Sometimes when someone says that “DHT blockers are a myth, they won’t hinder your beard growth,” I use hirsutism as an example of why DHT blockers are real.
Many men use minoxidil to grow their beards; they are looking to enhance their facial hair as much as possible. In our recommendations we tend to tell people to stay away from most beard oil products because they contain anti-androgens that can hinder your progress. Androgens (testosterone and DHT) are highly important to beard growth. In fact, they are literally what fuels our face and body hair. Scalp hair is excluded, as it’s not androgenic.
Note: DHT blockers should be avoided even if you’re naturally bearded, but it’s even more so important for those that aren’t.
noun MEDICINEDictionary Definition
abnormal growth of hair on a person’s face and body, especially on a woman.
Usually it’s in reference to women because, in general, women have less body hair than men. Hirsutism has them grow hair in places that are abnormal to their biology. It’s caused by hyperandrogeneism.
It can include men, too, but it’s seen as less abnormal because men generally grow body and facial hair as it is — due to the higher levels of androgen hormones they produce.
Hirsutism affects as many as 5-10% of women and is considered a common medical condition. Since it is common, it has been studied fairly thoroughly and a technique using video equipment and computer software was developed.
Androgens cause hirsutism
Along with natural causes, androgenic drugs can cause hirsutism as well. Have you ever wondered why bodybuilders using anabolic steroids tend to have thick facial hair? Genetics, sure. But also the fact that steroids are androgenic and increase testosterone.
In the same vein, transgender men undergoing masculanizing hormone therapy end up with more body and facial hair.
Increasing testosterone and DHT enhances beard growth
It’s much because of this that we, time and again, talk about how important T and DHT are for facial hair. A big aspect of growing a beard comes down to how your follicles metabolize your hormones (or don’t), and how your body prioritizes such usage.
The more testosterone you have, the likelier it is your body will start using it in the way you want it to.
That’s not to say that men with more testosterone tend to have better beards. In actuality, as stated above, it really depends on how your body decides to use your hormones. A man with lower than average T levels can very well have a fuller beard than a man with average T levels.
With more testosterone comes more conversion of it into DHT. DHT is the androgen that causes vellus hair to become terminal and prolongs the anagen phase of the hair follicles. As a result, you get thicker and longer facial hair.
Decreasing androgens lowers body hair and beard growth — combating hirsutism
Opposite to more androgens increasing facial hair, you might hypothesize that lowering them decreases facial hair. You would be correct in that hypothesis.
Less DHT in your body comes with lessened facial hair. If your body is unable to metabolize androgens to grow secondary hair, that hair then starts to decrease.
To combat hirsutism, drugs are one option. These drugs are used to lower androgen production. One such method is to use 5-AR inhibitors — DHT blockers. Normally the drug of choice is finasteride, a drug that many people use to combat balding.
Blocking DHT combats balding and hirsutism
If you don’t know, balding is generally caused by DHT if you have the genetics that predispose you to losing hair on your scalp. If you are balding, the method to combat it is to block DHT. This is well-known and highly studied.
People that do not want to use a drug for their androgenic alopecia will opt for natural DHT blockers. DHT blockers such as rosemary essential oil, emu oil, and saw palmetto.
These supplements are used successfully by many people; if these natural supplements are helping your balding issue, then would they not also work to reduce facial hair? The reason they are helping your balding is because they are reducing the DHT in your follicles (and potentially entire system). DHT is required to grow facial hair, so why would they not help to reduce beard growth like they do with hirsutism.
DHT blockers have no place in beard growing
This is why DHT blockers have no place in your life. If you are trying to grow the fullest beard possible, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by “not caring” about DHT blockers. I see so many men say they don’t care and that they don’t believe that they do anything. But if they help balding, and if they help combat hirsutism… why would they not negatively affect your facial hair growth?
In particular, guys that needed to use minoxidil to grow a beard in the first place… there is a reason for that. If you successfully grew a beard using minox, that means that genetics wasn’t the factor. It means your environment was the factor. What you put in and on your body, and what your daily life is like.
If DHT blockers are so bad, why do beard companies use them?
Beard companies don’t have scientists on retainer. What they do is take scalp-related information and try to apply it to facial hair. I don’t believe that most do it out of greed, but simply out of ignorance. They haven’t studied the science behind beards or secondary hair, and their “research” is limited to Google searching what the best hair growth supplements are.
If you want to read more about this in particular, please read this article:
It goes a little more into depth about what I’ve mentioned in this section and should shed some light.
When you’re trying to be objective, you should also do so out of a place of knowledge. This article wasn’t written to criminalize the use of DHT blockers; they very well have their place for some people. Particularly those that want to maintain their head hair, and those that want to get rid of secondary hair. But if you’re trying to grow a thick, full beard, then stay away from DHT blockers.
Just because a random guy “with a really full beard” uses DHT blockers can get away with it, that doesn’t mean that you can. And at the end of the day, an anti-androgen is an anti-androgen. There are other alternatives that you can use to moisturize and condition your face and beard. Why use something that could potentially hinder that?