Facial hair: Wikis


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Facial hair is a secondary sex characteristic in human males. Men often start developing facial hair in the later years of puberty or adolescence, approximately between 17–20 years of age, and most do not finish developing a fully adult beard until their early 20s or even later.[1][2] This varies, as boys may first develop facial hair between 14–16 years of age, and boys as young as 11 have been known to develop facial hair. In addition, the patches of hair can vary between bushy and bristly. Women are also capable of developing facial hair, especially after menopause, though typically significantly less than men.

Male pogonotrophy (the growing of facial hair; i.e., beardedness) is often culturally associated with wisdom and virility.[3] Men may style their facial hair into beards, moustaches, goatees or sideburns; others completely shave their facial hair. The term "whiskers", used when referring to human facial hair indicates the hair on the chin and cheeks.[4]


In male adolescence

Abraham Lincoln was said to have grown a beard because an 11-year-old girl named Grace Bedell wrote to him, saying that he would look better with one.[5]

The moustache forms its own stage in the development of facial hair in adolescent males.[6] Facial hair in males does not always appear in a specific order during puberty and varies among some individuals but may follow this process:

  • The first facial hair to appear tends to grow at the corners of the upper lip,
  • It then spreads to form a moustache over the entire upper lip,
  • This is followed by the appearance of hair on the upper part of the cheeks, and the area under the lower lip,
  • It eventually spreads to the sides and lower border of the chin and the rest of the lower face to form a full beard.[7]
  • Although this order is commonly seen, it can vary widely, with some facial hair starting from the chin and up towards the sideburns.

In religions

Many religious male figures are recorded to have had facial hair; for example, all the Prophets mentioned in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) were known to grow their beards.[8] Other religions, such as Hinduism and Sikhism, encourage growing beards. In Sunni Islam, growing the beard is considered a compulsory act as it was Preferred by the Prophet Mohammed himself, as he mentioned "Keep the Beards and cut the moustaches short".[9]

In women

Women typically have little hair on their faces, apart from eyebrows and the vellus hair that covers most of their bodies. However, in some cases women have noticeable facial hair growth. Excessive hairiness (especially facially) is known as hirsutism, and is usually an indication of atypical hormonal variation. In contemporary western culture, many women shave, tweeze or otherwise depilate facial hair which does appear, as there is considerable social stigma associated with facial hair in women. Freak shows and circuses once displayed bearded women.

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