Your beard might be balding you, but you look a lot younger with one

A reflection on being bald with a beard

There’s a lot of pros and cons to growing a beard. We’ve listed a few so you can decide for yourself whether the beard road is one you’d like to travel on.

Does growing a beard cause baldness?

Probably not. However, the chances of you going bald may be highly correlated with your ability to grow a beard:

But you’ll notice that neither of these are related to how long you let your beard get. We’d say you’re safe to grow that thing out while you’ve still got hair in both places!!

Pros of growing a beard (especially if you’re bald)

1. Viva la beard! It makes you look way younger

As you get older, your lips and jowls tend to show it first. The skin around your mouth sags as you lose collagen due to aging. A beard will help you conceal this mark of aging.

Also, having a beard is the ultimate youth elixir. It makes your skin healthier and reduces signs of aging – especially if you are using a beard oil. (You may say you don’t care about this, but you will at some stage in life).

Having a beard makes you look younger
Source: Phillipe Dumas

2. It re-establishes some shape to your face 

When you lose the hair on your head, your face suddenly becomes a smooth, uniform, egg-like shape. Growing a beard puts some contrast back into your features.

3. It’s great for long term health

Beards have been proven to shield your face from up to 95% of UV rays, reducing your risk of skin cancer. It’s also said beard wearers are less likely to suffer throat, lung disease and respiratory illness. Your facial muff might act as a filter to all sorts of intoxicants, at least so the story goes. Who knows if it’s true, but we beard-wearers sure would like to believe it!

4. It helps with self esteem
Abe Lincoln’s beard exists because an 11-year-old girl told him his face looked too thin and it made him insecure. A full-on beard never made anyone feel less of a man.

6. They’re free (for now)
Beards weren’t always a free right. While he had a beard himself, King Henry VIII of England introduced a tax on beards. The price paid depended on the wearer’s social position. His daughter, Elizabeth I, reintroduced the beard tax forcing anyone with more than two weeks growth to cough up some cash. In Russia during Peter the Great noblemen who wore a beard had to buy a ‘beard licence’ for 100 rubles a year. License holders were given a medallion with the words “The beard is a useless burden” inscribed.

russian coin provided to those that paid their beard tax
Translation of the Russian: get your damn razor away from my beard, I paid the tax already!

There are some drawbacks

1. They can be gross if you’re lazy
Beards can be pretty gross if you don’t keep up your hygiene. They’re the ultimate breeding ground for fleas, bed bugs and other parasites. An unclean beard is said to have more germs than a toilet seat… then again so does a mobile phone and money so germs can’t be all that terrible.

2. You may scare some people
Did you know some people have a legitimate fear of beards? Pogonophobia is the term used to describe those who suffer from a fear of beards which can even result in panic attacks. On the other side, a pogonophile has a fetish or great love for beards. Try not to mix-up the two. Maybe that’s why (in some cultures) facial hair is strongly associated with criminals.

3. Less time wasted
The average person who shaves from age 15 to 70 will waste approximately 139 days shaving. Conveniently, that’s about the right amount of time to grow a pretty impressive beard.

What’s your approach?

You know ours!

Long live the beard.

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Written by Natasha Christian

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Natasha Christian is a news producer for Yahoo7 and editor for Beardspo.com. She also runs mental health project Anxiety Exists and has a never ending Lego collection. She currently lives in Perth, Australia.