Hair loss is very common in men, especially in men over the age of 40. However, many men notice as they get older that the hair on their heads continues to fall out while their beards remain thick and full. Why does this happen? Read below to learn about the difference between beard hair and the hair on your scalp and the reason you might lose hair in one area but not the other.
Types of Hair
There are three different types of hair on people’s bodies: lanugo, vellus, and terminal. Lanugo hair is a thick covering of fine hair that covers most of the skin of a newborn, falling out soon before or just after birth. Vellus hair is short, fine, and lightly colored, developing all over the body with the exception of a few sections such as the lips, palms, and soles of the food. These hairs spout from follicles that are not connected to the oil gland.
Terminal hair is the type of hair that grows on your head, which is longer, thicker, and darker than hair elsewhere on the body. During puberty, terminal hair replaces vellus hair on the pubic area and armpits. In men, it also replaces vellus hair on the chest, limbs, feet, back, and face. Hair that develops during puberty is known as androgenic hair. In men, androgenic hair growth is dependant on testosterone, meaning the more testosterone a man has, the more facial hair he’ll grow.
Hair Growth Phases
The hair on your body grows in three phases. The first phase is known as the anagen phase and is the period of hair growth. Second is the catagen phase, which is the transitional phase. Finally, there is the telogen phase, which is the phase where hair falls out. On the scalp, these cycles last for years. However, on your face, these cycles only last a matter of months. When you experience hair loss, the periods of growth shorten and the periods of hair loss lengthen.
Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is created from testosterone. When DHT is produced, it can interfere with hair growth cycles and the hair follicles on the scalp. The hair follicles on your scalp are much more vulnerable to DHT interference than hair follicles on other parts of your body. For this reason, hair loss on your scalp is more common than hair loss on other parts of your body. Although hair loss can occur on other parts of your body, including your beard, it is more common on your scalp.
The Bottom Line
Hair loss on your beard can happen. In fact, there is a type of hair loss known as Alopecia Barbae, that specifically accounts for the loss of patches of hair on your beard. However, the hair follicles on your head are much more susceptible to disruptions of hair growth cycles than hair on your beard. For this reason, many men experience complete baldness on their scalps while maintaining a full, thick beard.