No shave is all the rave

It’s been several years now, but it looks like the beardnaissance is still going strong. Look around and you’ll probably be greeted by a dense thicket of face fuzz the likes of which has not been seen since the 70s.

It’s a brave man who chooses to go out in public flashing a bit of chin skin these days.

That’s if it’s a choice at all of course. Growing up most guys just naturally assume that puberty will do its thing and we’ll automatically go from zero to Viking on the eve of our 13th birthday. In reality though, it doesn’t always work like that.

The fact is there are plenty of otherwise developmentally healthy men who either struggle to grow beards or else have the full lower jawbone Brazilian their whole lives. Have you ever wondered why that is?

In this piece we’ll get the low down on chinsulation and look at what separates the not so blessed from the Brian Blessed.


The key is DHT. Dihydrotestosterone if you want to get all formal about it. This is a spin off from testosterone whose job it is to deal with secondary sex characteristics. One of these being production and volume of facial hair.

DHT is essentially a modified, more potent form of T. Your system allocates a certain amount of your testosterone to be converted into DHT, after which it has strong transformative effect on the body.

It all has to do with how sensitive your system is to DHT. If you’re especially responsive to its power, you’ll probably be able to sneeze a full beard out. Whereas if you’re less receptive to the hormone you might need to think about pricing up hook-ons.

A lot of it has to do with the genetic cards you’re dealt. If your family get togethers resemble a ZZ Top convention, then you can expect to carry on that tradition. On the other hand, if the male side of your family tree contains more smoothies than an average juice bar that’s likely to be your fate also.

DHT sensitivity can be a good thing or a bad thing as it happens. Yes, enough of it will ensure you’ll at least be in the mix to play Santa at the office Christmas party, but some believe high amounts may be the culprit of the dreaded Male Pattern Baldness.

We’ll cover this long form at some point, but here it is in short. It’s thought DHT’s powerful effects shrink the hair follicles on the scalp. Particularly the highly sensitive ones at the front of the scalp, stopping hair from being able to grow, which is where the pattern comes in.

Regular T often catches the blame of what is most probably DHT’s fault.

Should I worry?

Absolutely not. We told you earlier that plenty perfectly healthy guys can’t grow beards. But don’t take our word for it, here’s Dr Thomy Kouremada-Zioga, a hair loss specialist and transplant surgeon,

“Capacity to grow a beard has nothing to do with manliness, virility or testosterone levels, it is a matter of genetics,”

That’s a relief, cheers doc.

However if it does bother you there are a few things you can to give yourself the best chance of a face forest. It all centres around getting your testosterone as high as you can naturally and safely.

Ways to do this include: taking more exercise, eating healthily, getting plenty of sleep, cutting excess weight, reducing alcohol intake and using a reputable organic supplement.


So if you can grow a beard literally in your sleep, great! Enjoy it. But if you’re dealing with perpetual peach fuzz, don’t worry too much.

It doesn’t mean you’re somehow underdeveloped, unhealthy or just coming up short in the man stakes. It really is just the luck of the draw, and as we’ve you’ve just read it’s not like there aren’t things you can’t do to improve things.

If it makes you feel any better, I reckon we’ve past peak beard. We’re on the last couple of seasons of Game Of Thrones now and Kings Of Leon shaved a while ago, didn’t they. Yeah, I can see things starting to peter out soon.

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  • Herk 25th December 2018

    Just curious, the men in my family can all grow beards but at almost 60 I have little facial hair. Or, other body hair for that matter, and what there is is pretty fine and not at all course. This got me carded till I was 40, which was nice, but on the other hand virility seems to be a major prerequisite for social interaction these days for men and lack of beard or at least stubble/shadow is treated as a marker of failure and you cannot know unless you are one of the unfortunate. By the way, I was 6 feet and 135 pounds until I was over 50 and still clock in at 155. So, cannot grow muscle either. Trust me I have tried to the point of exhaustion and great expense.

    What I am wondering is if the bout of measles I had at 17 could have arrested my physical development. I have been repeatedly tested for T levels and have always been low normal, usually about 1.2 as an average. I was put on T in 2000 for it because of symptoms and while it was wonderful in some ways I ceased taking it because of the occasional rages, hot flashing, and extreme heartburn. Injectable at that time might have helped even out the dose related problems, but the VA formulary only included oral methyl testosterone. So, I had to give it up and have been on Omeprazole ever since for reflux.

    I have asked my doctor to reevaluate me for TRT because at 60 this coming spring I have reached life disrupting levels of fatigue. And, just because I have learned to deal with depression does not mean I like being depressed. I had ED so sever by the age of 52 that I was given a IPP. Alprostadil worked but when it came off generic the price went up from about 40 bucks per erection to well over 200. My provider quit providing it.

    I am only seeking an opinion, it would be nice to be able to say that any defect in masculinity is due to measles at a formative age rather than flawed character which is how people seem to treat it. Is there a body of research in this area? Should I be looking into DHT resistance? Some athletes take Clomid to block estrogens but I do not trust online pharmaceuticals and am too embarrassed to ask my doctor. Besides, the VA has a tendency to note a patient record with rather slanted terms and they treat your medical notes as government documents. There is no feeling of privacy to my medical interactions with the VA. It is a bit like discussing your most personal issues in the DMV with strangers.