Science knows why men have ginger beards even when they don't have ginger hair
It’s a mystery that has baffled us for generations.
Beards have most certainly been ‘in’ for a few years now, but there are some of us who can’t quite grow facial fluff that looks as perfect as it does on an Andrea Pirlo or a Xabi Alonso.
Some people simply can’t grow the amount of hair required, others grow it in patches - while a significant portion of men grow ginger hair on their face even if the hair on their head is an entirely different colour altogether.
Scientists now appear to have an idea why this happens. It’s all a bit science-y but try to keep up.
Genetics specialist Petra Haak-Bloem told Vice: “The genes that determine hair colour are so-called ‘incomplete dominant hereditary traits.’ This means that there isn’t one single gene that’s dominant over the rest, but all genes influence each other.”
“More than a decade ago, researchers discovered that one gene (MC1R) on chromosome 16 plays an important part in giving people red hair. MC1R’s task is making a protein called melanocortin 1. That protein plays an important part in converting pheolmelanine (red pigment) into eumelanine (black pigement),” he added.
“When someone inherits two mutated versions of the MC1R-gene (one from each parent), less pheomelanine is converted into eumelanine. The feomelanine accumulates in the pigment cells and the person ends up with red hair and fair skin.”
Basically, when someone inherits two mutated versions of the MC1R gene, they get red hair. But when they only get one, red hair can turn up where you might not necessarily want or expect it - such as under your armpit, on your face or even *ahem* down there.
Got it? Good.
So, while you might be none the wiser after that explanation, that’s why people who don’t have ginger hair sometimes end up with ginger beards.
Try offering that explanation by way of a chat-up line on a night out. Trust us, it'll work a treat.