No-Shave November: 5 beard myths busted
We are more than halfway through No-Shave November, the goal of which is to increase awareness around cancer. The movement does this in two ways: first by “embracing” hair, which cancer patients on chemotherapy tend to lose. And second, by donating the money saved from foregone hair treatments to cancer funds.
Given the increased scrutiny on beards during this time, we would like to dispel five common myths surroundings beards in addition to sharing tips on how to make your month-end shave less cumbersome (and more healthful - no cuts and inflammation, please) when the time comes. Without much ado, here are the myths:
Myth #1: Shaving stimulates faster hair growth.
Linear hair growth takes place in a cyclical manner; there is a period of faster growth, slower growth, and a medium growth phase as well. Pruning your beard and stache levels the hair and works to synchronize the cycle of the individual hairs. The result is hair that appears thicker. Plus, when you trim your beard and stache, you reveal the thicker end of the hairs.
Myth #2: The thickness of your beard depends exclusively on your testosterone levels.
Beard growth is not only influenced by the levels of testosterone in the blood. Testosterone gets converted into dihydrotestosterone in the hair follicles which is what stimulates hair growth. Some hair follicles are more sensitive to dihydrotestosterone and produce more hair. So, genetic factors dealing with hair follicle receptivity to the hormone also play a determining role. And of course, some men have more hair follicles so they can grow thicker beards. The ability to grow facial hair is inherited more than anything else.
Myth #3: Patchy beard in my 20s means I can never have a full beard.
Remember the point we made earlier about hair follicle receptivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone? Turns out some parts of your face can be less receptive to the hormone than others. The facial hair will grow in these patches, too; you just have to be more patient. To speed things along, you could start exercising and eating healthy to promote androgens or male hormones in the body.
#Myth 4: The best way to get rid of beardruff is to shave it all off.
Beardruff or beard dandruff usually occurs for the same reasons you get scalp dandruff - a fungal infection. Simply try washing your beard with a shampoo that contains pyrithione zinc or tea tree oil.
Sometimes the dandruff is simply the result of dead skin cells building up underneath that gorgeous hair. Exfoliating can help, in this instance.
Myth 5: Beards are uncomfortably hot.
Beards work pretty much like the hair on your arms and legs. When it is hot outside, they help to "wick" the sweat away and cool you down. In the winter months, the hair tends to stand straighter (like goosebumps) and trap the heat in to keep you nice and toasty.
The healthful shave
Beard hair is stiff and the cutting motion of the blade can stretch out follicles and cause razor burns, ingrown hair and acne. Shaving-related inflammations are reactions of the skin to follicular stimulation. Next, let us look at the causes of irritation caused by shaving and what can be done to give you a smoother shave:
1. It is a good idea to shave after bathing since this gives the facial hair time to absorb water and soften. Less friction and oppositional force to the blade means less sensitivity.
2. The type of blade matters. A four- or five-blade razor that contours to the face will limit direct contact to skin and is less likely to cause contact dermatitis.
3. Avoid shaving products that have fragrances since they can weaken the skin barrier and cause a reaction. Fragrance-free, a softening (emollient) face cream and mild aftershave are your safest bet.
4. Avoid shaving upwards or against the grain of your beard. A downward motion produces less resistance and also requires less force to administer; both good things.
For men with curly hair, ingrown hair can become a problem. This usually happens during the stubble phase when hairs are short and can curve back into the skin. Here are some things you can do:
1. Avoid the clean-shaven look. Maintaining a slight stubble and some length prevent the hair from curling back inward.
2. Again, shaving after a bath is a good idea since it lowers the likelihood of getting in-growths.
3. Electric shavers with length settings are a good idea since they can prevent shaving too close to the skin, or cutting the beard too short.
4. Don’t pull apart and tighten the skin while shaving. This gives you a deeper shave but also increases the likelihood of inflammation caused by ingrown hair.
We wish you a happy No-Shave November! And hope that the end of the month is a little less painful.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Contact Dermatitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention.
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Updated Date: Nov 18, 2019 15:42:47 IST
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