Facial hair has been "in" for the last few years, with both men and women favoring the distinguished-yet-slightly-unkempt hipster vibe. But some people have been totally left out of the trend due to their inability to grow luscious locks on their chinny-chin-chins. That is, until now. According to reports, thousands of British men are finally able to achieve the beastly beards of their dreams after using a popular balding medicine on their faces, rather than on the tops of their heads.
We often discuss the media messages women receive relating to physical appearance, but it seems that lots of men are also self-conscious about not being able to live up to certain ideals. Clean-shaven faces aren't necessarily "out," but there's certainly something special about a gentleman who can grow a beard. Men aren't the only ones embracing hairier crazes, either. Bold brows have been en vogue for a number of years, while many of the most popular 75 million pet dogs that reside in the U.S. are renowned for their thick coats. So it stands to reason that men who are physically unable to grow much more than peach fuzz might be a bit envious.
Their solution? A medication called minoxidil. It's used for hair loss, which is a condition that affects nearly 35 million men in the U.S. alone. Usually, it's applied to the head and is typically marketed as Regine; it stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles and widens the follicle itself to allow hair to grow longer and thicker than before. Originally, the medication was used to treat high blood pressure, but the unexpected side effect of hair growth prompted the company to market the drug as the answer to male pattern baldness. Since about 47% of hair loss sufferers reported they'd spend their life savings to have a full head of hair again, Regine was definitely in demand. Now, thousands of men in the UK are using it to grow fuller, more beautiful beards.
Adam Siddals, who co-founded a Facebook group dedicated to this very cause, began using the medication in 2016.
As he explained to the Daily Mail: "I had a very patchy jaw-strap, a bit more hair on the chin, a tiny bit under my neck and a very weak, straggly mustache... It really bothered me, I was insecure about my lack of facial hair. My friends always used to tease me for having no facial hair... It sounds silly but I felt I had to prove them wrong. I remind them all the time that they are the reason I started using minoxidil."
Siddals used the medication for two years before stopping in July of 2018. He experienced no undesirable side effects, but he cautions others to do their research and to discontinue use if they experience some of the more serious health concerns associated with the medication's use (such as dizziness, drowsiness, and heart palpitations). Although other users have experienced minor reactions like itchiness and redness, which might be worth being able to grow facial hair -- especially since the global skin care market, which will be worth $180 billion in 2024, likely has products that can alleviate any dry skin that occurs as a result.
Experts do point out that hairs will stop growing once use is discontinued, but Siddals says he hasn't noticed any change in the nine months since he stopped. And in his Facebook group, thousands of members have shared their before and after photos while providing ongoing encouragement for others.
While the medication won't work for those who simply have bare patches with no hair follicles to stimulate, Siddals's story has given thousands of Brits hope for their own facial hair. And even though reactions to the medication may differ from person to person, it's given a new lease on life to many men who might otherwise be destined for a lifetime of being referred to as "baby face."