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Discover the Genetic Factors Related to Beard Thickness

Discover the Genetic Factors Related to Beard Thickness

Facial hair is our ultimate symbol of strength, virility, and wisdom! We can all thank our beard genetics for those luscious forests on our faces. While there are certain products and specialty oils for beard growth ― the diversity of our beard growth depends on genetics.

Men start to develop beards during their younger years while coasting through puberty.

Most beards won't fully develop and mature until their early to late twenties. That’s because our vellus hair, or peach fuzz, is still transforming into terminal hair ― the thick and strong, pigmented hair we adore. The way that testosterone affects us and grows the beard is largely due to a number of genetic factors.

Scientists are slowly starting to figure out what determines beard variety, thickness, and color.

Genes Responsible for the Beard

A recent study by Nature took into account a wide and diverse mix of ancestry, including subjects of European, African, and Native American descent.1 These different groups gave them a larger sample size to determine hair & beard growth throughout the population. 18 genes were discovered to relate to hair growth in some fashion.

For our purposes, we care about these four that directly tie into beard growth: EDAR, LNX1, PREP, and FOXP2 - while these names might not mean a lot to you, they're very relevant to scientists studying human beard genetics.

beard chart

EDAR controls beard thickness and hair shape. Many of these genes cross over and affect different aspects of hair growth and structure, like determining curliness, male pattern baldness, or even a unibrow!

For example, the researchers had this to say about the EDAR gene function:

It is likely that EDAR function affects hair follicle density on most or all of the human body ... but that on the head this effect is most readily apparent as variation in beard thickness.

So, if you’ve got a patchy beard, say thanks to your EDAR gene! Maybe stock up on some beard oils or take your routine one step further with our Beard Growth Kits to really encourage those facial hair follicles to get moving.

Other Beard Genetic Variations

A lot of you guys might be wondering why your beard hair is a different color than your head hair. There are a number of genetic factors that account for different pigment structures. Some have yet to be discovered.

One of the more interesting mutations is red hair pigmentation by the gene MC1R. If you have two of these mutated genes, you'll have red hair all around. But in rare cases when you only have one changed MC1R gene, you'll have a red beard and can consider yourself a rare gem as you're 2% of the bearded population.

While you can't change your genetics (at least not yet), we can thank our bearded roots for our glorious manes! No matter your beard style, go ahead and give thanks to your dad or any other bearded relatives with our selection of high-quality beard products.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms10815.epdf?referrer_access_token=Y0_Qj9LFUQDYBl0CQH5x99RgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0MOo4boaFev1fLdfBqmHurZFWS-73EWBon4Fg6jVQiEPOtQPHTSPHJCxTbTPTL_Wm5GfIOk5a5WCIt2S5KQ81PYPf2pxnkXSjK-SEw-EpugiZdq4XHwp-2UyzOfnnVOPQGTqxp27l8xY5WKfxv3PfC0nbuAncebGgQSRMug40we08Ct1_Rc8puKi4NcxCM5Nn3riPDxFfy5_TjCCX31bsTY&tracking_referrer=blogs.discovermagazine.com