If you're consulting Doctor Google about the connection between hair loss and beard growth, you'll probably stumble on this search term: will growing a beard make me go bald?
It's a fair question, considering how many blokes you've likely seen wandering around with lush beards and bald heads. Is it genetics? Is it age-related? Is it inevitable?
Before you head down a self-diagnosing rabbit hole, we're here to set the record straight. While there's no one single factor that determines how likely you are to lose your hair, there are a few important things to consider if you're concerned about the link between facial hair and baldness.
Let's run you through what the science tells us about beards and baldness, how to treat hair loss and the best beard styles to rock with a bald head.
Can growing a beard lead to hair loss on the head?
Not exactly. The research we have into hair loss and beard growth doesn't give us a definitive answer as to whether these two things are correlated.
Let's start with one of the most interesting studies on this topic. Way back in 1988, researchers looked into the link between beards, baldness and sweat secretion. Their hypothesis was that beard growth is an evolutionary function to help keep the heads of bald men warm.
This study made an interesting discovery: blokes with beards have a different sweat evaporation rate than non-bearded blokes. That's right, sweat evaporation was two to three times faster on bald men than on hairy scalps.
This shows us that hair loss could be a thermoregulation mechanism to prevent the scalp from overheating. Plus, it could also cause the opposite effect: beard hair growth could be a self-regulating response to a lack of scalp hair, helping to keep your head warm.
Another piece of research looked at the role of DHT (a hormone typically responsible for hair loss) in facial hair growth. Interestingly, DHT was shown to actually support facial hair growth.
The study also looked at the impact of testosterone levels on facial hair in men. It found that high testosterone levels created more DHT. Testosterone was shown to help men grow fuller beard hair, and DHT helped to spark facial hair follicles to grow.
Why can some men grow a beard but experience hair loss on the head?
As you can see, there isn't a simple answer to why men encounter baldness with a beard. However, the androgen DHT does offer some interesting insights into why men with beards may lose hair on their scalp.
High levels of DHT are typically linked with male pattern baldness on the scalp. That's because DHT latches onto the androgen receptors on your scalp's hair follicles, causing them to shrink and struggle to support healthy hair growth.
Plus, high levels of DHT can shorten your scalp hair's natural growth cycle. Some men are particularly sensitive to DHT, usually if they have some kind of variations in their androgen receptor gene.
To make things more complicated, DHT interacts differently with your scalp hair and your facial hair. In fact, this hormone actually causes beard hair growth. That means it's entirely possible to have a lush beard and be completely bald on top at the same time.
Can hair loss on the head affect beard growth?
In most cases, no. As we've mentioned, the hormones that cause scalp hair loss (a.k.a. alopecia areata) don't have the same effect on beard or facial hair. However, it's important to call out the rare cases when you might encounter facial hair loss and scalp hair loss at the same time and what causes these conditions.
This autoimmune disorder can cause facial hair loss. Alopecia barbae usually involves inflammatory cells attacking your facial hair follicles, often leading to patchy hair loss.
Often, you'll see round or circular patches of baldness on the beard, but this hair loss can also be more extensive, too. Plus, this condition can also impact your scalp's hair follicles and cause bald patches to appear.
Another cause for beard hair loss can be a psychological condition known as trichotillomania. It's not well understood, but the condition usually starts during adolescence and causes sufferers to pull out their own hair.
Usually, it's linked to other conditions such as OCD, ADHD or even Tourette syndrome. In some cases, the act of pulling out hair on the face, scalp or eyebrows can trigger a sense of relief. Often, this condition is a coping mechanism for stress.
Treating hair loss on the head
Any kind of hair loss, from male pattern baldness to alopecia areata, can take a toll on your self-esteem and confidence.
The most common of these conditions, male pattern baldness, affects up to one in every two men over the age of 40. Usually, it shows us as a thinning of the scalp hair, a receding hairline and a loss of hair on the crown of the head. Most of the time, this condition is related to the generics you've inherited from your parents and can't be prevented.
The good news? There are practical ways you can treat hair loss, especially if you act in the early stages of hair loss (the sooner you start treatment, the better chance you have of regrowing your hair).
One option is to use a liquid solution called minoxidil to increase blood flow to the scalp and stimulate hair growth. It's usually a foam solution that you apply to your head twice a day and can deliver results after at least four months of use. The downside? You need to keep up with this treatment daily to see long-term results.
Another option is Pilot's personalised hair loss treatments, which are formulated to match your unique hair growth needs. It involves a daily capsule packed with the ingredients you need to prevent further hair loss and support regrowth.
How? Well, each capsule blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT (a.k.a. the hormone that stops hair growth). Plus, this medication can help to regrow your hair by improving the delivery of vital nutrients to your hair follicles.
These bespoke formulations are packed with what's called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, an active ingredient that stops the hormones responsible for hair loss. These medications have been shown to help 83 per cent of users keep their hair and support 66 per cent of users to regrow their hair.
Plus, this treatment option comes with a low risk of side effects with just two per cent of users reporting side effects during use.
What kind of beard goes with a bald head?
Whether you're treating your hair loss or embracing a bald head, you might be wondering what kind of beard to pair with your look. Whether you're already rocking baldness with a beard or simply looking for some beard inspiration, here are a few trending beard styles to consider.
- Two-day stubble: This signature look is super simple to achieve and involves putting the razer down for just a couple of days. To keep this look in shape, use a beard trimmer regularly to keep your stubble looking sharp.
- Stubble goatee: This look is another easy one to master and helps to contrast against a shiny bald head. Make sure to keep this stubble goatee blended seamlessly for a casual look.
- Full and rounded: If you've got a thick beard, cutting your full beard in an oval can elongate your face and help your face to look taller and slimmer. This shape pairs perfectly with a bald head, too.
- Well lined beard: This look involves a bit more maintenance, but is a great way to frame your face (regardless of what's happening on top). It uses razer sharp lines to frame the lower part of your face and emphasise your neck and cheek lines.
When it comes to beards and hair loss, there's no exact link between the two. However, if you're navigating hair loss, there are practical ways you can keep and grow your hair. Get clinically proven hair loss medication delivered to your door from Pilot.