Beard Envy: The Untold Issue Affecting Men’s Mental Health

Not being able to grow a beard can be incredibly demoralizing for a man, and leads to "beard envy". Here's what it is, and why people don't talk about it.

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Men rarely talk about mental health and their worries, because many think it can make them appear weak and feminine to other men if they dare voice anything about their emotions, fears, or issues that ponder their minds.

One of such issues, a surprising one. Is called “the beard envy”.

It’s rooted deep down in most guys brains who don’t have a beard, making them think they are “less masculine” than the guys who can pull of gigantic manes without effort.

Recently, a study conducted by Braun showed that a whopping 77% of non-bearded men from New York, would grow a beard if they just could.

At times like these, when the shares of Gilette are in a free-fall, and everyone and their dog are seemingly growing beards, noticing that you can’t grow a beard, can easily make a man feel inferior.

“Why can’t I grow a beard, is it the lack of hormones, am I just not manly enough?”

To relieve the beard envy and make you feel better about not being able to grow one, I’m going to share with you an important fact.

Not being able to grow a beard doesn’t mean you’re less manly than other men.

Human beard growth is triggered and regulated by the male hormones; testosterone and DHT, but that’s not the full story.

Most men who can’t grow a beard, actually have perfectly normal levels of these hormones. In fact, sometimes you can be oozing testosterone and DHT, without still being able to grow a beard.

Why? Well the answer is within the androgen receptor. The crucial gate-keeper cells in your facial hair follicles that allow the hormones the entry to DNA, from where they actually do work their beard magic.

This is where the genetics – not your “manliness” or the level of hormones – comes into play.

If you are genetically prone to having more androgen receptor copies in your face, then each individual receptor will be less sensitive. In that case, it doesn’t matter how much hormones are flooding around your bloodstream, as they will never enter DNA if they can’t bind with the receptors.

This is the exact reason why Eastern Asian men tend to struggle with beard growth

Although studies indicate that – on average – they have similar or even higher testosterone levels than their Caucasian or African peers, there’s a genetic factor that causes Asian males to have more copies of the human androgen receptor, which again, makes those receptors less sensitive.

So to respond to this great article written by a man from the Philippines, titled “I’m an Asian male and have a bad case of beard envy” I’d like to reassure that it’s not because of you, it’s because of your receptors.


What about you? Do you think beard envy is a real issue among men or is it just a made up word?

I for one think it’s a bigger issue than most men admit.

There are guys who use the scalp-hair loss drug Rogaine on their faces, in hopes of a beard, along with millions of teens who furiously shave their faces because they were once told it would speed up their whisker growth (sadly, it doesn’t). If those aren’t major signals of a global beard envy, I’m not sure what are.


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