Genetics can be like gambling when it comes to growing a beard.
Some guys have won the genetic lottery and have a big, glorious beard that grew quickly and evenly.
Others were dealt a losing facial hair hand and have a patchy beard that just never looks good in their eyes.
There are plenty of things you can do to fix a patchy beard, but some guys opt for the path of least resistance and go for a beard transplant.
Getting beard implants is not a spontaneous thing to do and there are a lot of questions you may have about the procedure. I hope I can shed some light on the things you need to consider before you go under the knife. How much does a beard transplant cost? Are there any side effects? Is it permanent?
I’m not here to sway anybody one way or another, just to point out the information you need to make an informed decision about beard transplants for yourself.
Why can’t I grow a beard?
You can more than likely grow a beard, it may just be that you don’t like that it isn’t full and thick.
Not all beards are alike and they aren’t all big and bold. Here are some reasons your beard is patchy or thin:
Staying on the gambling theme, if you have ever played roulette at a casino, then you kind of understand how you either have the ball land on a thick beard gene or you don’t.
If your grandfathers and father all had patchy beards, then you’re probably going to have a patchy beard.
If they had thick full beards, and you have a patchy beard, well, sometimes the ball ends up on 00 and there isn’t much you can do about it.
What I can say, though, is that if you have a long lineage of big beards and you end up with a patchy one, then it may not be bad genetics. You may have something going on that can be fixed even before you consider beard implants.
Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are the two hormones responsible for your hair growth both on your head and face. Not enough testosterone can mean you end up with a weak or thin beard that doesn’t grow in well. Too much in the form of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and you end up with male pattern baldness.
You need DHT though to grow a beard as it is the signal for the body to get the facial hair growing. (This is why I never recommend using a DHT blocker if you have a patchy beard)
Are hormones the culprit? There’s no way to know unfortunately, but if you are under the age of 25 and have a patchy beard then it may just be hormones. Your best bet is to wait until the age of 25 before you take any drastic measures as your hormones may end up getting in line and growing your beard the way you like.
Another possibility is that you have an autoimmune disorder that is causing your body to reject some hair on your beard. This is called alopecia barbae. If you see small circles of bald spots then it is a sign that this is alopecia.
It is important to find out if this is the case, as you don’t want to spend thousands on beard implants to only have the hair fall out again after.
If you end up finding out for sure that is what it is then you won’t need to be doing a transplant. Usually some steroids, whether cream or oral, can take care of it and regrow your hair.
If you have a patchy beard in general then it is likely that it is not alopecia, however.
Does a beard transplant work?
The short answer is that, yes, beard implants work.
It is a surgical procedure so it isn’t like there aren’t case studies or medical journals that can be consulted. Of course, there is no guarantee that it will meet your expectations, especially considering the beard transplant cost, but that is another discussion.
There are two types of beard transplants. FUE and FUT. Both are grafts, but how they are done is different.
When the graft is done one hair root at a time then this is an FUE beard transplant. These are the most accurate and probably the better of the two options. The surgeon takes a healthy hair follicle at a time and only leaves behind a tiny scar in its place. This will not be seen as your hair will grow over it.
This is a beard transplant that is a bit different than the FUE in that they take a section of skin with the follicles attached. The area where the hair is removed from will then be closed up while trying to leave as small a scar as possible Then the graft is placed on the area of the beard where there is not much hair.
Pros and cons of each type of beard implants
Leaves only tiny, unnoticeable set of scars
Is more evenly distributed
Allows for a quicker resumption of normal activities with less recovery time
Almost no discomfort
Is harder to cover bigger areas of the beard with new hair
More of the beard is covered which is good for very thin beards
Takes less time for the surgery
Is slightly uncomfortable for the patient
Leaves a larger scar
Recovery takes slightly longer
How much does a beard transplant cost?
This is really what everybody wants to know before we get into the real nitty-gritty. How much will these beard implants cost?
As with most things the answer is it depends.
Where you get it done and how much needs to be transplanted all affect the beard transplant cost. If you go to a Midtown Manhattan doctor is obviously going to cost more than a doctor doing this procedure in Des Moines, obviously.
Also, some guys are just looking to fill in the patchy areas and could be considered partial transplants. Others might be looking for an entire beard.
Generally speaking, the partial beard transplant cost will likely be around $2,500 to $3,000 but even as much as $5,000 and full beard implants will cost a minimum of $7,000. You’ll probably spend over $10,000 for a full beard transplant at most clinics, however. Before you step foot in a doctor’s office for a consultation, keep those numbers in mind because if you can’t afford those prices, chances are not very good that you will be quoted any less. And it doesn’t make sense to pay for an expensive consultation if you don’t have that kind of money to spend on the beard implants.
If you feel that it is worth that beard transplant cost, then by all means, get yourself a quote to firm up a price.
How does it work?
If those beard transplant costs are in range for your budget and you want to think more about it then you are probably curious what it is like to have beard implants.
Where does the hair graft come from?
There are different spots so it is going to depend on a few factors that your doctor will have to weigh.
More than likely it is going to come from the back of the head close to the hairline. The challenge with these beard implants is that the hair on your head is much different than your facial hair. So they try to get the hair that grows around your neckline to be as close as possible to the type of hair on your beard.
Alternatively, it could come from the hair on your neck, so the beard itself. If you are only doing some fill in on a patchy beard but it grows thick under your chin, then they may extract some follicles from that area.
How long does the surgery take?
It should only take a maximum of around 5 hours to complete everything. A FUT beard transplant may take less than that since they are able to take out strips of skin at a time instead of individual follicles.
Does it look natural afterward?
This is when it becomes vital that you do your due diligence on the clinic where you are thinking of going to get your beard implants. A skilled surgeon can make it look totally natural. One with fewer skills may have trouble selecting the right hair to use.
Make sure you check out the testimonials of people who have gotten the beard transplant and see what people are saying.
You may have to do some research for some time before you settle on the right place that will have your beard looking natural. I think it is not something you need to worry about too much, but you don’t want buyer’s regret with a procedure like this one.
Pre and Post Surgery
Since a beard transplant is an actual surgery, you do need to avoid certain things ahead of time. You shouldn’t be on any blood thinners or even be taking any aspirin for at least 10 days before the surgery. Of course, you will want to let your physician know if you have any allergies to medications or if you are on any medications.
Don’t drink any caffeine the day of and it should go without saying that you shouldn’t be drinking any alcohol either.
There is no need to go too in depth here since you will get a print out from the office on the things you need to do to be prepared.
Post surgery is a little more involved as there is a healing process to go through that you want to be as smooth as possible.
You’ll likely have some blood scabs form around where the grafts were inserted. They will likely come and go for a few days, but not longer than a week. If they last longer than that make sure to tell your doctor. You’ll likely be advised to not even wash your face during this time.
To prevent infection you will be given an antibiotic ointment. Keep on the lookout for signs of possible infection like any pussy sores.
Your doctor will tell you about this but it bears repeating, that you will have the follicles from the graft fall out shortly after the surgery. This is normal and expected. Once they fall out the new hairs will start growing in.
It may take a few months for your beard to fully grow in, but it may even take less than that.
Beard Implants Side Effects
Though there is nothing dramatic to report, you will see some possible side effects after the surgery.
One thing you will almost certainly experience is some swelling and sensitivity for at least a few days afterward. Nothing painful, but uncomfortable at a minimum.
You could see some bruising, but this is not very likely.
Ingrown hairs are a concern. Not that they will cause problems, but they can be uncomfortable and also they can get infected. If you are diligent with applying the antibiotic cream then they won’t get infected so make sure you keep up on that.
To prevent any problems you’ll be asked to not shave for at least 10 days. This probably is not an issue since you are not paying thousands for a beard transplant that you plan to shave off.
Disadvantages of Beard Transplants
A beard transplant is really not going to work for everybody so there are some negatives to keep in mind. These may not be deal breakers for most guys, but to some, it may be enough to call it off.
The Beard Transplant Cost
We already talked about how much to expect to pay for beard implants, but this is the most obvious disadvantage.
Yes, you want a full beard and have dreamed of women running their fingers through your facial hair. Do you have the kind of money to make that dream a reality, though? It may be a tough pill to swallow to shell out hard earned money for something that is not really necessary in the grand scheme of things.
Unless you are a model looking to get into the beard modeling niche then the beard transplant cost may not make much sense.
Possibility of Scars
I have seen guys that have had hair transplants and the scars make it obvious that they got plugs. Now, I have to be honest that I have never seen a beard transplant or if I have I at least didn’t know it was. I don’t know what kind of scarring to expect.
With a surgery of this kind, there is always the possibility that you will be left with scars on your head that are visible.
The is especially true if you buzz or shave your head. Guys with long hair have less to worry about but it is something to keep in mind.
Usually, when people get plastic surgery they time it for a vacation so they can recuperate away from nosy eyes.
You can certainly go back to work the day after the surgery, but you will have blood clots all over your face for days afterward. You may not care if people know you got a beard transplant, but it may not be the best optic to go back to work right away. This is a factor if you are in a client facing position at work.
Should you get a beard transplant?
Assuming you can handle the beard transplant cost, is it worth it to get beard implants?
I started out by letting you know the ins and outs of what the surgery entails, the beard transplant cost and the disadvantages of getting one so you could make a proper evaluation.
Here is what you may get out of getting a beard transplant that hopefully outweigh the negatives.
You get the beard you want
Why settle for the beard that Mother Nature randomly decided on for you? You can choose from any type of bead that you think suits you assuming you can cover the beard transplant cost of it.
Whether you are just looking to fill in those patchy spots or you want to go full Grizzly Adams, it is totally up to you.
Obviously, you will want to be very sure of the type of beard you want as you can’t change your mind later.
Feel more confidence
There are so many things that guys feel self-conscious about that really do a number on their confidence.
If you try to grow a beard and it looks weak or that you end up looking like a teenager when you’re actually in your 30’s that can end up touching a nerve.
That lack of confidence that comes from not growing a proper beard can bleed into many areas of your life. From not getting a promotion at work to failing at a relationship.
When you are confident then these things kind of take care of themselves. When your self-esteem is low, for whatever reason, these normal life activities take on much more difficulty to maintain.
Attract more attention
You may not be the guy that needs to be the center of attention, but you may also be tired of feeling like a wallflower. Especially when you see other guys with beards getting all the benefits that you want in your life.
People do look at guys with beards in a different light.
- You look strong – Women see men with beards as being strong in body and in mind. If you were to look for help doing something manly like fix a car or help build a shed, you’re more likely to pick the guy with the beard out of a lineup to help you.
- You look more serious – Again, when women are looking for a guy that knows how to take care of business and is serious about life, then they are more likely to be looking for a guy with a beard. And I mean a full, thick and manly beard. You may have been the class clown in high school, but now that you’re rocking a beard the perception has changed. You look like you grew up and now are in charge.
- You become good Dad material – Women see guys with beards as being able to take care of a family. This goes back to appearing more masculine and that you look more serious. Nobody thinks the class clown is going to be a good Dad. That guy might get the girl because he makes her laugh, but when it comes time to settle down, many women look for other features that imply you will be a rock that the family can always depend on.
- You look smarter – There is something contemplative about having a beard. Even when you are just trying to decide what to have for lunch, a beard makes it look like you are working on a serious problem. And that look exudes a certain intelligence. It makes it look like you are capable of some big thinking and can work out a solution to many problems.
Short recovery time
Unlike other types of plastic surgery, beard implants don’t have you out of action for any real length of time.
You can resume your normal activities as soon as the day after the beard transplant. Except for the scabs and light bleeding that may keep you out of work for a few days, the recovery won’t have to lay up in bed or anything.
The side effects are minimal and in just a few months you’re on your way to bearded glory.
It takes no extra care
You will definitely want to be practicing some good beard maintenance to keep your beard looking healthy, but that would be the case even if you grew your own full beard naturally.
What I mean to say is that once your post surgery recovery is over then you treat your beard no differently than anybody else.
It won’t fall out if you don’t use a certain medication. It won’t look weird if you don’t treat it with some special ointment. It will look and act like any other beard.
That even includes shaving it off if you feel like it. It will grow back normally without doing anything special.
Before you go under the knife
This may seem unrelated to beard implants, but there was a story about a guy who wanted to do the stomach staples to lose weight. He wanted to go out with a bang so before the surgery, he treated himself to everything he loved to eat in the weeks leading up to the surgery. Because of this, his surgeon called it off and sad that he was mentally not ready for the lifestyle changes needed to ensure success.
He decided to show the doctor that he was capable and joined a gym and started a calorie deficit diet. In a year he lost the weight he was looking to lose by doing the surgery.
Why am I telling you this?
The point is that there may be some things you can be doing on your own to improve the look of your beard that won’t require you to spend thousands on beard transplant surgery.
It may not be simple and will take time, but you may be able to make some changes that bring your patchy beard in line with your vision of what a beard should be.
Before you decide on surgery do some of these things and see if that helps:
Everybody knows about Rogaine for hair growth, which is the brand name that uses Minoxidil, but not many people think of using it on their beard.
Minoxidil can help grow your beard since it prolongs the growth phase of your hair giving it more time to grow. It also increases the blood flow to the root of the follicle so it gets more nourishment and oxygen.
It also stimulates an enzyme in the immune system that may contribute to growing hair. Studies suggest that your immune system may also be responsible for hair loss as much as genes are.
Does Minoxidil work to grow a thicker beard? It definitely can but it isn’t a guarantee. Some guys don’t see any benefit from using it on their head when others see excellent results. Your mileage will vary and the only way to find out if it will work is to take it.
You have to have some discipline and put the lotion on every day. And it will take months before you see any results. If you have the patience then this is the route to go. You’ll need patience for a beard transplant, too since it will take a few months before it completely grows in, so it kind of comes out the same.
Also be aware that you can’t stop using it even when you get the desired result. You lose the growth when you stop using it. This is a permanent thing.
This is a bit controversial when it comes to recommended beard growth hacks. Some beard pills work and some are nothing more than a placebo that achieve nothing.
There is some science behind it though so it isn’t like they are all snake oils.
In fact, many of the best beard supplements only give you extra amounts of the same vitamins and minerals that you could get from your diet. Instead of eating a pound of carrots a day for the extra beta carotene to help your beard, you get that dose from a pill. And then some.
Look for zinc, Vitamin B12, Omega 3, Omega 12, Biotin, and Vitamin E. All of those vitamins are in abundance in a beard growth supplement. There are no secret ingredients or magic bullets. Everything included would be found in a healthy and balanced diet. Just in greater numbers than you could possibly eat.
There are some essential oils out there that can do as much as a medication and sometimes even more.
For example, peppermint oil has been found to work as effectively as Minoxidil in stimulating hair growth. It can increase the blood flow to the roots of the hair brining with it a fresh charge of nutrients. This can kick start some weaker follicles that are thin and wispy and start growing them again where they become thicker and fuller. If your beard has some thin spots, this might just be the ticket to fill in those patches.
There are plenty of others that can help your beard growth, too.
- Rosemary Oil – Besides also stimulating the circulation, rosemary oil can treat a number of skin conditions that may be slowing down your beard growth. If you have ringworm or seborrheic dermatitis then this can help clear that up and open your beard growth up.
- Castor Oil – This is a potent oil that can be blended with other oils to make a mix that will improve your beard in many ways. It also acts as a stimulant to improve the circulation in your skin, but it also has other properties that will strengthen your hair and make it appear thicker.
- Tea Tree Oil – If you have acne or clogged pores that interferes with your beard growth then you can clear it up with the use of tea tree oil. Your pores can collect oil and grime which slows down those roots from growing. If you clear them out then you open up the possibility of faster and stronger growth.
Change Your Lifestyle
The way you live could be contributing to your weak beard. If you like to party and drink and don’t eat right then you are not doing your beard any favors.
Before you try any kind of surgery then you should definitely get your game in gear to stop doing things that are destructive to your beard.
- Eat right – Just as I mentioned in the last section about beard supplements, you need a lot of vitamins and nutrients for your beard to grow. Eat lots of veggies and cut way back on the junk and fast food.
- Get Sleep – When you sleep your body releases an enzyme that helps your hair grow. Get plenty of sleep and your beard will grow faster and with better coverage.
- Workout – When you workout and exercise, whether it is playing a sport or lifting weights, you increase the blood flow to the hair roots. This added boost of nutrients will improve your beard growth and even add to the thickness and strength of the follicles.
- Drink More Water – All of the cells of your body need water to function properly. This includes your hair. If you get enough water, then your hair will respond accordingly.
- Meditate/Do Yoga – This may sound really new agey, but you need to reduce the stress in your life and meditation and yoga are ideal ways to do that. Stress increases cortisol in your blood which can lead to hair loss and weaker hair in general. With so much pressure in our daily lives, it takes a toll on your beard and even your hair on your head. By reducing stress and cortisol, your hair will grow faster and healthier.
Going under the knife for a beard transplant is not something to be taken lightly. Aside from the beard transplant cost, it is a decision that carries some weight to it.
Only you can decide if it is worth it, but I hope this article shed some light on what is involved so you can see if it is the right path for you to improve your beard.
I’m here to answer any questions that you have so drop a line in the box below if you need to know more.
I am not a doctor, though so you may want to talk to a professional to get some insights if I can’t give you the information you’re looking for.
Just remember that a consultation at a clinic can run into the hundreds of dollars, so ask around to find somebody who has had the procedure that can give you some real world advice.
Have you had a beard transplant? I would love to hear your story so make sure you send a comment about your experience!