Summer may be a couple of months away, but as anyone in the south (myself included) can tell you, the weather already thinks it’s here. You might be considering growing a beard for the first time, and you might be a little standoffish about the idea with the hottest part of the year coming up. But summer can be a great time to grow your first beard. Here’s the science (mixed with a bit of my own opinion) as to why.
Way back in 2009, V. A. Randall and N. V. Botchkareva conducted a study of male hair growth over an 18 month period. Following a group of 14 men, ages 18-39, they tracked the growth of both body and facial hair, and noted that there were clear seasonal changes in the rate of growth. Based on their findings, they concluded that beard (and all body) hair grows faster in summer, and slows down in winter.
This may seem counterintuitive. After all, all bearded men know that a beard acts like a scarf in the winter months, making winter the ideal time for that hair growth to speed up. So why does it grow faster in summer? The answer is simpler than you might think.
Facial hair growth is linked to testosterone. The more you’ve got in your system, the more that hair is going to grow. And what causes increased production of testosterone? Physical activity. Since we tend to be much more physically active when the snow’s all melted and the sun’s shining, summer is when a lot of our physical activity takes place. Longer days mean more work, hotter weather means swimming, and the favorable weather is perfect for running and other sports. All this activity drives up our T-counts, and makes that beard sprout a lot quicker.
Add to this the fact that increased heart rate from our extra activity feeds more nutrients to our follicles, thus promoting healthy hair growth, and you’ve got the perfect conditions for beard farming.
This is especially good for slow-growing and patchy beards. Plenty of guys have an awkward phase for the first few weeks or couple of months worth of beard growth. The quicker growing conditions of the summer make this phase shorter, thus reducing what can be an embarrassing period where you’ve got a case of teenager beard. This can further be alleviated by the fact that many of us take vacations in the summer; if you need a couple of weeks to go from patchy to full Zeus, take a vacation and complete the awkward period where no one you know will see.
Beards are also likely to be at their most uncomfortable in summer. All that increased activity, and the higher temperature, will lead to more sweating. Sweat makes a beard dirty, itchy, and nasty. All of these symptoms can be curbed by good beard products (beard wash for the dirt, beard oil for the itch). But this makes summer the perfect time to separate the men from the boys. If you can stand growing a beard in summer, the rest of the year will be easy. If you can’t, you can always wait for the temperature to cool down, but you’re never going to make it more than 9 months or so before having to shave. So it’s perfect for a trial run of sorts.
Every season has its merits, making each uniquely suited for beard growth. Summer may not be the best time for you, but it’s got a lot going for it, and at least in my opinion, it’s the perfect time to get started. It won’t hurt to give it a try. So put that razor in the drawer; worst case, you can take it out, and try growing again when the weather cools down. Beard fierce, my friends!