History and Cultural Relevance of Beards
The facial hair juggernaut that is the beard has been a symbol of male virility and strength in many cultures throughout history. Ancient Greeks and Romans viewed beards as a symbol of honour and status. Even the Bible’s Joseph was recognised by his long, flowing beard. Beards have been embraced by prominent figures such as Rasputin and Abraham Lincoln, who believed that the facial hair made them look wise and authoritative. In the late 1800s, beards began to be seen as symbols of masculinity and power among the upper classes.
Beards have long been associated with traditional gender roles, but nowadays, men and women alike grapple with the idea of whether to trim or grow their facial hair, and to what extent.
In modern times, the use and style of facial hair has changed. The ‘designer stubble’, a deliberately maintained light shadow of beard on the face, is increasingly popular with millennials, as well as the hipster, which has become the go-to facial hair style for many young men and is notably characterised by a long, full beard.
This trend towards facial hair is more than a passing fad, it appears to be here to stay. Studies have found that men with beards are more likely to be seen as mature and authoritative, while making them appear more masculine in the eyes of both women and men.
Physical Advantages of Beards
There are several benefits associated with sporting a beard, including less skin irritation and sun protection. Research has shown that facial hair can protect a man’s face against up to 95% of the sun’s UV rays, which can help to reduce the risk of diseases and skin cancer.
In addition, men with beards may find that their facial hair locks in moisture from natural skincare products such as moisturisers, and can help to reduce itchy, uncomfortable rashes. Furthermore, facial hair can offer a natural barrier from dust and debris, which can help to reduce the risk of infection.
Furthermore, the presence of facial hair can be the deciding factor when it comes to the difference between a clean and groomed look, compared to a scruffy and unkempt appearance.
Health Benefits of Having a Beard
There are several health benefits associated with wearing a beard. For example, research suggests that facial hair can help to reduce the amount of allergens and pollutants entering the body. Because the beard acts as a physical barrier, it can help to diminish the amount of allergens entering the nose and mouth.
Additionally, wearing a beard has been known to help to increase saliva production, which can better cleanse the mouth and remove harmful bacteria. Similarly, it has been suggested that facial hair can act as a natural filter to trap airborne microbes and droplets from viruses, thus preventing them from entering the body.
Lastly, facial hair is also beneficial for men who suffer from acne, as it can help to keep the skin clear by reducing pore size and the amount of bacteria on the skin’s surface.
Difficulty Growing a Beard
Despite the health and cultural benefits associated with beards, many men experience difficulty when attempting to grow one. For example, some men may have patches of sparse facial hair or at worst, complete baldness. This is because the body’s hormones, environments and genetics all play a role in determining how much facial hair a person can grow, and at what rate.
In some cases, men may choose to turn to medical solutions such as drugs or even surgery, to assist in their efforts to grow thicker facial hair. However, these treatments should be approached with caution, as they can come with a whole host of side effects. Additionally, there are other alternatives to consider when it comes to facial hair, such as using a beard trimmer or beard oil.
Beard oils are designed to help nourish the hair follicles, which can result in the growth of healthier, stronger and fuller facial hair. Products like beard oils can also help to make a man’s facial hair look more polished, although this should be done with caution.
Pros and Cons of Having a Beard
Overall, it’s safe to say that beards are here to stay. Whether or not a man should grow one is a personal choice, depending on his individual style and taste. But, before making the decision, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of having a beard.
On the one hand, beards can enhance a man’s appearance and can provide some health benefits. On the other hand, men who struggle with growing their facial hair may find it difficult to maintain and can lead to negative attention from others. Ultimately, the decision to keep or shave a beard should always be down to personal preference.
It is clear that there are multiple benefits to consider when it comes to deciding whether or not to grow a beard. Whether it’s for cultural, health, or aesthetic reasons, it is important to do your research, and know yourself and your own capabilities so that you can make an informed decision. After all, facial hair shouldn’t be a cause of stress, but rather something to be enjoyed!