Spring is here, and for most that means a shed. No, not the shed in your backyard where the mower has been sitting idle for months. The beard shed. True story, your beard, like most other parts of your body, goes through cycles of growth. Skin dries out and dies off and flakes away to make room and promote new growth. Just like the hair on your head, the skin on your arms and your fingernails, the beard has cycles of growth too.
Without getting into too much science, hair has three phases of life; anagen, catagen and telogen.
The anagen phase, or growth phase, is when all new hair growth occurs. During the anagen phase, hair grows at its normal rate (an average of one-half inch per month), and 90% of the hairs on your head will be in the anagen phase at any given time. Each specific hair can be in the anagen phase for an average of three to five years, but it can last as long as ten years in some cases.
The catagen phase, a transitional phase that follows the anagen phase, signaling the end of the growth phase. During the catagen phase, the hair follicle contracts and detaches from the dermal papilla (where it gets its nutrients). The hair bulb disappears and the root end of the hair forms a rounded club. Less than 1% of the hair will be in the catagen phase at any given time, and this phase usually lasts one to two weeks.
The telogen phase is also known as the resting phase and is the last phase in the hair’s growth cycle. The telogen phase lasts until the fully grown hair is shed. Hair that is in the telogen phase is usually shed during this phase, or after the start of the next anagen phase when it gets pushed out of the follicle.
See that last piece right above? Your hair (yes even your beard) sheds old dead hair. And new hair is pushed out. It’s the circle of life, but don’t get too crazy Rafiki on me. Your beard is going to be fine. Yes, you may be losing more hair than “normal” but it is all for the best as new growth will be healthier and denser. Keep conditioning those beards, and remember to always Beard Responsibly!