Why some men have red beards, but brown hair on their heads?
What determines men’s beard color? What influences its change over time?
There are environmental and genetic factors which determine or influence the color of men’s facial hair.
The color of men’s hair is determined by the levels of pigmentation in the follicles. Eumelanin is responsible for black or grown shades, meanwhile pheomelanin is responsible for yellow or red shades. If there is auburn in your beard, it is likely there are higher levels of pheomelanin in the follicles. For all of you black beards, it turns out you actually have some pheomelanin too! However, the relatively higher levels of eumelanin are what cause black/brown expression to be dominant.
ph: Pexels@JJ Jordan#DNA
Hair color is determined genetically, and can be inherited through different genes from parents, grandparents, and ancestors that reach even further back. That increases the wide range of hair colors and color combinations that can be expressed on a person’s body.
How about tri-color beards, or patches?
Each of our parents gives us a chromosome responsible for determining our natural hair color. DNA runs deep in our ancestry, which means our facial hair could be an expression of our grand, or great-grandfather’s hair. If both of our parents predominantly have genes for red hair, chances are that our facial hair (and hair on our heads) would also be this color. However, what if one of our parents gives us genes for both yellow and red hair? This would cause our beard to express different shades of color! Each individual follicle of hair is unique, and can have different levels of pheomelanin and eumelanin.
The precise shade of the color is determined by the amount of melanin — a type of organically developed pigment — in your hair. The type and amount of melanin is determined genetically.
A similar genetic principle explains why hair texture is different on different parts of the body.
But different parts of the body are home to different colors and textures of hair. A variety of factors contribute to this phenomenon, including the fact that some follicles simply produce more pigment than others. Usually, eyebrow hair is the darkest; the follicles there tend to produce a lot of pigment.
So what about texture? The hair on your beard or on your genitals or on your tummy can be wiry and curly, even while the stuff on your head is smooth and straight. There’s another reason for this. As opposed to the hair on your head (“head hair”), the stuff coming out of your beard belongs to a type of hair called androgenic hair, which sprouts during and after puberty thanks to changes in the levels of a certain type of hormone called androgens.
Androgenic hair also differs slightly from head hair in terms of how it grows. Like head hair, it goes through three different growth phases in which the hair grows at different speeds, but these phases happen at slightly different times, which influences how long or short your hair gets.
So if you have curly hair in one place and straight hair in another, embrace it. It’s perfectly natural.
And if you has a red beard, it’s perfectly normal—it just means someone in your family was a redhead at some point. And it also means there’s a chance your blonde-haired son could grow a red beard someday too.
#Stress, nutrition, and exposure to UV light
The above elements can all influence hair color and how it changes over time. Stress and nutritional deficits can cause your facial hair to turn grey, so it’s wise to eat properly and keep stress levels under control. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time at the beach this summer, you might notice the color of your facial hair lightens, which is caused by the UV rays in sunlight. Some sources indicate prolonged sun exposure can weaken the hair follicles: try not to over-do it!
ph: Pexels@JJ Jordan
While age can certainly influence hair and beard color, it doesn’t explain why a younger man can sport a decidedly different beard tone than what’s on the rest of his head. Other follicular forces are at work.
By default, scalp hair is white. It gets its color from melanin, turning it everything from jet black to dirty blonde. Pheomelanin infuses hair with red and yellow pigmentation; eumelanin influences brown and black. Like shades of paint, the two can mix within the same hair shaft. (Melanin production decreases as we age, which is why hairs start to appear gray.) But not all follicles get the same dose in the same combination. While you might sport a light brown top, your beard could be predominantly dark brown, or sport patches of lighter hairs in spots. Eyebrow hair will probably appear darker because those follicles tend to produce more eumelanin.
If you’re wondering why these two-toned heads often have a red beard but not red hair, there’s an answer for that, too. While all hair color is genetic, one gene in particular, MC1R, is responsible for a red hue. If you inherit a mutated version of the gene from both parents, you’re likely to have red hair from head to toe. But if you inherit MC1R from just one parent, it might only affect a portion of your follicles. If that swatch of color annoys you for whatever reason? There’s always beard dye.
There you have it fellow beardsmen: the color of hair-follicles is determined by genetiics, but can also be influenced by aging, stress levels, nutrition, and exposure to UV light. Remember that each individual hair follicle in your beard is unique and wants to express its true colors.