2017 really has been the year of the beard, with any number of weird and wonderful bits of facial hair featuring up and down the land over the last 12 months.
But while there have been plenty of big, bushy and altogether brilliant beards, it’s worth sparing a thought for those men unable to fully achieve a fine looking bit of facial hair. For these guys, growing a beard is an awkward process that starts with something that veers dangerously close to resembling public hair and usually ends in very patchy results.
But why is that the case? How come some men can grow a full beard in a matter of days while others struggle to muster even a pathetic looking moustache over the course of a month? According to the experts over at The Beard Coach, it’s all down to hormones or, more importantly, the lack of them.
“Beard hair growth, unlike the growth of head hair or other facial hair, like eyelashes, depends on compounds called androgens,” they say. “Androgens are responsible for what are considered masculine features.”
The most famous of these androgens is, of course, testosterone along with dihyrotestosterone.
These are the hormones that keep your muscles firm and your sex drive at a normal level. They are also responsible for bushy beards. The more sensitive you are to testosterone, the more likely you are to grow a decent beard.
“Inside each of your follicles is a structure called the dermal papilla. The dermal papillae are kind of like the ‘brains’ of your hair follicles,” The Beard Coach notes.
“The ones in your beard follicles respond to the messages that your androgens send and cause the surrounding parts of the hair follicles (called the hair matrix) to do their thing and make some damn beard hair.
“Guess what androgen tells the beard hair follicles to activate the hair matrix? Yep, testosterone.”
It’s not all bad news for those unable to pull off a decent beard – which includes at least half the people here at loaded.
Just avoid shaving your crap stubble where possible and try to enjoy a balanced and healthy diet. Pull those two things off and you’ll be well on your way to a semi-decent bit of facial hair.
Which is just as well with Movember in full swing! If you’re growing a moustache to raise money for men’s cancer charities, check out our handy three-step guide to pulling off the perfect ‘tache.