Some men are gifted with the abundance of facial hair. And whilst many find this attractive, letting it grow out of hand may not be THAT attractive, thus the need for shaving.
It is very common in men to shave their facial hair. However, the question here is, is it really a good idea?
All About Your Facial Hair
Facial hair is usually hair that grows in the chin, cheeks, and the area above the lip. It is referred to as a secondary sex characteristic for men. The hair on the face begins to fully develop in the later years of puberty, between 17-20 years of age. However, this may vary as facial hair can be influenced by several factors such as genetics.
Women may also develop facial hair, especially after menopause. However, this is not a common occurrence.
Problems Associated With Cheek Shaving
Shaving may cause the following:
• Razor Burns - these are red patches that indicate skin irritation. They appear within minutes of shaving and are often caused by a blunt blade, dry shaving, or shaving too fast.
• Cuts - this happens when the blade is too dull or when too much pressure is applied whilst shaving. Using a sharp razor and gliding it gently across the face may help prevent this.
• Ingrown hairs - this is a painful problem caused by the broken end of a hair that grows inside the follicle and beneath the skin. It can be caused by improper shaving.
• Razor bumps - this is the result of a follicle inflammation that begins to manifest as a pimple following a close shave.
• Barber’s rash - similar to razor burns, a barber’s rash is redness and rashes that may result from dirty razors and towels.
The list mentioned above may seem not a big deal especially for men who are so used to shaving their facial hair. However, there is another problem that shaving may bring —pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), which is a combination of all of the problems mentioned above in a way that is persistent.
It may sometimes cause the skin to look red and filled with pimples. This is most problematic for men who have naturally coarse or curly thick hair.
To stop this, some may be asked to grow a beard, whilst others may be required to avoid shaving for three to four weeks. Exfoliation is a common prevention technique and so can be the use of electric razors.
The Science of Facial Hair
Psychological research shows that facial hair may say a lot about a person. Having unshaven facial hair has been associated with these perceived traits:
On the other hand, having a clean-shaven face has been associated with these perceived traits:
Facial hair is a sign of active testosterone in the body and the brain recognises that as potential for aggression. Thus, men with facial hair may be initially perceived as more dominant.
Another sign of facial hair is maturity; this it is associated with age. So, in terms of first impressions, bearded men may be seen as more ‘manly’ compared to those without facial hair.
Your Facial Hair and Your Diet
Can your diet have an impact on the growth of your facial hair? Although the outer layer of your hair follicles consists of keratin (a type of protein), eating more protein won’t result into faster hair growth. However, a severe deficiency in protein intake or a deficiency in some of the essential amino acids that the body needs may result in hair thinning. Consuming an adequate amount of protein is important, and so is getting all of the essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
Getting quality sleep and exercising on a regular basis may have an impact on some hormones that are also involved in hair growth, such as testosterone. Regular workouts may help to increase blood flow into the skin, aiding the supply of growth factors and important nutrients to the hair follicles.
Taking Supplements For Facial Hair
Can dietary supplements really boost beard growth? Many nutrients are connected to the growth and health of human hair, including:
• B vitamins like B12 (cobalamin), B3 (niacin), and B7 (biotin)
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
If you’re lacking some nutrients or consuming them in insufficient amounts, supplementing them may help. However, consuming these nutrients may only result in stronger facial hair if your intake was originally below the required levels. Meaning that eating more of these nutrients than needed is unlikely to increase facial hair growth.
Besides this, how much of these nutrients your body absorbs and utilizes is influenced by your inherited genes, your age, your hormones, your hormonal receptors, and several other factors.
Typical Facial Hair Growth Rate
It’s often stated that human hair grows at a rate of 1 centimetre a month (or half an inch a month). However, this isn’t entirely accurate, because different hair types have different growth rates based on their anatomical location. For example, scalp hair tends to grow at a different rate than beard hair.
Beard hairs are thicker and have bigger follicles than scalp hairs. For this reason, the growth rate of beard hair tends to be slower. If you’re a male who follows a balanced diet with an adequate intake of nutrients and you get enough exercise and rest, your facial hair is likely to grow at about 0.27 millimetres a day, which translates to about 8 millimetres a month (that’s almost one centimetre a month).
Having said that, beard growth rate varies depending on age, genetics, and ethnicity. For instance, research demonstrates that Caucasian beard hair tends to grow faster than Asian hair.
Facial Hair and Attractiveness Ratings
Will that beard boost your sex appeal? There is no definitive answer for this. The general trend may suggest that, when it comes to facial hair, a large percentage of women may find ‘heavy stubble’ the most attractive look. But is that so?
Several research studies on male facial hair attractiveness found that males with ‘light stubble’ were considered to be the most attractive and most masculine.
Still, when it comes down to love, attractiveness will largely depend on the type of partner and relationship that that each individual is looking for.
In A Nutshell
While facial hair has been associated with masculinity and dominance in general, individual preferences may differ. The healthy growth of male facial hair is influenced by a multitude of factors, including age, genetics, hormones, sleep, exercise, and the adequate intake of essential nutrients. Therefore, ensuring that nutrient deficiencies don’t develop is important and this can be achieved by consuming a nutritious diet that is tailored to your needs.