Do whiskers get thicker after middle age?
September 2, 2018 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I have always wanted to grow a beard. However, it never came in close to thick enough. Outside of the goatee area, some whiskers were almost a quarter inch apart. Boo hoo. Poor 4ster. Yet, I quit shaving for a few days recently (out of laziness), and it honestly seems like the goatee area is noticeably thicker than ever before.

I am 47. Is this possible, for whiskers to somehow get thicker this late in life? It has been a few years since I tried to grow this area. Am I crazy? I hereby promise a favorite for everyone who tells me this is not my imagination.

Thanks, as always, for your help.
posted by 4ster to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Anecdotal of course, but this has been my experience as well. I'm twenty years older than you and, though mine is still a bit thin for a decent beard, I have several times the facial hair now than I had at say, 20 or so. Same with general body hair. Seems to have been a pretty straight line, slow-but-steady increase over the decades.
posted by ClingClang at 2:17 PM on September 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I always thought that it was a fairly well-known thing that men tend to get hairier as they age. Well, except up top, as it were.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:41 PM on September 2, 2018 [7 favorites]

That's the folk wisdom I grew up with. Beards get beardier while head-hair gets... less so.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:00 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Personally, my hair seems to be going from THICK to less thick, especially the longer it gets (apparently a thing). However, the thing with beards is just to give it a couple weeks and see how it goes. That should be just about enough time to see where your patterns lie.
posted by rhizome at 3:11 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure. I think men specifically get hairier with age, you know, except on the head.

I never tried to grow a beard until I was in my early 30's. Had a contest at work, who can grow the best beard. I know my beard looked like absolute shit when I was 20, but at 33 it was glorious and I won the competition by 5 votes at the end of the month.

I used to just grow one for the winter months, but I have carried it all year for the last few.

My Brother is a couple years younger than me and is still as babyfaced as ever. Can't grow a beard to save his life.
posted by sanka at 4:15 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes. The hair moves south, including into your ears and nose.
posted by cjdavis at 5:26 PM on September 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was never able to grow a decent beard ten years ago, but find to my delight I can grow a fine one now at the age of 34. Granted, I also did a tour in the Navy between then and now, so YMMV.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:28 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

My beard started getting noticeably thicker when I hit 50. It's still not magnificent, but it serves.
posted by flabdablet at 7:59 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Does your beard now contain white hairs? White hairs grow thicker and faster than pigmented hair.
posted by hgws at 10:14 PM on September 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

yea, when I met my boyfriend, like 18 years ago, he had a terrible patchy-ass beard that was so awful it was months after he shaved it off before I actually noticed he was pretty cute. Now he can grow an actual beard that looks downright regal.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:12 AM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

My cheek line didn't fill in until I was thirty, and was still a bit thin at that point, but I've recently noticed at 48 after letting it really grow wild during my recent bike tour that my cheeks have filled in even further at some point during the past several years. I'd always kept my beard kinda short so I hadn't really noticed, but the beard is noticeably fuller than it used to be.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:54 AM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I never wanted a beard. I don't know if it was finer when I was younger, but these days I can grown a really nice one in a week or so just by being lazy. Yes, I think it's thicker and it's much, much redder.
posted by james33 at 4:33 AM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

My beard started growing both thicker and faster in my mid-fifties. That continued for two or three years, then it seemed to return to its original, slower rate of growth. Weird.

I'm also puzzled by the fact that my beard now has a lot of white hairs while what's left on top remains resolutely brown. What's that all about?
posted by Paul Slade at 6:05 AM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was never able to fully grow a beard until I was into my late 50s. The sideburn areas forward to where I could successfully grow chin and lip fur would never sprout or fill-in. Then, as I neared 60, I decided to try once again and, miracle of miracles, I could grow a full beard! Now, the missus won't let me shave the thing off.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:30 AM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I, too, never though I could grow a beard. Then, at 44, I got hurt and spent a week or so in the hospital. No one minds if you don't shave there, and I was surprised to see sufficient growth. (I was *also* surprised to see it was almost all white, but never mind that.)

I grew it out, declaring to my wife that "I'll shave when I can walk." 4 months later, I was on a cane, so I shaved. It took her about 36 hours to say "I liked it. Bring it back."

Mine still doesn't completely connect the mustache to the sides, but I trim it in a way that works. People seem to like it, including the all-important matrimonial superdelegate, so I'm keeping it.

The tl;dr is that yeah, I think for some guys beards do thicken as you get into middle age. That makes sense, given all the less-desirable additional hair we accumulate. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, TMI.)
posted by uberchet at 1:13 PM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, and, FYI, you're going to start having to trim your ears soon, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:46 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

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