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I am coming from the opposite situation/goals, but here are some things that have increased my facial hair's growth speed, thickness, bristliness -- which possibly could help you achieve greater beardiness | Forum

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tryingtodotheopposite

Hi Hairies!  (meant affectionately)

I won't be a regular visitor, but I joined this forum tonight for 2 reasons: 

1.  To list some things I've learned about recently that can be androgen blockers (in 4 posts on the following thread:  https://www.beardprofile.com/forum/topic/list-of-ingredients-with-dht-blockers-90  )

2.  To list some things that I have taken/eaten which caused me to have extra beardy facial hair growth (unwanted, in my case).  I will list the ones that I can remember tonight below.   

Before doing that, so that it makes some kind of sense (!), here is my backstory:

"Hi, I am just passing through here, but I signed up today to offer some information to you chaps that may or may not help.  I'm a middle-aged female who is trying to AVOID unwanted facial hair growth. 

I am a light-complexioned woman who for the first 45 years of her life had never had an issue with excess or unwanted body hair anywhere - in fact, I can go for a couple of weeks without shaving my legs and an observer (from a couple of feet away) wouldn't be able to tell that I had not shaved them the day before. 

Unfortunately, a number of things (supplements, medications, foods) that I have tried over the last few years to help improve my general health (and a few medical conditions that I have) have unexpectedly resulted in unwanted facial hair growth. 

And, surprisingly, when I try something that causes me to start getting beardy-type facial hair, it happens SO FAST, like within a week. 

My prior endocrinologist (male) told me it was physically impossible for beardy hair to grow that quickly on a woman and he said that I was imagining the whole thing (even though the makeup-counter lady at my local Macy's department store had completely agreed with me that I was experiencing coarse, beardy hair growth on my face, from out of nowhere!)  He also had an observing med student who was sitting in at that appointment also tell me that I was imagining things because "female facial hair never grows that quickly", and they both shook their heads and chuckled at me... AHEM (the bozos!) 

Fortunately, my gynecologist (female) and my *subsequent* endocrinologist (female) believed me when I said that I was having episodes of coarser-than-normal, thicker-than-normal, longer-than-normal, fast-growing facial hair popping up out of the blue (and taking ages to finally subside and go back to my smooth-faced "normal" state -- typically, it takes my facial hair follicles in the 'beardy' regions 4 to 6 months to revert back to unnoticeable/unremarkable/calm). 

I found your site today because I am now fed up with trying new things out innocently "for my health" and having them backfire into giving me another 4-month beardy experience, so I have been trying to understand the biological processes and terminology of what can trigger hirsuitism in a woman so I can check out the supplements/meds/foods before I take them and PREVENT the beardy growth from even starting on my face. 

(I have always researched carefully any new supplements and meds, surveying pubmed.gov and the internet in general, but the specific info on whether something might contribute to DHT or testosterone and/or inhibit other competing hormones and/or whatever other voodoo is involved in this facial-hair-follicle stuff isn't always in the first few layers of public information about products/foods/meds.) 

Note that these excursions into slight hirsuitism have not been due to any substantial changes in my hormonal balance in general -- due to an unrelated health issue, my hormones are tested several times a year by an endocrinologist; instead, they have been due to external things that have altered the way my facial hair has behaved (and when I stopped my exposure to those things, my facial hair eventually went back to being docile and low-key, even though it took a few months to do so). 

In high school and university I didn't study much biology/medical stuff, so unfortunately I am at a disadvantage when trying to understand how all these things relate and to wade through the more technical journal articles.  I do not have a great understanding of it all, so excuse any errors I may make -- but I thought I'd leave a note to let you guys know some of the things that seriously encouraged my facial hair growth, since that is what you are aiming for. 

Along these lines, just like I am doing (trying to "reverse engineer" by reading about tips for men for growing their beards), I would encourage you to look a little bit into what women who don't want beards/hirsuitism have learned about what triggers their facial hair growth, so that you can "reverse engineer" from that angle and maybe pick up a tip or two."

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I should also add that I'm in relatively good shape for an American middle-aged woman -- BMI about 22, eat healthfully, don't take prescription medications.  I don't exercise as much as would be ideal, and I'm more curvy and soft than hard and muscular.  Female facial hair issues don't run in my family at all, and, as I said in my profile, had never happened to me until about 5 years ago -- it started with my experiment of taking a tiny bit of DHEA (as described below).

Rightyho, here are some things that increased the beardiness of my facial hair, in approximate order of "effectiveness" (beardy growth):

a.  DHEA, just half of a 5 mg pill (2.5 mg) taken once daily for a few days (for a different health issue).  Then major beardy facial hair from out of nowhere, so I stopped taking it immediately.  It took 6 months for the beardy hair to subside.  I'd never take it again.  [Do a lot of research into this if you ever consider taking it.  I had actually run the idea by 3 of my doctors, who all said it would be fine for me to take, and that I wouldn't even notice the effects of a 25 (twenty-five) mg dose -- how mistaken that was!  The 2.5 mg dose screwed up my facial hair follicles.]

b.  Olive Leaf Extract.  It was a liquid extract.  Oh my goodness, I took just one-fourth of ONE recommended dose of this stuff (1/4th of a dropperful), and about 2 to 3 days later, I suddenly had very oily skin and hair, a dozen large pimples on my scalp (where before there were none), and that familiar, unwanted scratchy feeling of the hairs of my chin and upper lip getting stiffer and urgently beginning to grow longer.  I know that sounds unbelievably fast, but it's true.  A few days further on, I noticed dozens of new little scalp hairs that were colonizing the upper right and left areas of my forehead (areas which normally are just facial skin without head-hair on it).  This must be pretty strong stuff.  After I stopped taking it and was trying to see if it was a testosterone booster, I read in an online article that "...Oleuropein naturally occurs in olive leaves and olive oil, and is a very a potent aromatase inhibitor which also rivals aromatase inhibitory drugs. It’s 'comparable to that of the reference anti-aromatase drug aminoglutethimide' ".   I can believe that.]

c.  Alpha Lipoic Acid.  Took one capsule on 3 random days in a 2-week period, then noticed that my beardy hair was pulsating back alive, after months of having my normal, smooth facial skin.  I looked further into ALA online and found out that it is an aromatase inhibitor, so I stopped taking it.

d.  Vitamin K2, both MK-7 and MK-4 forms.  Even just the smallest amount, taking a portion of the smallest tablet/capsule dose I can find, and beardy hair appears soon after.

e.  Biotin, Vitamin B7.  I did see today the article on this site that says there isn't much evidence for the purported beardy effects of biotin, but -- wow -- on me, even at 50 mcg (which was 1/12th of the smallest-dose biotin tablet I could find), biotin caused major beardy effects in a couple of days.  Therefore, I have to avoid most multi-vitamins and B-complex supplements due to the biotin they contain.  It's a pain.

f.  Silicon from Gerolsteiner mineral water, the regular version of the water.  It is a lesser-known brand in the US.  It is from Germany, but is surprisingly available at supermarkets (etc.) around the USA.  It has a (comparatively) very high amount of natural silica in the water.  I bought it to strengthen my middle-aged bones, and I love the taste and the sparkling aspect.  But oh man, this stuff made my facial hair go to town.  Had to stop drinking it immediately.

Another mineral water with even higher amounts of natural silica/silicon per serving is called Fiji Water.  It is expensive compared to other typical supermarket mineral waters, but as far as a silicon supplement, it costs less per serving than an expensive silica capsule supplement that is aimed at both athletes (for strength etc.) and post-menopausal women (for osteoporosis).  Available widely in the US.

g.  Melatonin.  A couple of years ago, I tried a small amount at 300 mcg on a handful of nights over a couple of months - but my scalp hair started expanding downward to the upper right and left sides of my forehead (where it's normally just plain skin) and my "sideburn" area, which usually is not noticeable, started to have longer hair.  This went away when I stopped the melatonin.

h.  Maca.  Even a particular kind that is composed/packaged/marketed only for women -- I took that for about 8 days, but it did not work out for me at all, caused several unwanted symptoms.

i.  Turmeric (Curcumin).  An array of unwanted side effects, so sadly I had to stop taking it, even though I experienced a number of health positives from it (more positives than I had expected, including mood, memory, vascular health, joint pain -- it was amazing at some things).

j.  Resveratrol, also Grape Seed Extract.

k.  Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid.  I used to take 100 mg of B5 on most days (along with a suitable level of the other B vitamins).  However, after I had the beardy experience with biotin, and I stopped the biotin entirely, I found that if I take B5 greater than 25 mg a day, it also causes the beardy facial hair to gear right up.  Even years after I last took biotin as a supplement, trying to have more than 25 mg of B5 a day will do this to my face.

l.  Pomegranate.  I drank about a tablespoonful of pomegranate juice (in a half cup of water) most mornings for about 2 years.  On its own, that small amount of juice per day didn't cause my beardier hairs to emerge/develop, but I think it lowered the threshold for other external things to tip the balance over into causing too many androgens for my body to handle.  After I stopped drinking it about a year ago, my skin has been generally less oily and my face softer and less beardy.

m.  Gingko Biloba.  If I take 1/4 to 1/2 of a 60 mg tablet about 5 days a week, without taking any other supplements that might be aromatase or 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, my face seems to be just able to handle that amount (without actively getting beardy), but adding anything else to my regimen that might encourage facial hair growth usually results in that happening pretty quickly.

Because I am a middle-aged female whose bones are more porous than they ought to be (proven by a scan), beyond taking good levels of Calcium and Vitamin D, I would like to try out some further supplements that apparently strengthen bones, such as Strontium and Boron, but because some of my prior experiments with bone-strengthening supplements (like K2, Silicon, and one or two others) have switched on the facial hair overdrive (and other symptoms of having too much testosterone/DHT for my body to be happy with), I worry that they'll cause the same problems.  However, I'll give them a shot soon, after I let my system calm down from the Alpha Lipoic Acid incident (which was the most recent incident of imposed beardliness).

I don't know if any of my reactions to the above were highly individual (to me), or perhaps were female-specific, but if you are a man and you are interested in increasing your beard-osity, it's possible that one or more of the above supplements/foods would give you a great boost!  Most of them have other health benefits and are not too expensive, so they could be worth a trial (after you make sure they would not be contraindicated with anything else going on in your health/life).  Good luck!  :-)

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tryingtodotheopposite

A few more thoughts have occurred to me since my 1st comment, so I thought I'd come back and add them.

2nd comment:  aromatase / 5AR

As I said earlier, I don't have much of a background in biology/medicine.  But even with my hazy understanding of hormones, I realize that there is a difference between aromatase inhibition (stopping testosterone from being turned into estrogen, thereby increasing the person's pool of testosterone and decreasing his/her pool of estrogen) and 5-alpha reductase encouragement (turning more of the available testosterone into DHT, which is an important driver of facial hair). 

I expect that some of the male-type-facial-hair-promoting supplements/foods that I mentioned in my first comment in this thread work as aromatase inhibitors and probably others work as 5AR "promoters" (whatever the proper term is for that sort of thing). 

The men on this beard forum might mainly be looking for the latter?  

I don't know enough about how each one affects men. 

I know that they *both* seem to increase mild hirsutism on my face.  However, maybe I've got a weird thing going on whereby as soon as my body gets any "extra" testosterone, it's shunted right into massive DHT or something.  Maybe my body doesn't have much of an outlet for testosterone in other functions/organs, like a male body would.  I could also have some genetic variants affecting that sort of thing.  (From my 23andme results, I know that I've got some gene variants in the aromatase CYP19A1 gene that are noted for affecting various stuff.  I haven't looked deeply into that.)

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tryingtodotheopposite

3rd comment:  23andme

Of course, there are a number of genetic variants that pertain to hormones.

I would encourage everyone who has even a faint interest in the nuts and bolts of her/his physical makeup to get a 23andme genetic test done and learn about her/his genetic variants, predispositions, etc.

There are a few sites online which can help one to figure the results out. 

A good, established site for general genetic variant/23andme information and advice is PhoenixRising, even though basically the site is for the topic of Chronic Fatigue/ME.  They've got some knowledgeable contributors there. 

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tryingtodotheopposite

4th comment:  Vitamin B12

I read an article on this site earlier that encouraged beard enthusiasts to take vitamin B12.  I had two thoughts about that:

a.  I can't recall if the differences in the forms of Vitamin B12 were explained -- cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin -- but people should generally stay away from cyanocobalamin (which is the typical B12 that is available in standalone supplements and multivitamins, so you have to be careful in what you buy and take), and most people should go for the most commonly available "active" form, which is methylcobalamin. 

(There are reasons why some people do hydroxy or adenosyl instead of or alongside methyl, and if you are interested in those distinctions, just look the topic up online.)

More and more mainstream products are now including methylcobalamin, which is great. 

One bestselling B-complex that has moderate levels of most Bs and that includes the methyl forms of B12 and B9/Folate is Jarrow's "B-Right".

For a standalone B12, I like Natural Factors' sublingual in the 1000 mcg dose.  Each tablet is scored and can be easily cut in half for a 500 mcg dose, which is often plenty (depending on the person's circumstances).

b.  If you are going to take supplemental B12, as suggested for your beard health -- For the sake of your methylation pathways, you should probably take a full complement of the main B vitamins in supplement form.  Don't just take a big dose of B12 and not add any supplemental B9/Folate, B6, B2, and so forth.  You could make things a bit off-kilter that way.

To learn how to balance your Bs, look it up online -- it's not quite as simple as just taking 25 mg or 50 mg of all of them across the board -- some are at the level of mcgs, some are commonly taken at 200% RDA while others are commonly taken at 2000% RDA, and so forth.  To simplify that, you could go with a comprehensive, high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral, or choose a highly-rated B-complex formula that has already been researched and balanced out (in one of any number of the ratios that B-complexes come in).  

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theslurpeemaker

You gatta also make sure you DermaRoll. Before I started Dermarolling, gains were very minimal. And then after i started dermarolling, I literally could take pictures with flash of vellus hairs that grew within the week.Link to DermaRoller. if you don't know, now you know

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