More than just a fashion statement or an aesthetic choice, your beard tells quite a few things about you. And there is a lot more history and science behind facial fuzz than you might think. Here is a quick list of interesting facts about beards, from the scientific to the historical, all the way to the downright curious.
On average, there are approximately 30,000 hairs on your face. Those hairs grow at an estimated rate of 5.5 inches every year. And even though specialists say that a beard could reach 27.5 feet in a lifetime without shaving, the hairs themselves can only grow up to about five feet.
Studies show that the average man spends approximately 3,000 hours of his life shaving. That’s approximately 125 days! And, to put it in context, similar studies revealed that the average woman spends 72 days shaving her legs. So, next time you might want to think twice before complaining about how long your wife or girlfriend takes to get ready to go out.
That’s right. Contrary to popular belief, shaving off your facial hair more often is not directly related to increased growth. You have DHT to thank for that - dihydrotestosterone is derived from the male hormone and is responsible for the growth speed and the thickness of your beard.
Naysayers may state otherwise, but the fact is that a full beard protects your face from bacteria better than keeping a clean shave. Your beloved facial hairs also protect you from roughly 90 to 95 percent of the sun’s UV rays.
Studies have shown a possible correlation between beard growth and hair loss. This could be due to the extra retention of heat on your face when sporting a beard. That will force the sweat glands on the scalp to work harder, which affects the hair follicles, starting from the roots.
Beard growth rate can be traced back to your genetic code. If your ancestors were able to grow a thick beard with ease, chances are you will also. However, as we mentioned above, your testosterone levels can also have an impact, either positive or negative, on that growth rate.
The longest beard ever known belonged to Hans Langseth, a Norwegian-American farmer, who at the time of his death measured 17 feet and 6 inches. The uncommon size of his beard prompted him to join a circus. After his death, his beard was preserved for posterity. It was even on display at the Smithsonian between 1967 and 1991!
In this category, there are two honorable mentions. Harnaam Kaur was a young British activist whose facial hairs have been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records. Vivian Wheeler was from the United States. After shaving for the last time in 1990, after her mother’s death, she grew a beard that reached 11 inches.
Beards were a symbol of status in ancient Egypt. It was also celebrated in Ancient Rome when a boy would give himself his first shave, a sign of manhood. Beards are also symbols of wisdom across many geographies, cultures, and time. On the other side, however, was Russian Tsar, Peter the Great who imposed a tax on beards. Also, Alexander the Great ordered all of his men to shave before battle.
Pogonology is the name given to the study of beards. The people who study beards are known aspogonologists. And those who are afraid of beards are said to suffer frompogonophobia. On the other hand, anyone who loves beards a bit more than is healthy are said to havepogonophilia. Oh, andpogonotomy is a word used to describe the fine art of shaving.