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  • Narrator: Look at that beard.

  • The density. The thickness.

  • It's what a beard is supposed to be!

  • Not this.

  • This is my beard, if you even want to call it a beard.

  • This footage was taken after I let it grow for two weeks.

  • Two weeks!

  • It's thin, patchy,

  • and in some spots there's no hair at all.

  • Sad.

  • But let's look at this one again.

  • This is Kevin.

  • We're around the same age,

  • both Caucasian males of Irish descent.

  • You could say we have a lot in common,

  • except in the facial hair department.

  • So, I asked a dermatologist

  • about why he's able to grow a beard and I'm not.

  • Dr. Chwalek: It's based on genetics as well as hormones.

  • Some men, you know, have more hair follicles,

  • so they can grow denser, coarser beards than others.

  • Testosterone gets converted in the hair follicle

  • to a more potent form called dihydrotestosterone.

  • Some hair follicles have receptors

  • on them that are very sensitive

  • to this higher form of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone,

  • and that will stimulate hair growth.

  • Graham: How would you characterize my facial hair?

  • Dr. Chwalek: I'd say it's like, sparse,

  • and you have light-colored hair,

  • so it doesn't show up quite as much.

  • Graham: I can't really grow a great beard.

  • It's been a problem.

  • I want one. I wanna look like my colleague, Kevin.

  • I mean, look at that beard.

  • It is just glorious.

  • Why can't I grow a beard like Kevin?

  • Dr. Chwalek: Well, Kevin has some good hair genes,

  • so because of that, the hair follicles

  • on his face are more sensitive

  • to the effects of a form of testosterone

  • called dihydrotestosterone which can help

  • to stimulate thicker, coarser, longer hair growth

  • in some areas of the body like the beard area.

  • Narrator: Beards and facial hair

  • have long been associated with masculinity and virility.

  • I began to wonder if my inability

  • to grow thick facial hair like Kevin

  • makes me less of a man.

  • Graham: Does the fact that I can't grow a beard,

  • does it make mean that I have low testosterone?

  • Dr. Chwalek: No. Men who can't grow a beard

  • or have patchy beards

  • usually have normal testosterone levels.

  • It isn't a reflection of having low testosterone

  • or being deficient in testosterone.

  • Graham: So, you can still be virile -

  • Dr. Chwalek: Right.

  • Graham: And grow a crappy beard like this?

  • Dr. Chwalek: Yes.

  • Graham: Okay, good.

  • Narrator: And in fact, there are some ways

  • to increase the chances of growing facial hair,

  • but shaving more often isn't one of them.

  • Dr. Chwalek: So, the idea that shaving

  • can impact hair growth is actually a myth.

  • When you're shaving, you're just cutting the hair off

  • at the surface of the skin,

  • and what's controlling the hair growth

  • is really occurring deeper in the skin.

  • So, it shouldn't have any impact

  • on how quickly the hair grows, or how dense the hair grows.

  • People have tried topical Rogaine or Minoxidil.

  • These things may stimulate a little hair growth,

  • but assuming it's due to genetics,

  • then you're kind of stuck with what you have.

  • Graham: It's all about the sensitivity of the hair follicles

  • and how they interact with this -

  • Dr. Chwalek: Dihydrotestosterone or androgens in the blood.

  • Graham: So, you're saying that,

  • that his hair follicles are "sensitive."

  • Dr. Chwalek: Yes.

  • Graham: See, mine aren't.

  • Dr. Chwalek: Right.

  • Graham: They aren't sensitive. They're like rocks.

  • They have no sensitivity at all.

  • Okay, so I win that!

  • Dr. Chwalek: Right.

Narrator: Look at that beard.

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Why Some Men Can't Grow Beards

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    Vivian Chen posted on 2019/03/20
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