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The Beard Development Process for Teens and Young Adults

As a guy goes through adolescence, the idea of growing facial hair generally comes to mind at some point because it is one of many changes that tells others he is becoming a man. Not every teen can grow facial hair but many will get the start of a beard during the teen years and a very few teens will grow a rather complete looking beard by the time they turn 20.  It is most typical for much of the development process to carry into the early 20s and for some it continues into the 30s and 40s.

 - Development Cycle :

As with other changes during the teen years, beards go through a development cycle that generally takes several years and for some, even carries into their 20s and 30s.  Toward the beginning of adolescence, the face and body is filled with vellus hairs [short, clear hairs]. Then at some point some of these vellus hairs start growing into transitional hairs [longer, slightly tinted hairs] and at this point shaving is introduced. Finally, these hairs thicken, darken and start growing into terminal hairs which becomes the beard. 

 - Terminal Hairs = Full Beard?

Unfortunately no... terminal hairs develop from one area of the face to another, often taking months or even years to spread throughout the beard area. The most common areas that show the first terminal hairs are sideburns and chin or goatee areas.  Then the beard may spread to the sides and stache areas and finally to connectors and under the lower lip. Of course, guys experience all kinds of development speed but nobody gets every beard hair to start growing at the start.

 - Start growing with neatness or go natural?

Since beards develop so randomly, to let a new teen beard grow naturally gives the impression of laziness and it does not look intentional. Also, since the chin and neck areas generally develop before the sides, a natural teen beard often looks unnaturally bottom heavy.  For teens who have hair below the adam's apple, it is generally advised to carve a neckline at least during their initial beard development months.

 - Claiming a successful beard :

Since a teen beard generally takes years to fully complete, success can only be claimed in the early months if the teen can accept to sport just partial coverage. It is generally conceded that a teen's developing beard is a work in progress and that his 'young man's beard' is to be expected. Some teens cannot accept a beard with partial coverage and for them carving to more complete coverages such as a chin strap or goatee is the answer. For those who can accept partial coverage, the full beard can be grown and will look good as long as there is some coverage and not just a few random hairs. The How to Achieve Beard Success thread has more specifics on claiming success.

Common questions and statements from Teens and Young Adults

Will I ever get a full beard? 

 This question usually comes after a week or two of growing and there is no way to tell how much beard a teen will have at his current age until 2-3 months of growing have completed. There is likewise no way to predict the final beard coverage when still a teen because beards continue to develop into a guy's 20s, 30s and beyond.

What are the primary factors that control beard development? 

In a nutshell, genetics and testosterone.  It is debatable whether the genes from the men on your mother's side or father's side have more influence, but for sure teens with grandfathers who could grow heavy and thick beards will probably have similar success. Testosterone is needed for beard development and is generally at adequate levels in most teens. Testosterone can be increased by intense, short burst exercise, good diet, proper sleep and no smoking. A doctor can help you bring unusually low testosterone levels to within normal ranges.

What length should I grow my beard?

 A big beard gives a much older look and could make a teen look at least 10 years older. A short and trimmed full beard will give a mature look but with other younger features such as smoother skin on the upper face you won't look like a much older man. Carving back to a chinstrap or solo goatee or sideburns presents even a younger look. The challenge is to find the length and style that suits you at the moment and as you and those around you get comfortable with that, consider pushing the length a little further.

I have a bald spot on my chin... In a developing beard there are likely to be many bald spots or areas of lessor coverage.  Many times this occurs under the chin and since others will not see these spots with the head in a normal position, it can generally be ignored.  Bare spots in more obvious locations might be handled with trims or by letting other hair cover the spots.

How do I talk to others about my beard?

 Those close to a guy with an emerging and first beard can be caught off guard because the look of the one they've known for some time is changing too fast. Mothers may not want their sons to grow up quite so quickly and teen girl friends might not like the idea of going with an older looking guy. When the teen gets to college, all this can change quickly because those are the years when you are supposed to be maturing in many ways. To get others to accept your beard journey, you must be able to verbalize why you want to grow facial hair.

Source : jefffsbeardboard.yuku.com

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