For most of our pre-teenage years, we didn’t pay much attention to our body hair. You treated it as just another part of your anatomy. But after a certain stage, namely the start of your growth spurt, you begin to take notice in the different changes your body undergoes.
On females, hair growth during puberty is not that intense. Men on the other hand, produces far more. This disparity is generally brought about by the difference in hormones that are dominant to each sex. However, not all males produce the same amount of hair. Factors like culture, race, and lifestyle can also have an effect on this. Some men will grow a beard, some will not, well at least not as much. Some men love a beard and some men hate a beard. If you hate a beard you should shave yourself regularly with an electric shaver or safety razor or at least trim it with a beard trimmer.
Whether or not you have a beard yourself, or have seen someone with one, there is a chance that you will take notice of a difference between head hair and beard hair, particularly in color. There is nothing unnaturally alarming about this, since there is actually a science behind it.
If you are wondering how and why this happens, then please continue reading. This article aims to educate you on the reasoning behind the difference of the colors between head hair and beard hair.
The Anatomy of Your Hair
Before you can understand the science behind the color of your hair, it will be best for you to know how you got them in the first place. This will help you appreciate the reason behind such phenomena that much deeper.
There are basically two parts of your hair: one is the hair follicle, which is deeply placed under your skin; the other is the shaft, which is what you see on the surface. Just at the base of the follicles, lies other parts that are vital to your hair’s nourishment and growth, which are the dermal papilla cells, androgen receptors, and fibroblasts.
What mostly makes up a hair strand is a protein group called keratin. This protein needs to undergo a specific synthesis process before it can serve as a main constituent to a hair’s structure. Almost all areas of your body that has skin also has the abovementioned hair parts, but the difference in their amount distribution is one of the reason why some areas in your body grows more hair compared to others.
What makes hair grow?
One of the biggest contributor to a human body’s hair growth, is a hormone called androgen, which is why body hairs, including beards, are also called androgenic hair. It is most abundant in men, but contrary to popular belief, it is also present in women, which is why females also experiences some hair growth on areas other than their head.
During puberty, that’s when androgen is most active and copious, hence the increased rate of hair growth, particularly in men. And because androgen is primarily a male dominant hormone, beard and even chest hair are also more commonly found in men. You can use a body groomer if you want to shave off your hair at certain body areas.
What gives hair its color?
Now that you know how your hair came to be, it is time to learn how they get their color. Knowing this will help you better understand why hair color can sometimes differ from beard color.
Just like any other body part or organ, your hair is also mostly made up of cells, and the cell that is most responsible for bringing color to your hair is called, melanocytes. The melanocytes of your hair are primarily found below the follicles, which is also where the pigments known as melanin are developed.
The pigment, melanin, are then sent by the melanocytes into the keratinocytes of the hair shafts. It is through this process that your hair acquires its color, as it is created. And the color will last for the entire duration of the hair’s lifespan, which is usually around 3 years, but some may last longer.
Why do some beard color differ from hair color?
Hopefully by this segment, you have already gained some insight on the basic workings of hair. If so, then it is finally time to answer the main question of this article.
If you have been paying attention to the above mentioned discussions, then you’ll probably be familiar with the name melanin. Melanin, which is the pigment produced by melanocytes, actually has two types: eumelanin and pheomelanin. And these two are the principal factors that decides which color your hair gets.
For the most part, there are only four major discernable hues that these two melanin types produce. Eumelanin generates a color variation between browny-red and black, while pheomelanin causes a variation between yellow and red. Both types are generated by amino acids called tyrosine, however, the latter one also has an additional kind of acid known as cysteine.
The production and proportion of each melanin type is affected by many factors, but mostly by genetic inheritance. If your genetic line mostly produces black haired people, chances are, eumelanin is more abundant in your family. But if your heritage mostly produces redheads, then it is pheomelanin that is most plentiful in your family.
However, the resulting color of a person’s hair is not only a matter of which of the two melanin type is more profuse, but the ratio of both can also be a huge factor. This results in an endless range of hair color palette, simply due to the infinite combination of melanin a person can have, from the quantity and the type. This is why there are so many distinct hair colors all around the world.
If you want to go into more specifics as to why some person can have a red beard and a vastly different hair color, sometimes even completely of the opposite spectrum, it’s actually because of the mutation in the MC1R gene. According to some research study, having two of this mutated gene will result in red hairs all over, but if there’s only one, red hairs might grow in only some parts of one’s body, despite having another completely dominant hair color.
Hopefully you have found your answer, and addressed some of your concerns especially if you’ve experience the same phenomenon first-hand.