Fortunately, those naked-cheeked days have long since passed (at least for now). Unfortunately, not every adult male has an easy time following the fashion. Some men, despite their most valiant follicular efforts, simply can’t grow a beard. According to Body Logic MD, approximately 24% of American men cannot grow facial hair. Another 7% don’t know if they can or haven’t tried. Many men suffering from this aesthetic deficit report feelings of inadequacy and perceived lack of masculinity.
Beard shame is likely exacerbated in times of beard popularity. These feelings may result from an assumption that an inability to grow facial hair may be associated with low testosterone – the key hormone regulating male secondary sexual characteristics. While testosterone is related to facial hair production, in men and women, the relationship between high-T and beard growth isn’t as straightforward as you might assume. Testosterones do stimulate facial hair growth, while estrogens — the female hormone regulating secondary sexual characteristics — slow growth. But the real culprit when it comes to beard cultivation (or lack thereof) is a testosterone derivative, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).