Your face fuzz might only be a few months or years old, but the beard goes back way further than that...check out our beardy history here!
If you’re wondering how you got one, the answer is likely to be evolution. Charles Darwin suggested that sexual selection may have come into play, a theory that has been backed up by modern biologists and which explains why beards are often seen as a stereotypically attractive quality by females. Signalling dominance and sexual maturity, it’s thought beards would draw women’s attention when looking for a partner to mate with. In short, this means non-furry men were left on the sidelines and so hairy genes (very scientifically accurate phrase there) were passed down to the next generation, enabling the majority of today’s men to grow a beard in some form or another.
Unlike your head hair and developing during puberty with the rest of your androgenic hair, the hair follicles around your jaw are stimulated by a hormone – dihydrotestosterone if you want to get really nerdy about it – which continues to affect growth into adulthood.
Beards through the ages
Throughout ancient history, there is evidence of beards indicating superior social status. From Egypt, where metal beards where worn by kings, to India, where the longer the beard, the more dignity and wisdom it would signify you possessed. However, some couldn’t afford the symbolism; practicality came into play during Alexander the Great’s reign in the Greek kingdom of Macedon, when shaving was introduced as a precautionary method of defence in order to prevent the enemy from grabbing onto facial hair in battle. Who knew beards were a matter of life or death?!
Other famous beards
And they’ve been staring us in the face for as long as we can remember – from depictions of Jesus and Santa Claus to Abraham Lincoln and Henry VIII.
The addition of a beard has also been instrumental in securing Ryan Gosling and Tom Hardy as two of the most desired men on the planet.
Although they temporarily fell out of favour in Western society as metrosexuality rose, the current ‘hipster’ trend has seen a resurgence. Apparently, this is due to men feeling under pressure from other men and therefore using facial hair like a bird might display feathers; to establish virility against male counterparts and potential partners.
There’s certainly no evidence to suggest that beards will be going extinct any time soon – so you might want to get thinking about which style to go for and stock up on some essentials to nourish as you grow.