If you have been watching television lately, you have probably seen the latest trend of bearded men or women both locally and internationally.  Many will argue that it enhances the facial features of an individual, but, could this be the reason you are going bald?

According to research done in 1988 by Cabanac, bearded men retained more heat in their beard hence they grew more bald. The results obtained supported the hypothesis that the male baldness is a thermoregulatory compensation for growth of beard in male adults. The research involved both bearded and unbearded men and women whereby the area of the glabrous skin on the forehead, calvaria and that of the skin of lips, cheeks and neck was measured. During light hyperthermia, the evaporation rate in the bald scalp was 2-3 times higher than the hairy scalp. In women and unbearded men, the evaporation rate was equal while for bearded men, it was 40% less on the chin. The research also shows that men with higher beard lines have most receding hairlines.

As there are several factors that may influence male and women pattern baldness such as age, genetics and level of testosterone, the beard may not be solely responsible for baldness, as research is still ongoing. Thus, those growing beards may need to take heed to avoid premature baldness.

Reviewed by Dr. Were L. Munyendo (Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics)