Male Beard 101: Cheek Shaving, Facial Hair Growth and Diet

Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor
Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor

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.

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

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:

- Maturity
- Dominance

On the other hand, having a clean-shaven face has been associated with these perceived traits:

- Cleanliness
- Sociability

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
• Iron
• Zinc

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.

Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor
Advanced Dietary Supplements Advisor

What If You Don’t Go To University

It’s August, which means it’s that time of the year again: A Level Results Day.

And whether it’s your friends or your grandma, there’s one question on everyone’s lips…

Are you going to university?

You might be heading back from college to the tune of ‘Did you get the grades?’

Or maybe you never wanted to go to uni in the first place.

Whichever boat you’re in; what happens when your friends are prepping for freshers’ week, but you’re not?

No fear – we’re here to help! The first thing you need to consider is:

Are you sure about your decision?

It’s difficult to aim for your goals if you don’t know what they are, or how to reach them. This means that if you have a particular career in mind, you might want to see a careers advisor or thoroughly research alternative routes into the field you’re passionate about before making a final decision.

But then what? Well, first, it’s important to know…

There are a ton of careers that don’t require a university degree

It’s true! You may have considered some of these options: hairdressing, beauty, personal training.

But those aren’t the only choices – many careers have a variety of pathways into them, from accountancy, to journalism, to nutritional therapy.

Read on to see what you can do instead of going to university:

Take a Gap Year

Fondly known as the ‘gap yah’ among millennials, many teens take a year out to decide what they want to do before continuing their education. This often takes the form of travelling, learning a language, and gaining lots of experience of different cultures – but it can also involve volunteering in a mix of industries to help you make a more informed decision about your future. While this kind of break provides a temporary solution, it’s common for people to head back to school once they complete their gap year, but many teens also open doors to careers they never knew existed!

(Pssst… Looking for the latest work experience opportunities? GoThinkBig is a good place to start).

Find an Apprenticeship

Becoming an apprentice is a great way to get straight into work AND gain a qualification while you earn. From farming, to hospitality, to law, you can choose your apprenticeship from a huge selection of fields and levels, from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Level 6/7 (degree equivalent). Depending on the level, an apprenticeship can take between 1 and 5 years to complete, but you’ll be learning loads of job-specific skills along the way.

If you’re in the UK, you can click here to find an apprenticeship.

Get an Entry-Level Job

While a large number of entry-level jobs will attract applications from students and recent graduates, many employers offer roles aimed at school-leavers – including training schemes. The obvious benefit of heading straight into work is that you’ll be earning right away.

A great way to find entry-level jobs is to keep an eye on websites that advertise vacancies in specific fields. Mediargh is a great example for media-related careers (publishing, science – whatever).

Become an Entrepreneur

Ever wanted to start your own business? Now might be your chance! This can be an exciting option for those not looking to go to university, but it’s wise to first consider the funding, support, and advice you’ll need along the way. If you’re in the UK, check out these government guidelines for new businesses.

For an extra boost when it comes to marketing your business effectively, check out Google’s Digital Garage for free digital marketing training.

Study for an Online Diploma

A huge barrier for many prospective students is the possibility of getting in over £50,000 of debt for a qualification in an area they’re not entirely sure about, or wasn’t necessary for their preferred career.

Whether you’re looking to boost your entrepreneurial endeavours, or you want to get a feel for a subject before jumping into a degree, an online diploma can be a great way to go! Loads of platforms offer you the chance to study via the web and many don’t require specialist technology, so you can get going with just a laptop and a cup of tea.

If it’s nutrition you’re into, we at The Health Sciences Academy® have a whole host of certifications and short courses for you to explore.

Nutrition not your thing? Not to worry – there are loads of other great providers out there. Check out Coursera and Lynda for an array of online courses on a variety of subjects.

They’re called options for a reason…

It’s important to remember that choosing to not go to university isn’t something that sets your career in a permanent direction. You may try one of the above and decide you want to go to uni after all! Perhaps you want some work experience, maybe you’re looking to boost your know-how before embarking on a degree, or you might even decide to do both an online course and an apprenticeship – the point is: the sky’s the limit.

What you’re doing this September doesn’t necessarily define the rest of your life, but it CAN boost it. Do what’s best for you and remember: it’s quite natural to need a little bit of extra time to work out where you want your career to go.

The Health Sciences Academy® is the UK’s largest online educator in nutrition science.

We are home to a variety of Level 5 online diplomas, in addition to a range of accredited short courses in nutrition topics – ready to help you ignite your career.

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Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor