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 face. While there are certainly products and incredible essential oils that can help us grow our beards – the diversity of our beard growth depends on genetics.
Men start to develop beards during their younger years while they’re coasting through puberty.
Most beards won’t fully develop and mature until their early to late twenties. 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 which included subjects that had European, African and Native American descent. These different groups gave them a larger sample size to determine hair & beard growth through the population. There were 18 genes that 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.
EDAR controls beard thickness and hair shape. Many of these genes cross over and affect different parts of your hair like determining curliness, early onset baldness or even a unibrow!
For example, on the role of beard thickness and other parts of the body, 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.
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 more 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 one of the 2% in the bearded population.
While you can’t change your genetics (at least not yet) we can thank our bearded roots for our glorious manes! Go ahead and give thanks to your dad or any other bearded relatives.