and decrease the likelihood that they’ll get too easily knocked loose.
So, for the average case of a bit of excessive hair loss, the above is likely the cause.
However, if after you have the above habits in check, you still seem to be losing more than an average amount of hair, or if you are losing large clumps of hair at a time.
If you start noticing balding or significant thinning, there are potentially a couple of health issues at the source.
- Stress: whether you think it sounds wonky or not, it is true. Stress can cause hair to fall out, both from your head and your beard. So, if you are still having issues with excessive hair loss, do a self-assessment of your stress levels lately.
If you think that may be the cause, it’s time to make a little time to give yourself a break, or find a healthy outlet (like exercise) to destress.
- Illness: Telogen Effluvium is a hair loss condition that can effect scalp and beard alike, and it is the second biggest reason for hair loss.
Sometimes it can be triggered by illnesses, such as fevers or infections, or by chronic illnesses like thyroid disease, or by deficiencies in iron or protein.
The good news is that this type of hair loss, while possibly a sign of another problem for which you may need to see a doctor, is completely reversible and non-permanent.
And of course, if you have been receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer treatment, you should be prepared to experience hair loss both on your scalp as well as your beard.
In this instance, too, you can look forward to your hair growing back, though it may take some months after treatment has ended.
Finally, there is also an auto-immune disorder known as Alopecia that causes hair loss, sometimes from a very specific area (just the head or even just the beard) or can cause hair loss from the entire body.
Something to keep in mind if you are concerned that your beard hair loss is a bit more sinister than damaged hair due to bad habits – if you are experiencing hair loss due to a health condition such as one of the above, you will almost always have:
- Actual clumps of hair fall out at once, not just extra strands
- You will most likely notice thinning areas or bald patches not just on your beard but also on your scalp.
If you are experiencing the above, or if you definitely have your bad habits in check and are still dealing with worrying amounts of beard hair loss, don’t hesitate to call your doctor to make sure there are no underlying causes.
So now you know:
- Beard hair loss is in fact normal, but, excess beard hair loss can be easily prevented by avoiding bad habits that damage hair
- There are some health conditions that can cause true beard hair loss, but they are rare and typically produce much more noticeable amounts of hair loss
Have any questions, comments or concerns? Drop us a line in our comments box below! We would love to hear from you!
Photos from: Improvisor / depositphotos.com, lalan33 / depositphotos.com, luismolinero / depositphotos.com, IgorTishenko / depositphotos.com.