Why does my beard hair pull out so easily?

As you are growing a beard you will notice that your beard hairs fall out very regularly. Some of them will fall out with the slightest tug whilst others are completely anchored in your face and are painful to pull on let alone remove. If you have been finding that your beard hair is starting to pull out more easily there could be several reasons. In this article, we’re going to go over all the reasons of why your beard hair pulls out so easily and what you can do to make sure that your beard is anchored securely into your face for as long time as possible.

Your beard hair may pull out easily because it is in the last phase of growth. In this phase the root of the hair is cut off from the blood supply and can be removed from the follicle easily. A poor diet lacking some essential beard growing elements may also contribute to your beard hairs pulling out easily.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that beard hairs fall out on their own, naturally, all the time. It is not something that you need to be worried about. If you want to know more about why you your beard sheds hairs regularly check in my other article – why does my beard shed? The little-known reasons – click here to be taken to article.

Why does my beard shed?

Because your beard hair goes through three stages of growth it is likely that the reason your beard hair falls out easily is because that hair is in the final stages of growth.

It is in the last phase of growth

It is completely normal for beard hairs to fall out with very little effort. This is because all hairs on the body go through three different phases:

  1. Anagen stage
  2. Catagen stage
  3. Telogen stage

In the anagen phase of the cycle, the cells in the root of the hair divide rapidly, slowly adding to the length of the hair. Hair will remain in the phase for anywhere from two to six years. Interestingly, about 80 percent to 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in this stage of hair growth.

The catagen phase is a short intermediate stage that occurs at the end of the anagen phase. This is the end of the growth phase of the hair and no more cells are produced to increase its length. The hair is detached from the blood supply and lasts for up to three weeks.

Telogen stage is after the short catagen phase. Here the hair is released from the skin and the hair follicle takes a well-earned rest for the about three months.

The full hair cycle has been well studied and a great summary of the major events of the hair cycle has been reported by scientists in a 2006 publication published in the Journal of cell science. For those of you that want all the details and insider workings of each step of the hair cycle they have produced an infographic which you can view below.

You will notice from the above image that it is not necessary for the hair to fall out before the next one grows. Although the route has died and it is no longer growing their hair can easily stay anchored in your skin.

With the slightest of pulls the hair will be able to be removed from your face because it has died many weeks beforehand. This may seem like the hair has just been pulled out but it perished well before falling out for being plucked out.

It’s very difficult to tell when a hair died so even a relatively old dead hair will still look relatively new which can give the perception that new hairs are falling out.

How many beard hairs should you lose a day?

From my own personal experience I lose about 20 beard hairs a day. They come out of my face mainly during my morning routine when I am brushing with my wide toothed comb to get deep into my beard.

According to a September 2015 review in the Journal of clinical and diagnostic research the scientists say that the average number of beard hairs that fallout per day is dependent on the size and length of the beard but is expected to be much smaller than the 100 to 150 daily hairs which are shed from your head.

Don’t worry, there are many more hairs on your face and the hair follicle which just released a hair will produce a new one after a little bit of relaxing.

If you find that you are losing more beard hairs then me perhaps it is due to a variety of other reasons. Such as twisting the hairs while you are sleeping or combing.

Twisting the hairs

You may also be losing beard hairs because you are inadvertently twisting the hairs at the bottom of the hair shaft causing the hair to break off or be released prematurely from the hair follicle.

The twisting of beard hairs may happen in your sleep or it could happen if you are brushing your beard to vigourously.

There are a variety of ways that you can protect your beard hairs while sleeping. In my YouTube video I go through the five easy methods that you can employ to keep your beard save as you snooze and toss and turn throughout the night:

The only solution to twisting hairs during grooming is to consciously go easy on your beard hairs but also purchasing tools which are not so harsh on your beard. This includes using a natural bristle brush and using organic and natural beard products which do not stand any chance at damaging the beard at all.

Poor Diet

It could be that a poor diet is responsible for your beard loss and increase in beard hairs being pulled out easily. Making sure that your diet contains a variety of vitamins and minerals to support the beard growth and help the route develop as healthily as possible is very important.

If you have noticed significant hair fall each you should examine your recent dietary history and, if you are unable to pin it on a recent change, you should reach out to your trusted health professional who will run your medical history and look at you physically for risk factors and evidence of nutritional deficiency.

They will be able to perform a number of lab tests and studies to determine any nutritional deficiencies.

Patients with significant hair loss often turn to supplements before speaking to their doctor or other health professional. The unregulated supplement industry capitalizes on this issue selling supplements without any evidence that they work.

Hair follicles of one of the most metabolically active parts of the body and the growth may also be impacted by the intake of energy and food, protein nutrition, and also micronutrient deficiency – this means that the reason your hair is pulling out easier may be due to a complex interaction of these things, and more.

A paper published in 2017, went through all of the available literature on nutrient deficiencies that result in hair loss, detail the risk factors, and also look at any available evidence on the effectiveness of supplementation.

ElementNotes on deficiency
IronA deficiency of iron will result in a lot of telogen hair loss but there is insignificant evidence to recommend iron supplication to hair loss patients.
ZincZinc has been found to reverse hair loss in five patients. There is limited information on the effect of zinc supplementation.
Fatty acidsFatty acids can result in the lost of library hair but there is limited information on the effects of fatty acid supplements improving hair growth.
SeleniumIn animal studies, rats with deficient selenium have relatively sparse hair growth. However, there is limited information on the effects of supplementation for improving hair growth.
Vitamin A, EDeficiency in vitamin A and E have no known link to hair loss.
Folic acidThere is no significant difference in folate levels in a study of 91 patients with hair loss and 74 healthy controls.
BiotinDeficiency of bio tin can result in alopecia, and a range of other skin conditions but there is limited information on the effects of supplementing biotin into your diet.
Amino acidsBeing deficient in protein can result in hair loss. But there is limited information on the effects of other amino acids and proteins improving hair growth.
Effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use on hair loss. [Adapted from Guo et al.]

Trichotillomania (TTM)

If you are looking for help for someone else may be that they are plucking their hair. Some people find it very hard to break the habit of subconsciously plucking out their beard hairs.

TTM sufferers have an impulse control disorder which results in them plucking out there hairs. Quite often the people afflicted with TTM don’t realise they are doing something wrong or are unwilling to admit that they are pulling out their hairs.

In a 2018 article, a 14-year-old boy presented to one of the authors with a dermatitis that was causing significant redness and irritation.

By looking at the haemorrhaging around the beard hairs they were able to find out that the boy was plucking the hairs regularly. Only after a long talk to the boy admitting spending hours in front of the mirror and shower using tweezers to pluck out all of the beard hair that he could reach with the tweezers.

So if you notice that someone is suffering from beard patches and that it is red and inflamed you may want to sensitively ask them if they are pulling out the hairs themselves. It is not very common but it could be something that you could suggest seeking help for.

Heat treatments

Lastly, you may be being too enthusiastic while using heat treatments for your hair. Heat treatment has been come a common part of maintaining and styling a beard. However, it could very easily be the one thing that is damaging your beard and causing it to pull out more easily.

There is no reason why you can use hair dryers and beard straighteners on your face but you do have to be careful about not overdoing it. In my YouTube video, below, I go through the pros and cons of straightening your beard:

If I get my beard where in the shower, I will always use a hairdryer to dry out my beard. I just make sure that I use the hairdryer on a low heat, and I do not stress the hair or dry it out too much.

I find that putting a little bit of beard oil into my beard hair before using heat helps protect the beard and keep it a little bit more moisturised than if I don’t use the beard oil to lock in the moisture. My assumption is that the oil sits on top of the water and stops the evaporation of the water and it leaving the hair.

I always careful to cool down my beard after using any heat treatment by using the cool setting on my hairdryer and running my hands over the surface of my beard to make sure that the heat has been completely removed and I cannot feel it in my beard anymore.

How do I keep my beard from shedding?

If you want to keep your beard from shedding I would recommend looking at your diet – making sure that you have a good and varied healthy diet so that your body has everything it needs to grow a beard.

Good diet

Having a great diet is important because your body needs a number of different minerals, vitamin C, and basic building blocks to grow your beard.

Here are some of the best things that you can eat to support your growth.

Eggs

Eggs contain both protein and biotin – both of these things promote hair growth. When you look at your diet you need to make sure that you are eating a good amount of protein as the hair on your body is made up mostly of protein. This is particularly important if you are on a vegetarian or another restricted diet. Most people will not have to worry about getting adequate amounts of protein in the diet but if in doubt about your intake speak to a doctor or nutritionist.

Lastly, eggs contain a molecule called Biotin. Biotin is a molecule found in eggs, milk, and bananas. It is commonly recommended for brittle hair and other conditions but taking more than what is consumed naturally has not been shown to have any benefit. In other words, you don’t need biotin supplements unless you have been diagnosed with low levels. Biotin is an essential part of the production of keratin – a protein found in hair.

Berries, citrus and other fruits

Vitamin C is a really strong antioxidant and can be found in berries, oranges, blackcurrants, kiwi fruits, lemons, lychees, papayas and strawberries. Vitamin C can help protect the beard hair follicles against damage from things called free radicals in the body. These are molecules that naturally occur in our bodies so it’s not anything you should be worried of – but vitamin C is your friend when it comes to limiting the amount of free radicals in your body.

The body uses Vitamin C to produce collagen with is another protein that is in the body that strengthens hair – including the hair on your face. Make sure that you take in a good amount of vitamin C and your beard will thank you for it!

Spinach and kale

Besides Vitamin C, as mentioned above, spinach and kale contain vitamin A. Vitamin A helps the glands on the face produce sebum. Sebum is an oil that is produced by your face to keep the hair and the skin well-conditioned. As your beard gets longer the natural oils on the face struggle to produce as much sebum that your beard needs to stay hydrated. So, you can also supplement the oils with a good quality beard oil! Check out my really in-depth guide on all of the things you need to know about beard oil.

Fatty fish

Some types of fatty fish contain a huge amount of omega-3 fatty acids and have been shown to promote hair growth. Not only are the fatty fish great sources of these essential fatty acids – they contain a load of protein too! Fish that are considered good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Sword fish
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Pollock

If you don’t like the taste of the fish you can also find these great fatty acids in the form of pills. Click here to find out the best prices for fish oil tablets on Amazon.

Avocados

Avocados are delicious and a wicked source of healthy fats. They contain a huge amount of vitamin E which, like vitamin A, helps combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body. One study resulted in people with hair loss seeing 34.5% more hair growth after taking Vitamin E for eight months.

Also, just like the fish mentioned above, you can find a good amount of fatty acids in the avocado! This makes it one of the best foods or beards on this list!

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are like little packets of beard growing power. They contain a huge density of powerful beard growing molecules such as:

  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

The best sorts of nuts are Almonds and the best sorts of seeds for your beard growth are sunflower, chia and flax seeds. When I first started using seeds in my meals I was surprised how easy it was to mix them into things like porridge and smoothies. A delicious way to add a nutrient boost to a range of meals!

Red meat

Meat, in general, is found in most people’s diets and is not only a great source of protein – it contains iron and other vitamins that may help make your beard hair stronger and thicker. Protein can also be found in a large range of not animal products too so if you are a vegetarian you don’t have to eat meat to have a brilliant beard.

High protein vegetarian options

Protein is a really important part of growing a beard and so, here are the best plant-based ways to get your protein:

  • Lentils
  • Edamame
  • Chickpeas
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Spiriulina
  • Quinoa
  • Potatoes

These options are brilliant additions to your diet – vegetarian or not!

Regular light grooming

Also, you need to make sure that you are not going “All In” when you are grooming your beard. Remember that regular light grooming is better than waiting for a week and then aggressively hacking away at your beard with a comb.

My beard routine involves:

  • getting my beard completely wet every morning – every other day I shampoo my beard with a dedicated beard shampoo.
  • Towel drying – using a towel to pat the majority of the moisture out of my beard.
  • Blow drying – using a hairdryer on a medium heat to blow dry the hair into the shape I want it to take for the day.
  • A light oiling – using my DIY beard oil to lock in moisture for the day
  • an optional beard balm step – sometimes I use my DIY beard oil to provide extra style and hold if I have to look particularly well-maintained for the day.

Learning to develop your very own beard routine will take patients and a little bit of time but with the right mindset of experimentation you will definitely be able to hone in on the things that work best for your beard.

Summary

So, there are all of the reasons why your hair may be pulling out easily and what you can do about it.

It is almost certainly not something to worry about and in only extreme cases are diet and other medical issues a real problem.

If you are losing a significant amount of beard hair to the point where you have lost a significant portion of your beard you should speak to a medical professional.

Beard hairs pulling out easy normally means that they are literally at the end of their life and would fallout on their own without any pulling.

If, you are simply worried about your beard hair falling out more often than usual, you should keep track of how many beard hairs fallout and if you are noticing it getting worse.