This is why some men can't grow a proper beard
The evolution of the hipster has created many a trend for Millennials to imitate. But for everyone that purchases a Kanken backpack a la Urban Outfitters or dons the same Supreme hoodie, there's a man out there who has the entire look down pat... bar the facial hair.
Yes, whilst some gents can effortlessly grow out a beard worthy of an edgy informercial, others struggle to grow as much as a moustache, despite their best efforts and all their consultations with GQ. Certainly, it seems like it's either one or the other; either you can grow a beard that Tom Hardy would be proud to sport, or you can only maintain something that is as patchy as Keanu Reeves' facial hair.
As it turns out, there's a very good scientific explanation for why some blokes can't seem to get an Insta-worthy beard. And it makes perfect sense.
Like almost everything, it has something to do with hormones. According to The Beard Coach, a website dedicated to helping men "grow the beard of their dreams", beard hair growth is "unlike the growth of head hair or other facial hair, like eyelashes" as it depends on "compounds called androgens" which are responsible for what's conventionally considered to be "masculine features".
The most well-known androgen is, of course, testosterone. This androgen is responsible for helping boys undergo puberty to "become" men, but it also helps things progress as normal when men reach adulthood. According to The Beard Coach, testosterone keeps "muscles firm and useful and keeps your sex drive at a normal level". And additionally, it is "beard food".
The Beard Coach continues:
"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 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."
So apparently, the more sensitive your body is to testosterone, the more luscious your beard will be.
However, if your body seems to be hard-wired to androgens such as testosterone, fret not. According to GQ, the bible to many a man out there, all hope is not lost, and you don't need to purchase any pricey supplements either:
"The science behind most supplements is dicey, and the results are inconsistent. Biotin has been a go-to remedy for hair loss and guys hoping to fill out their beards, but there’s no data to actually confirm that it works.
Besides, biotin is found naturally in foods such as eggs, carrots, and milk, so you’re better off focusing on maintaining a well-balanced diet to promote healthy hair growth."
Well, there you have it, if you're struggling to grow a beard worthy of a Herbal Essences advertisement, you now have the perfect excuse, and perhaps the solution too.