You may have wondered why it is that you beard hair looks and feels different to the hair that you grow on your head. Well, the reason for this is that it is actually one of several different types of hair that you will grow in your life and each has different characteristics.
- Lanugo – this is the hair that covers all newborn babies and is very soft and fine
- Vellus – This is the soft downy hair that covers the whole body. It’s very light in color and
short in length.
- Terminal – this is the hair that grows on your head. It is the longest, thickest and darkest hair
on your body.
- Androgenic – During puberty the vellus hair in your armpits and pubis change becoming
darker and thicker. This new type of hair that grows after puberty is a type of terminal hair
but is only present due to the increase in hormones in the body.
Head Hair Vs Beard Hair
Your beard hair is androgenic hair. How well you are able to grow a beard is directly linked to your levels of testosterone. In fact, the reason that many bald men are able to grow full beards is that androgenic hair and terminal hair respond polar oppositely to high testosterone levels.
For terminal hair, it is a real killer as it can cause the terminal hair follicles to turn into vellus follicles. For androgenic hair, such as beard hair the more testosterone the better.
Both terminal and androgenic hair follow the same three-stage growth patterns.
- Anagen Phase – the hair grows quickly
- Catagen Phase – the hair growth ceases
- Telogen Phase – the hair falls out
The difference is that this cycle lasts years for each terminal hair, which is why it can grow to be so long. Beard hair completes this cycle in around one month.
The Structure of Beard Hair
The levels of testosterone in your body can change the shape of androgenic follicles. It can lead to a twisting effect. This is why facial hair can be curly why the hair on top of your head is smooth and straight.
The skin under the hair also has an effect on the hair that grows. Your scalp naturally produces much more oil than your face so you scalp hair will be softer and smoother, whereas facial hair can be coarser.
How this Knowledge Can Help You Keep your Beard Healthy
As just mentioned scalp hair is more oily than facial hair, and this is why shampoos for your head are very good at stripping back the oil to prevent your head from becoming too greasy.
If you use these same oil busting shampoos on your facial hair, they will remove the thin layer of oil that protects the hair which will cause it to dry out. This makes it brittle and liable to breaking.
To keep beard hair healthy, remember that it is not the same as the hair on your head so it needs to be treated differently. Use gentle cleansers and firm brushes for the best results.