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Facial hair is
hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Phy ...

hair
grown on the
face The face is the front of an animal's head that features the eyes Eyes are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tis ...

face
, usually on the chin, cheeks, and upper lip region. It is typically a
secondary sex characteristic Secondary sex characteristics are features that appear during puberty Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populo ...
of human
male Male (symbol: ♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete (sex cell) known as sperm, which fuses with the larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male organism cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce sexually ...

male
s.
Men A man is an adult male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce ...

Men
typically start developing facial hair in the later stages of
puberty Puberty is the process of physical changes through which a child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natur ...

puberty
or
adolescence Adolescence ()''Macmillan Dictionary for Students'' Macmillan, Pan Ltd. (1981), page 14, 456. Retrieved July 15, 2010. is a transitional stage of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor * ...
, around fifteen years of age, and most do not finish developing a full adult beard until around eighteen or later. Large variations can occur however, as boys as young as eleven have been known to develop facial hair, and some men cannot grow much facial hair at all. Men may style their facial hair into
beard A beard is the hair that grows on the jaw, chin, upper lip, lower lip, cheeks, and neck of humans and some non-human animals. In humans, usually only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards. Some women with hirsutism Hirsutism is ex ...

beard
s,
moustache A moustache (; en-US, mustache, ) is a strip of facial hair grown above the upper lip. Moustaches have been worn in various styles throughout history. Etymology The word "moustache" is French language, French, and is derived from the Italia ...

moustache
s,
goatee A goatee is a style of facial hair incorporating hair on a man's chin but not his cheeks. The exact nature of the style has varied according to time and culture. Description Until the late 20th century, the term ''goatee'' was used to refer s ...
s or
sideburns Sideburns, sideboards, or side whiskers are facial hair grown on the sides of the face, extending from the hairline to run parallel to or beyond the ears. The term ''sideburns'' is a 19th-century corruption Corruption, as defined by the W ...

sideburns
; many others completely
shave
shave
their facial hair and this is referred to as being "clean-shaven". The term ''whiskers'', when used to refer to human facial hair, indicates the hair on the chin and cheeks.
Women A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells), the type of gamete (sex cell) that fuses with the Sperm, male gamete during sexual reproduction. A female ...

Women
are also capable of developing facial hair, especially after
menopause Menopause, also known as the climacteric, is the time in women's lives when menstrual periods stop permanently, and they are no longer able to bear children. Menopause usually occurs between the age of 48 and 52. Medical professionals often ...
, though typically significantly less than men. Women with lots of facial hair, the extreme being
bearded ladies A bearded lady (or bearded woman) is a female, with a naturally occurring beard normally due to the condition known as hirsutism or hypertrichosis. Hypertrichosis causes people of either sex to develop excess hair over their entire body (including ...
, have been considered as
freak A freak (first attested in this sense in 1839, and still sometimes referred to, as the full phrase freak of nature) refers to a person who is physically deformed or transformed due to an extraordinary medical condition or body modification. Th ...

freak
s by society and sometimes been part of the
circus A circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that may include s, , trained animals, acts, s, s, , s, , s, , and as well as other and stunt-oriented artists. The term ''circus'' also describes the performance w ...

circus
.


History

In the West in the nineteenth century, most men maintained some facial hair. According to a 1976 study by
University of Washington The University of Washington (UW, simply Washington, or informally U-Dub) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of Washington
economist Dwight Robinson, who reviewed illustrations in the ''
Illustrated London News ''The Illustrated London News'' appeared first on Saturday 14 May 1842, as the world's first illustrated An illustration is a decoration, interpretation or visual explanation of a text, concept or process, designed for integration in print an ...

Illustrated London News
'', facial hair peaked in the 1880s (90%). The wearing of beards dropped significantly, although mustaches remained popular until the 1940s.


In male adolescence

The moustache forms its own stage in the development of facial hair in adolescent males. Facial hair in males does not always appear in a specific order during puberty and varies among some individuals but may follow this process: * During puberty, the first facial hair to appear tends to grow at the corners of the upper lip (age 11–15). * It then spreads to form a moustache over the entire upper lip (age 16–17). * This is followed by the appearance of hair on the upper part of the cheeks and the area under the lower lip (age 16–18). * It eventually spreads to the sides and lower border of the chin and the rest of the lower face to form a full beard (age 17–21). * Although this order is commonly seen, it can vary widely, with some facial hair starting from the chin and up towards the sideburns. * As with most human biological processes, this specific order may vary among some individuals depending on one's genetic heritage or environment.


Military

Depending on the periods and countries, facial hair was prohibited in the army or, on the contrary, an integral part of the uniform.


In religions

Many religious male figures are recorded to have had facial hair; for example, numerous prophets mentioned in the
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family ...

Abrahamic religions
(
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
and
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
) were known to grow beards. Other religions, such as
Sikhism Sikhism () or Sikhi ( pa, ਸਿੱਖੀ ', , from pa, ਸਿੱਖ, lit=disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner, translit=Sikh, label=none)''Sikhism'' (indigenously known as ''Sikhī'') originated from the word ''Sikh'', which comes from the Sanskr ...
, mandate growing beards.
Amish The Amish (; pdc, Amisch; german: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German Swiss German (Standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to ...

Amish
men grow beards after marriage, but continue to shave their moustaches in order to avoid historical associations with military facial hair due to their pacifistic beliefs.


On women

Women typically have little hair on the face, apart from
eyebrows The eyebrow is an area of short hairs above the Human eye, eye that follows the shape of the lower margin of the Supraorbital ridge, brow ridges of some mammals. Their main function is to prevent sweat, water, and other debris from falling down i ...
and the
vellus hair Vellus hair is short, thin, light-colored, and barely noticeable hair Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of g ...
that covers most of the body. However, in some cases, women have noticeable facial hair growth, most commonly after menopause. Excessive hairiness (especially facially) is known as
hirsutism Hirsutism is excessive body hair on parts of the body where hair is normally absent or minimal. The word is from early 17th century: from Latin ''hirsutus'' meaning "hairy". It may refer to a "male" pattern of hair growth that may be a sign of a ...
and is usually an indication of atypical
hormonal A hormone (from the Greek participle , "setting in motion") is any member of a class of signaling molecules in multicellular organisms, that are transported to distant organs to regulate physiology and / or behavior. Hormones are required for ...
variation. Many women depilate facial hair that appears, as considerable
social stigma Social stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination Discrimination is the act of making unjustified distinctions between people based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they belong or are perceived to belong. People ma ...
is associated with facial hair on women, and
freak show and its popular ongoing freak show in August 2008. A freak show is an exhibition of biological rarities, referred to in popular culture as "freaks of nature". Typical features would be physically unusual Human#Anatomy and physiology, humans, suc ...
s and
circus A circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that may include s, , trained animals, acts, s, s, , s, , s, , and as well as other and stunt-oriented artists. The term ''circus'' also describes the performance w ...

circus
es have historically displayed bearded women. Many women globally choose to totally remove their facial hair by means of
electrolysis In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in ...

electrolysis
(permanent) or
laser hair removal#REDIRECT Laser hair removal Laser hair removal is the process of hair removal by means of exposure to pulses of laser A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electr ...
(semi-permanent).


Styles of facial hair


In great apes

Adult
orangutan Orangutans are great apes The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relati ...

orangutan
s have varying degrees of facial hair. In
chimpanzee The chimpanzee (''Pan troglodytes''), also known simply as chimp, is a species of Hominidae, great ape native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa. It has four confirmed subspecies and a fifth proposed subspecies. The chimpanzee and t ...

chimpanzee
s and
gorilla Gorillas are herbivorous, predominantly ground-dwelling great apes that inhabit the tropical forests of equatorial Africa. The genus ''Gorilla'' is divided into two species: the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla, and either four or f ...

gorilla
s, facial and body hair become sparser in adulthood due to the aging process, which is in stark contrast to
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...

human
s, whose facial and body hair become stronger. Because infant great
ape Apes (Hominoidea ) are a branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of bi ...

ape
s have thicker "facial" (as well as body) hair than their older counterparts, it is not androgenic but part of the fur complex. The sensitivity to androgens seems to have been acquired by humans on the gene
KRT37 Keratin 37 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the KRT37 gene. KRT37 is a member of the keratin gene family. Clinical significance KRT37 is the only keratin that is regulated by androgens. This sensitivity to androgens was acquired by H ...
relatively recently.


Primates

Primates such as the
bearded emperor tamarin The bearded emperor tamarin (''Saguinus imperator subgrisescens'') is one of the two subspecies of the emperor tamarin. It is similar to the black-chinned emperor tamarin, with the beard. It usually lives in groups of 3–8, but can be found alone ...
have what look like whiskers.


See also

*
Eyebrow An eyebrow is an area of short hairs above each eye Eyes are organs of the visual system. They provide living organisms with vision, the ability to receive and process visual detail, as well as enabling several photo response functions t ...

Eyebrow
*
Whiskers Whiskers, more generally called vibrissae (; singular: vibrissa; ), are a type of stiff, functional hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including the ...

Whiskers


References


Further reading

* Jack Passion, ''The Facial Hair Handbook'', Jack Passion, LLC; First edition (2009). .


External links

* {{Human hair Facial features Secondary sexual characteristics cs:Vousy ja:髭 zh:鬍鬚